Toyota Techno Museum in Nagoya: Everything Toyota, Ever

 Perhaps my title is a little bit of hyperbole, but unlike the Kaikan Museum and Automobile Museum, which both focus on, well, cars, the Toyota Techno Museum looks at some of the other industries Toyota is a part of.
 The museum is located in central Nagoya, a 20 minute walk or 10 minute tourist-bus ride from Nagoya Station. From the outside and in the entry lobby, you might have no idea if you're actually at a major car company's museum.
 And you're kind of right. The museum follows a loop around the building, starting with the company's involvement in the textile industry.
 Toyota really got its start in manufacturing various textile machines. The museum starts with a little bit of information on how thread and fabric was originally created by hand.
 Machines are on display that would separate, clean, spindle, and weave.
 The long machines are pretty impressive, even when they aren't working.
 Some of the equipment is capable of weaving patterns into the fabric. This one uses a punch card that tells it which threads to use at any point in the fabric.
 Larger, more modern machines are also on display, and some of them can be viewed in operation. Docents are eager to demonstrate their functions.
 Some machines use needles while others actually use water to weave the fabric! It's pretty impressive...
 This machine might be the most impressive. It uses a series of different-colored threads to weave digital images into fabric! No iron-on transfers or screen printing to rub off. I wish they had these for sale in the gift shop. Not only is this more efficient for small jobs than screen printing, it can last longer if quality non-fade threads are used.
 I believe this is the water jet weaving machine.
 The building is on the site where Toyoda built a textile mill. I'm not really sure if this is an original building from the factory or if it was rebuilt/built after the war.

 But, that's enough about textiles. It's Toyota. And for most of the world, Toyota means automobiles. Head down this room...
 And into the workshop where the first prototypes were created. Lots of machinery is on display as well as parts.
 The garage has some displays showing how it might have looked decades ago when they were creating those first Toyota automobiles.
 As you can tell, the company was heavily influenced by American design; I recall reading in the literature that some US parts were used either as models to be improved upon, or in the first cars.
 After exploring the small building replicating the original working conditions, it's time to see some actual cars. There's a gigantic hall featuring almost everything related to automobile manufacturing.
 What does a car look like if you strip it down to the bare minimum?
 A long row of different engines on display.
 A display showed the evolution of Toyota dashboards over the years.
 The old 1930s/1940s vehicles are always fun to look at!
 An old delivery truck!
 Another old truck and car; they remind me of the 1960s James Bond movies.
 Safety and calibration equipment had a display that took up a large part of the hall.
 Like this car with the gigantic bumper and far-out mirrors that I suppose intend to help remove blind spots.
 I think it's easy to see why this car didn't sell well. Unless you wanted a table on the front of your car. Convenient for picnics when there are lots of ants and you can drive your car on the lawn...
 Seat belts and air bags.
 Some of the cars on display are ones I have never seen before.
 Some very large machines are on display to show the manufacturing process. They do move, but it's not a working model; the "welds" aren't real. It's a good supplement to the Kaikan Museum's plant tour, though.
 Adding the shell to the frame.
 Completing the loop, the last area is highly interactive for the kids. There's a lot to do. You can drive vehicles...
 Drive vehicles...
Or shoot water targets? This ties in to the textile equipment at the start of the museum. The interactive area is geared toward kids, and on any given day I'm sure there are several there. There are plenty of exhibits here too, including simulators and working models like you might see in a hands-on science museum.

It might be possible to start your visit here; arriving when the museum opens and going directly to this area could be a good idea; visiting later in the day and hitting the interactive portion after many of the families have gone home could work as well.

The Techno Museum is open 9:30-17:00, but is closed on Mondays and around New Years. Admission is 500 yen which includes the interactive area.

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