Travel period Jan 2017
Haven for Manufacturing Nerds
Japan’s leading car manufacturer, Toyota, has its headquarters and many of its domestic production plants in the region around Nagoya. The company’s headquarters are located in the city of Toyota, less than one-hour east of central Nagoya.
We visited the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology (also known as Toyota Techno Museum) in central Nagoya as a substitute on a plant tour at Toyota Kaikan Museum.
The Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, founded in a joint creation of the Toyota Group companies, uses the location and buildings of a pilot factory built in 1911 by Sakichi Toyoda to research and develop automatic looms.
The museum was established to enable broader access for the public to the historically important red-brick building and help promote healthy development of society, while preserving the site as an historical asset for the group.
The Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology recounts the history of Toyota from its beginnings in the manufacturing of textile machinery to its diversification into automobiles.
Within the large museum are the Textile Machinery Pavilion and Automobile Pavilion, there are various machines that visitors can watch in action, not to mention exhibitions that reveal the processes involved in past and present car making. To top it all off, the museum also boasts a smattering of recent Toyota models for car enthusiasts to admire.
Textile Machinery Pavilion
The Textile Machinery Pavilion begins with the history of spinning various types of fibre throughout the world including hemp, cotton, flax, wool, ramie, nylon and silk. You will guide through the history of the company, which began with weaving looms.
This spacious floor that stretches more than 3,468 square metre is in the spinning mill originally built in the Taisho era (1912 – 1926), and the pillars, the beams, and the red brick walls are still used just the way they have been. From the early spinning and weaving tools to the present textile machinery equipped with mechatronics, approximately 100 machines are displayed in one hall.
Wall panels in Japanese and English outline how cotton spinning was brought to Japan from India via China over 1,200 years ago. Silk is said to originate in China, wool in Mesopotamia, flax in Egypt, and cotton in India; fibers that suit the climate of regions had established themselves and were used for textiles. Fifty-seven different traditional cotton textiles of the world and Japan are presented.
In this area of the museum the work of spinning yarn from cotton, using old tools, is demonstrated. Also, on display are replicas of pre-industrial and industrial spinning frames, many of them from Britain.
Sakichi Toyoda (1867 – 1930), developed a wooden hand loom in 1890 and went on to patent an automatic loom based on a British model in 1924, which guaranteed the financial success of his enterprise. The Toyoda Wooden Hand Loom developed by Sakichi and his later Circular Loom (1906) and Type G Automatic Loom are also on display.
There are live demonstrations of the technological advances and other spinning frames and looms by attendants in a variety of languages. You can watch an operator demonstrate spinning threads and weaving fabric right in front of you so that you can gain a real-life experience of genuine crafting.
The second building of the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology is all about car components and car production. The pavilion floor looks just like a whole automobile factory placed in a huge sports arena.
Various production line units are on display including a US-made 600-ton press and the latest Japanese robot technology for welding and painting. There are also sections on car safety.
A number of classic Toyota models such as the Cedric, Celica, Corolla and Corona are on show along with the iconic Model AA passenger car – Toyota’s first mass-produced automobile introduced in 1936.
The Exhibition Consists of Four Zones:
- The Initial Period of the Automobile Business – Here the start of automotive business is divided into 3 parts (Determination, Challenge, and Striving Forward) introducing their foot-mark through impressive scenes and quotes of Kiichiro; “Always be studious and creative, striving to stay ahead of the times”.
- Automobile Mechanisms and Parts – This is the section where the basic mechanism and the changes in the component parts of an automobile, such as the engine, transmission, brake, steering, chassis, glass, body, and lamp, and their technological advancement are explained.
- Automobile Technology – This is where the Toyota models that represent each phase are exhibited. The past and present of automobile technologies are displayed in a multi-dimensionally comparative manner, including material development technology, design technology, and testing and evaluation technology.
- Production Technology – This is the section where a part of the Koromo Plant, Toyota’s first factory in the 10s of the Showa eras (1935 – 1945) when the mass production of automobiles started, is reproduced. This section will illustrate how the Type AA passenger car was manufactured, along with the production processes of casting, forging, machining, pressing, coating, and assembling.
You will see many images, button-operated actual working machines, and cross-cut models, so enjoy yourselves using all your senses by watching the motions and listening to the sounds.
The Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry & Technology is such an educational and fun place. We spent half a day at the Museum. We’ve learned about the development of spinning and loom technology, as well as the evolution of Toyota Automobile. If you ever happen to be in Nagoya, we’d definitely recommend a visit.
Getting to Toyota Techno Museum:
- By train: take a local Meitetsu train one stop north from Meitetsu Nagoya Station to Sako. The Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology is a 3 minutes’ walk to your right from Sako Station
- By Me-guru Nagoya Sightseeing Route Bus: Broad at Nagoya Station Bus Terminal Platform No.11; get off at the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology stop in front of the main entrance
- By foot: the museum is about 20 minutes’ walk from Nagoya Station
Toyota Techno Museum Information:
- Operating Hours: 09:30 – 17:00 (last admission 16:30)
- Closed on Monday (or the following day if Monday is a national holiday) and New Year holidays
- Admission Fee: JPY 500
Note: The information provided in this post was correct at time of publishing but may change. For final clarification please check with the relevant service.