It’s one of the iconic things to do in Japan – take a factory tour, especially as most of the Japanese factory tours are free. Japan is the birthplace of just in time manufacturing, so a visit to a factory should be fascinating! Toyota is Japan’s biggest car manufacturer. Toyota plant tours take place at the Toyota headquarters in Toyota City just outside Nagoya and easy to reach. So here’s all you need to know about visiting the Toyota Factory in Japan.
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About the Toyota Factory Tour Nagoya
The Toyota plant tour Nagoya includes seeing the full production line process at Toyota Nagoya. This also includes their amazing multi-model systems which allows for the production of all models of vehicle on the SAME production line.
The tour is free, but you must book in advance, there are details below on how to book your place on Toyota’s free factory tour.
No photographs are allowed in the production area, although you can take photographs in the Toyota museum and showroom.
How long does the Toyota Factory Tour Last?
The tour takes place once a day between Monday and Friday and is offered in Japanese and English. You must pre book your tour. You can book your Toyota Factory Tour here. The Toyota Factory tour lasts 2 hours.
How to visit the Toyota Factory Tour Japan
The Toyota Factory Japan Tour is free at the Toyota City / Nagoya plant, but you must pre book your tour. Tours usually start at around 11:00 but you must be present at the Kaikan museum 30 minutes prior to that.
How to Book a Toyota Factory Tour
You can book a tour up to 3 months in advance of the date that you wish to visit. Prebook your Toyota Factory visit here.
Where is the Toyota Japan Factory Tour?
The Toyota Nagoya Tour is located at Toyota City, close to Nagoya. You can reach the plant and museum within around 50 minutes from central Nagoya on the Meitetsu Toyota Line to Toyota-shi station.
How much is the Toyota Factory Tour and Museum Japan?
The Nagoya Toyota tour and visit to the museum at the Toyota headquarters is free. The tour is conducted in both Japanese and English on separate schedules. The Toyota Kaikan Museum at the Toyota plant is also free to visit.
The Toyota Kaikan Museum is open from 09:30 to 17:00 on Monday to Saturday and is closed on Sundays and holidays.
Who should take the Toyota Factory Tour Japan?
If you’re a car fanatic then you’ll love the Toyota Nagoya Plant tour. If you’re interested in just in time production methods then this is a fabulous place to visit. If you like free things to do in Japan then this is also a great experience.
Experience the Toyota Factory Tour Japan
Visiting the Toyoya plant Japan is not difficult. The Nagoya Toyota factory is easy to reach from Nagoya, so we took a day trip – and arrived there at 10am, ready for our 11am tour. The Toyota Factory Tour even has its own train station (so if you’ve got a JR Pass it’s EASY to get to).
Be sure to pick up your JR Pass BEFORE you get into Japan – it will save you a FORTUNE on trains and makes life very easy. You can buy a 7, 14 or 21 day pass and get it shipped to your home address for free.
The best way to travel around Japan is by train – and you can save a fortune by buying the JR Pass BEFORE you get to Japan. Get your JR Pass here.
There is a cafeteria at the Toyota Kaikan museum where you’ll check in, so if you arrive early there are places to sit, drink, and eat snacks.
What Tours to Take in Nagoya
As well as the Toyota Factory tour in Nagoya there are a host of other activities and places to see in Nagoya.
- You can take a day trip from Nagoya to Magome and experience this ancient post town – with a guide – get details here
- If you like hiking, then hike the Magome – Tsumago trail under your own steam or take a guided tour here
- Enjoy a maid cafe experience in Nagoya – check details here
- Take a train tip to Inuyama Biyori and dress in a Kimono from Nagyoa – check prices here
- Have great family fun with a robot experience – with robot’s serving you tea!
- Take a guided walking tour of Nagyoa – with an included subway ticket for the day – prices and booking details here
- Visit Legoland Nagoya – for a great famiy day out – prebook tickets for Legoland here
- Visit the Nagoya Aquarium – prebook your tickets for Aquarium Nagoya here
Visit the Toyota Factory Tour Museum
The Toyota Factory museum is free to enter and you do not need a guide to explore it. As we had arrived early for our tour we spent an hour exploring.
You also get to look round all the cars that Toyota hope you will buy. The best was the car fitted for those with disabilities. It’s possible to sit in most of the cars and really check them out while you’re here.
