What happens when Japan’s biggest automaker decides to make a car-centric theme park? You get the Toyota Mega Web. No, there aren’t any 200 mph rollercoasters or furry mascots to take selfies with, but there are fascinating attractions devoted to how we get around and plenty of crazy Toyota artifacts to geek out on. The best part? Unlike a real theme park, it’s absolutely free to enter.
Located in Tokyo’s Bay Area, the Mega Web is about 30 minutes by train from the city center. I’d suggest taking the monorail to get there because the views are great and it’s quite a jarring experience sitting on a fully autonomous train. (Maybe that was intentional to prepare us for the grim robot-driven future.)
The Mega Web is split into three different sections; the Toyota City Showcase, the History Garage, and the Ride Studio. The latter is aimed at children aged 3-18. It’s designed to let little humans drive around in miniature Toyota vehicles with names such as ‘Camette’, ‘Pius’, and ‘Kids Hybrid Car’ (accurate!) on a specially designed 230 meter course.
But there’s also plenty to do for the big kids.
Toyota City Showcase
Don’t let the name fool you; it’s got nothing to do with the actual Toyota City, the metro area in Aichi Prefecture home to several Toyota plants. The TCS simply refers to the main building of the Mega Web. It’s two floors of fun-filled Toyota-themed activities.
No, really. That makes it sound boring as hell, but the place is actually awesome. If you think don’t think Toyota can be fun, this place will change your mind.
The first floor is primarily for the Toyota Line Up Zone, which kind of sounds like a level that got deleted from Sonic 2. Basically it’s a massive showroom for Toyota’s current lineup sold in Japan. Some of the cars you’ll see overseas (Yaris, Corolla, Prius, etc.) but then there are some models most markets don’t get, such as the Roomy, Crown Majesta, and Harrier.
The Line Up Zone isn’t a dealership, so don’t bother bringing your checkbook. It’s simply a place for people to have an up close and personal look at the latest Toyotas without the hassle of an eager salesman breathing over their shoulder. People are encouraged to sit inside, open up the doors, and get a feel of the car. They even give you a little spec sheet to look at as well.
Once you’ve gotten comfortable or you’ve found a Toyota you like the feel of, you can make your way to the ‘Ride One’ desk where you’re able to drive the real thing around a special 1.3-kilometer course inside the Mega Web complex. You’ll need either a Japanese driver’s license or an International Driving Permit for this. It’s worth doing simply to try out the opulent Toyota Century.