Kingdom of Manufacturing | COLUMN | AMAZING AICHI Japan

Kingdom of Manufacturing

Discover Aichi, the Kingdom of Manufacturing, through Museums




  • Kingdom of Manufacturing
  • Kingdom of Manufacturing
  • Kingdom of Manufacturing
  • Kingdom of Manufacturing
  • Kingdom of Manufacturing
  • Kingdom of Manufacturing
  • Kingdom of Manufacturing
  • Kingdom of Manufacturing




  • Karakuri Exhibition Museum
  • Misono Shopping Street Karakuri
  • Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology
  • Textile Machinery Pavilion
  • Automobile Pavilion
  • Toyota Automobile Museum
  • Automobile Gallery
  • Cultural Gallery
  • Toyota Kaikan Museum
  • Safety Simulator Experience
  • SCMAGLEV and Railway Park
  • Simulator
  • Ekiben
  • Aichi Museum of Flight
  • Flight simulators
  • planetarium
  • Nagoya City Science Museum


Aichi Prefecture is a region known for its strong industrial presence, with notable manufacturing giants like Toyota and other companies operating within its borders. For more than four decades, this prefecture has consistently held the top spot in Japan for shipping out manufactured goods, earning it the well-deserved titles of the Heart of the Manufacturing Industry and the Kingdom of Manufacturing.

The development of industrial robots has contributed greatly to progress in the industry. The roots of this remarkable robot technology, which allows robots to move with remarkable smoothness and precision akin to human limbs, can be traced back to the Karakuri puppets that thrived on festival stages approximately 300 years ago.

Karakuri puppets were ingeniously designed to achieve automatic movement through the use of intricate mechanisms such as strings, springs, and gears. The chariot-shaped festival floats that carried these Karakuri puppets were often made in Aichi Prefecture. These puppets were capable of performing a wide array of captivating actions, including mesmerizing dances, acrobatic maneuvers, stunning transformations, and even enacting mythological plays. Their inclusion in festivals added an extra layer of excitement and wonder. The artisans responsible for crafting these puppets engaged in a friendly competition, constantly pushing the boundaries of mechanical engineering and artistic skills. As a result, the production of these astonishing Karakuri puppets became increasingly refined over time.

The essence of manufacturing in Aichi Prefecture today can be traced back to the concept of using advanced technology to give form and expression to emotions, a tradition that has persisted since the era of Karakuri puppets. Exploring museums dedicated to this rich history will unveil valuable insights into the journey of technological innovation and craftsmanship that has shaped Aichi Prefecture's manufacturing legacy. Embark on a personal exploration and discover these hidden treasures for yourself!

Karakuri Exhibition Museum

Inuyama City is the hub of Yama float culture (designated as an Intangible Cultural Property by UNESCO) and Karakuri culture. Among the exhibits are authentic Karakuri puppets that were once featured on Yama floats, as well as tea-carrying puppets specifically crafted to serve and entertain guests during tea ceremonies.
Ninth-generation Karakuri puppet craftsman Shobei Tamaya gives presentations and thorough lectures on the puppets daily, and on Saturdays and Sundays, he shows how they're made. It’s a great chance to see right before your eyes how the puppets move thanks to their different mechanisms.

Karakuri Exhibition Museum

Misono Shopping Street Karakuri

Located west of Misono-za, a renowned theater known for hosting kabuki and other captivating performances, you will discover Misono Shopping Street.This street has restaurants and tool shops that are popular with kabuki actors. On the corner of this street stands a 12-meter-tall Karakuri installation. At designated times each day, a captivating spectacle unfolds as five Karakuri puppets take center stage one by one, engaging in a mesmerizing seven-minute play. The scene they enact derives from the famous kabuki masterpiece known as "Shiranami Gonin Otoko" (Five Men of the White Waves).

*(1) 10:00 AM (2) 12:00 PM (3) 1:00 PM (4) 3:00 PM (5) 5:00 PM (Five times a day)

Misono Shopping Street Karakuri

Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology

This museum ranked first in TripAdvisor’s Top 20 Factory Tours in Japan ranking, for four years in a row.
The origins of the Toyota Group can be traced back to its humble beginnings in the textile industry. Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of the group, dedicated his life to the development of advanced looms. His pioneering technology played a crucial role in the advancement of Japan's textile industry. Building upon his father's legacy, Kiichiro Toyoda, Sakichi's eldest son, envisioned a future where the company would venture into automobile manufacturing. Kiichiro aspired to contribute to the growth of Japan's automobile industry and enhance the lives of people through the production of cars. With this ambitious vision in mind, the company embarked on a new journey, starting from scratch to establish itself as a prominent force in the world of automobile manufacturing.
The Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology is a remarkable institution constructed on the very grounds where Sakichi Toyoda was working on perfecting an automatic loom at a test plant. The museum showcases real machines and engaging demonstrations that embody the spirit of relentless research, boundless creativity, and the paramount significance of manufacturing.