One of the best things about the Toyota Museum Japan is the fact that they have a robot that has an artificial lung that plays the trombone. And it is pretty damned cool.
Our Experience of the Toyota Factory Tour in Japan
As on the Mazda tour there are no photo’s allowed on the tour of the Toyota plant. And when we head off we’re bussed between various parts of the plant, which is impressive and incredibly efficient.
We see several parts of the production line. We learn about just in time manufacturing and how quality is valued over quantity and speed.
You can read more about the processes that you will see on the Toyota Factory tour here.
It’s interesting that I thought it would be ground breaking and look like it. But it looks like a regular production line until you look a little closer. Their multi-model lines are built to build multiple models on the same line, which is pretty awesome.
There are way more people involved in the production lines than I expected (there are 7,500 people employed here in the Nagoya factory), and many fewer Toyota factory robots than I anticipated.
Perhaps I’m missing something, but the Mazda factory tour beats it hands down. However, if you’re in Nagoya, then you shouldn’t miss this tour. And yes, a reminder, it’s free.
It was good. But was it great? No. So I left Toyota, the car in front, feeling like it was definitely the brand behind after my trip to their factory.
And that’s interesting (to me at least). That in my trip to Japan, I’ve had my brand perceptions turned on their head. Mazda, who I felt pretty ho hum about – I’m now gung ho about. Toyota is the opposite. Those instant noodle packets that I saw in shops and thought, pah, no, looks cheap and nasty are now the ones that I will buy above all others. Yup I’m definitely sold on Cup Noodles. Oh, and Asahi beer. Yup, I’ll take that and the Asahi free brewery tour and tasting over a poor Sapporo beer and tour and expensive beer hall experience any day.
Just goes to show, when you dig in a little, perception differs wildly from reality. Now, if only I were in the market for a car… I suppose I’ll make do with cup noodle and beer!
The last word, though goes to the robot… he’s not quite Asimo, but he plays a mean tune…
Alternatives to the Toyota Factory Tour
If you are unable to find a space on the Toyota Japan tour we recommend the following alternatives
The Mazda Factory Tour
Another free car factory tour, this is easy to get to and also close to Nagoya. You can read more about it here.
The Toyota Techno Museum
This is also known as the Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology, or the Toyota Museum Nagoya. It is located in central Nagoya. There is no factory here but you’ll find a lot of exhibits on the car production process.
The Toyota Techno Museum is easily reached from Sako station and is close to Nagoya station. The museum is open from 09:30 to 17:00, the last entry is 16:30 and admission is 500 yen. The museum is closed on Monday and also Tuesdays if the Monday is a national holiday.
The Toyota Automobile Museum
This museum displays cars from the later 1800s to the 1960s from Europe, Japan and America. You will find it close to Geidaidori Station. The museum is open from 09:30 to 17:00, with the last entry at 16:30. The museum is closed on Mondays, and also Tuesdays if the Monday is a National Holiday. Entrance is 1000 yen.
More Free Factory Tours in Japan
The Toyota Factory tour is just one of those available when you visit Japan. Here are other factory tours that we recommend for your visit to Japan.
The Mazda factory tour: Another great free car factory tour – perhaps even better than the Toyota Factory Tour.
The Asahi Brewery tour: available at 8 locations throughout Japan this tour not only provides an understanding of Asahi’s history but also gives you free beer tasting at the end – and they’re not small measures!
The Cup Noodle factory – there are several places where you can visit a cup noodle museum in Japan, but for us visiting the birthplace of noodles in Ikeda was on the list. Make your own cup noodle here.
Travel Tips for Exploring Japan
- Considering travel insurance for your trip? World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 adventure activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.
- Download and install a VPN BEFORE you travel to Japan > discount coupon here
- Buy your Japan Rail Pass before you arrive in Japan
- Book the best tours and guides in Japan on Civitatis, GetYourGuideand Klook
- Learn to cook Japanese food in Chef’s kitchens in Japan
- Save money in Japan with a Wise debit card
- Find the right accommodation for you via Booking.com
- Book an incredible ryokan experience in Japan
Resources we used to plan this trip:
- Book your visit on the Factory Tour
- How to get to the Toyota Plant Tour Japan
- What CNN thinksof the tour
- Japan Guideon Tours and Museums
- Information on getting and using a JR Pass
- Where we stayed in Nagoya: The Eco Hotel
- Our Guide book in Japan was the Lonely Planet Japan
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