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We set off this morning as early as we could manage, negotiated the subway system and arrived at the Shinkansen station in preparation for our day trip to Kurashiki only to discover that the fast trains were not included with our JR passes and the next train would get us there at 12pm. We reconsidered and instead jumped on the next train to Nagoya, not knowing what we would find there.
At Tourist information at the railway station we picked up maps, advice on a special day tripper weekend ticket and a sightseeing bus that’s included on the same ticket. The first stop was the Toyota Museum so we disembarked ready for an unknown adventure. My husband was keen to visit temples and parks but I suggested that considering Kyoto has 1600 temples we could try something different.
None of us new that Toyota started as Toyoda and began with the inventions of Sakichi Toyoda to do with spinning and weaving. Our children were captivated and we took the chance to read and learn. Soon we were given a demonstration of spinning cotton by a young woman who led us to a middle aged man and so on so that we were given demonstrations of over 100 years of inventions right up to the modern air propelled shuttle-less weaving machine. We all enjoyed the spinning and weaving section immensely and spent a lot of time in there fully entranced.
Next we moved into the automotive section and discovered that it was Toyoda’s son that started in that direction. First they dismantled a Chevrolet and laboriously over about 2 years built a car by hand and with many mistakes.
We spent so long engrossed at the Toyota Museum that we realised we only had time for one more thing so we opted for Nagoya Castle. It was built in about 1521 and had a turbid history then in May 1945 it was almost entirely destroyed by Allied air raids. In 1957 reconstruction began and today it’s difficult to tell that the donjon is a replica.
Golden dolphins were cast and placed on the turrets in the 1500s then melted down 3 times and recast with less gold over the centuries to raise money. The dolphins were destroyed by Allied bombings and were cast again by the mint. We enjoyed eating green tea ice cream outside the donjon and exploring each level of the donjon which houses artifacts that were rescued before the bombings.
We raced back to Nagoya station just in time to catch the 17:19 Shinkansen to Kyoto. Once back we wandered down Shijo Street, through the food court of Daimaru Department store tasting treats, then through Gion and back to our cosy home. Our children did really well with the long day and long, cold walk long and we were all happy with the surprisingly good day that we had considering it’s mystery beginnings. We thoroughly recommend the Toyota Museum to everyone with or without children.