Textile Machinery Pavilion

At the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, visitors can observe a series of gigantic weaving machines arranged chronologically. This display highlights Sakichi Toyoda's continuous improvement and gradual evolution of his machines.
One of the most awe-inspiring sights in the museum is witnessing the Type G Automatic Loom in action. Considered the pinnacle of technological achievement in its era, this remarkable machine weaves cloth with a rhythmic and bustling sequence. Observing its operation provides a glimpse into the vibrant atmosphere that must have filled the factory during that time.

Automobile Pavilion

The Automobile Pavilion at the museum provides an immersive experience for visitors. It includes recreations of the material testing machine and prototype plant used by Kiichiro Toyoda for research, as well as a simulation of the current automobile manufacturing process. This realistic setup allows visitors to feel like they are inside an actual manufacturing plant. The exhibits convey the importance of hands-on creation and the essence of manufacturing. They also reflect the dedication of those involved in preserving the founders' vision and connecting the DNA of manufacturing across time.

[AichiNow] Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology

Toyota Automobile Museum

We recommend freeing up plenty of time to visit this museum because there are so many historically valuable automobiles and automobile-related cultural items that it's almost impossible to have enough time to take in everything. Apart from the exhibits, the museum's shop is also a popular attraction, offering a wide selection of exclusive merchandise that cannot be found elsewhere. Simply browsing through the shop can be an enjoyable experience in itself. The onsite restaurant is known for its Museum Curry (instant curry) and Spanner Spoons (spoons shaped like spanners), which have become quite popular among visitors.

Automobile Gallery

The Automobile Gallery showcases approximately 140 renowned automobiles from Japan, Europe, and the United States. The collection spans from the earliest days of gasoline-powered vehicles in the 19th century to contemporary models. The lineup includes notable models such as the Toyoda Model AA, the first passenger car manufactured by Toyota, the Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz, a luxurious vehicle measuring over five meters in length, the Ford Mustang, a highly popular car from the early 20th century, and the Toyota 2000GT MF10, a famous Japanese car. These vehicles exhibit remarkable luxury and hold significance in automotive history. It's worth noting that many of the displayed vehicles are operational and can be driven, adding an extra dimension to the museum experience.

In April 2022, a new permanent exhibition corner named Japanese History of Car Making was introduced on the second floor of the museum. This exhibition aims to chronicle approximately 70 years of history, illustrating the establishment and development of the Japanese automobile industry. With the participation of 12 automobile manufacturers currently operating in the country, the exhibition highlights the collective efforts made by each company to propel the Japanese automobile industry onto the global stage.

Cultural Gallery

The Automobile Culture Showroom within the Cultural Gallery is based on the theme of "mobility and culture" and has about 4,000 automobile-related cultural items on display, ranging from posters to automobile toys, car mascots, and more.
One fascinating section of the museum features an exhibit that takes visitors on a journey through the history of automobiles through a timeline display of approximately 800 miniature cars, spanning from the mid-18th century to the present day. Another noteworthy area showcases a collection of vibrant woodblock prints, created over 150 years ago during the Meiji period and onwards. Additionally, there is a corner that explores the evolution of Japanese transportation, from horse-drawn carriages to rickshaws, railways, and eventually automobiles. Lastly, a corner displays the covers of around 60 automobile magazines from various parts of the world, providing insights into the diverse automobile culture that has evolved globally. These sections offer visitors an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the rich history and cultural significance associated with automobiles.

[AichiNow] Toyota Automobile Museum

Toyota Kaikan Museum

The Toyota Kaikan Museum in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture is a corporate exhibition hall where you can see how Toyota Motor Corporation produces happiness for all.
This museum introduces various initiatives—such as its latest environmental and safety technologies and mobility and social contributions—with videos, exhibits, and hands-on exhibits, and you can sit behind the wheel of the new cars on display at all times.


1) Museum tours
Dates and times: Monday to Saturday at 2:00 PM
Price: Free
Capacity: 20 people, on a first-come, first-served basis
Duration: Approx. 30 minutes

2) Safety Simulator Experience Experience
Dates and times: Monday to Saturday from 9:45 AM to 4:15 PM *Reservation required on the day
Price: Free
Duration: Approx. 10 minutes
*Must be over 150 cm tall and weigh less than 100 kg

3) C+walk T Driving Experience Experience
Dates and times: Monday to Friday from 1:45 PM to 3:30 PM
*First-come, first-served basis until capacity is reached.
Price: Free
Duration: 5 minutes for a test drive only (including lecture time)
15 minutes for a museum-wide tour (including lecture time)
*Must be over 140 cm and under 185 cm tall and weigh less than 100 kg

*Check the museum's website for more information

[AichiNow] Toyota Kaikan Museum

SCMAGLEV and Railway Park

The museum proudly exhibits a collection of 39 diverse trains, with a particular focus on the renowned Tokaido Shinkansen. This high-speed railway line connects Tokyo and Osaka, showcasing the technological advancements in Japan's rail industry. Additionally, the museum features various other types of trains, including general ones and the SC Maglev (Superconducting Magnetically Levitated Vehicle), currently under development in Japan. Through its exhibits and interactive experiences, the museum offers a comprehensive understanding of Japan's railway history, the evolution of high-speed technology, and ongoing efforts to enhance train safety and efficiency. 


One of the most sought-after experiences at the museum is the simulator that allows visitors to sit in a genuine driver's seat and operate an N700 series Shinkansen, replicating the authentic experience of driving this high-speed train. This immersive activity provides a thrilling glimpse into the impressive speed and capabilities of the N700 series. Another highlight of the museum is the featured SC Maglev, a testament to Japan's technological prowess. Visitors can visit the mini theater to witness the sensation of traveling at a remarkable speed of 500 km/h, giving them a glimpse into the future of high-speed transportation.


There are tons of other things to enjoy here, too. Have you ever heard of Ekiben?
Ekiben refers to boxed meals that are available for purchase at train stations and on trains in Japan. These meals hold a significance beyond being simple sustenance during travel; they are considered something special to the Japanese people.
Each region's ekiben is crafted with local specialties, showcasing the unique culinary delights of the area. Ekiben add an extra element of excitement to the travel experience.
They are available the museum shop, providing you with the perfect opportunity to try one for yourself. You can eat it in the rest area, or in an outdoor N700 series train car display.

The museum's shop is also known for its popular merchandise featuring the iconic yellow Shinkansen known as Doctor Yellow. These trains, although not intended for passenger transportation, play a vital role in the maintenance of the railway system by inspecting tracks for distortions and measuring signal currents. Due to their infrequent appearances, many people consider spotting a Doctor Yellow train to be a stroke of luck. As a result, Doctor Yellow merchandise has become highly sought-after among visitors, making it an excellent choice for a memorable souvenir from the museum.

[AichiNow] SCMAGLEV and Railway Park

Aichi Museum of Flight

The Aichi Museum of Flight opened at Nagoya Airport in 2017, and is a captivating destination that ignites a sense of wonder and curiosity for the skies above. Through its diverse exhibits and engaging programs, the museum offers visitors an opportunity to learn and witness the essence of flight.
The centerpiece of the museum is the YS-11, a renowned aircraft that holds a significant place in Japanese aviation history, as the first commercial aircraft developed in Japan after World War II.


At the museum, visitors have the opportunity to step into the YS-11 flight simulator and embark on a virtual piloting experience. This simulator allows participants to assume the role of a pilot and navigate through the various stages of flight, including takeoff, cruising, and landing, with control over the yoke and three levers—the throttle, flap control, and landing gear levers.
Following the instructions provided through audio and onscreen guides, participants are tasked with taking off from Nagoya Airport, maintaining the desired altitude during the flight, and successfully landing at Fukuoka Airport. Safety is emphasized throughout the simulation, and after landing, participants receive a rating based on their performance, ranging from one to five, encouraging them to strive for a flawless flight and embody the role of a skilled pilot.


The museum offers a thrilling virtual experience called the Flying Box, which allows visitors to virtually soar above various natural and urban locations throughout Aichi Prefecture, using a large screen and moving seats.
The theater offers three seven-minute scenic flights: a Nature Flight that takes you around vibrant nature areas, a Historical Flight that shows you how airplanes have evolved, and a Fan Flight that takes you around popular spots in Aichi Prefecture.
You can also go up to the roof to see planes taking off and landing right in front of your eyes! Feel free to relax on a hammock while watching the moment they take off from the runway. It's a wonderful view that's hard to tear your eyes away from.

[AichiNow] Aichi Museum of Flight


This commercial area is in Chubu Centrair International Airport, and you can enter for free.

FLIGHT PARK offers an immersive experience for aviation enthusiasts, providing an up-close encounter with the first Boeing 787 aircraft. Visitors can marvel at the aircraft's impressive design and explore its cockpit and engines, gaining a deeper appreciation for the intricacies of aviation technology. The park also offers a wealth of informative resources, including videos, panels, and other materials that delve into the fascinating world of aviation and airplanes. Additionally, the Kids Area within FLIGHT PARK is a major attraction for children aged 0 to 12. Equipped with playground equipment, it provides a space for young ones to have fun and let their imagination soar while being surrounded by the awe-inspiring presence of the nearby airplane.

The second and third floors feature a food court with restaurants from Seatle paying homage to where Boeing was founded. Visitors can dine while taking in the up-close view of the nearby airplane.


Nagoya City Science Museum

The planetarium at this science museum is a popular attraction, renowned for its meticulous reproduction of the starry sky. With a dome size of 35 meters, it holds the Guinness World Record for the world's largest inner diameter. The curator provides real-time information on astrology and about the stars and constellations visible on the day you visit.


The museum is also famous for its Tornado, Electric Discharge, and Deep Freezing Labs.
In the Tornado Lab, the slow formation of a vortex interacts with rotating air currents and powerful updrafts to create a tornado. Witnessing this mesmerizing spectacle, with the tornado rising and swirling like a mighty dragon, is truly awe-inspiring.
The Electric Discharge lab features two towering Tesla coils that generate 1.2 million volts of powerful electric sparks that are accompanied by intense electric discharge sounds. The strong energy from these electric fireworks will surprise you every time!
The Deep Freezing Lab enables you to experience extreme cold at -30°C for five minutes. Find out for yourself if it's cold enough to freeze even your hair.

[AichiNow] Nagoya City Science Museum