A Car Nerd's Guide To JapanAn insider look at car culture in Japan.  

Every now and then there’ll be a weekend where the whole world gets together and dials its car culture all the way to 11—or in this case, seven. That’s what 7s Day is; a giant celebration of Mazda rotary engines on the weekend of July 7 and 8 that happens in many cities, including New York. But here’s what went down this year in Mazda’s home country.

Date-centric car meets in Japan are a common thing. For example, on March 2, 3, and 4 there’s usually a meet involving R32, R33, and R34 Skylines because that’s 3/2, 3/3, and 3/4. On August 6 there’s usually something related to Toyota 86s, new and old.

So on July 7th, surprise surprise, was 7's Day, a whole day dedicated to the Mazda RX-7 and other spinning triangle cars.

Advertisement

This year was my first time joining in on the festivities at Daikoku, but even then I was late to the party. I only got word of it while I was out on the Mazda Turnpike for a bit of Saturday afternoon fun. As soon as I saw photos coming out of Daikoku I dropped what I did and made a beeline straight to the famous parking area. How could I have forgotten 7s Day?

It turns out the cars had gathered there since the morning. I arrived at around 7 p.m. A spectator who had been there since the morning said as many as 40 RX-7s were already saving their spots at Daikoku.

By the time I got there, even as the sun had set, the parking area was still full of these beloved Wankel-powered sports cars.

If you thought the New Year meet at Daikoku was as full as it gets, 7s Day gave it a good run for its money. The sad thing was that in previous years the meet really kicked off at Umihotaru PA out by Tokyo Bay. Unfortunately this year, the police were cracking down on modified cars and had set up a check stop there which discouraged a lot of people.

Advertisement

To make matters worse, the police had planned to shut down Daikoku PA at around 9pm that night so there was only a couple of hours to take everything in. It’s been an ongoing problem of late with the police and the car community in and around Tokyo, and you can read more about it at Speedhunters too.

Lately, Daikoku and Tatsumi PA have been getting shut down early due to various complaints in regards to noise from surrounding neighborhoods and from people who want to use these parking areas to stop and rest but not being able to because of all the cars parking up for meets.

No matter though, because there was still some time to walk around Daikoku and take in all the rotary goodness before the police shut it down. This was a weird time to be at Daikoku as the sun had gone but there was still some light left. Mix that with the bright neon signs from the restaurant and lamps scattered around the parking area made for some interesting lighting situations. I’ve only ever come here either early in the morning or late at night.

From a high vantage point and it was rotaries as far as the eye could see. Each one was a different take on the RX-7, which is part of the appeal of this car. There are so many ways of modifying and personalizing it to your own taste. Everything from bone stock Sprint Rs to subtle cosmetic upgrades to full blown widebody kits and GT winged accessories were there.

Advertisement

There’s no denying the strong FD presence here but there was also a good amount of love for the FC and the first-generation SA. Of course out of all the modified RX-7s, few managed to attract as much attention as the various Veilside Fortune kitted ones.

There’s some alluring about these kits, maybe because of the Tokyo Drift connection or perhaps because they just look damn ridiculous. It’s hard not to look at them.

For all the various cosmetic modifications, you could tell which owners were more proud of the engine upgrades because these were the ones who had conveniently left their bonnets open. For me though, I like my modifications to be simple and look good so the lone grey Sprint R with MazdaSpeed MS02 wheels was my favorite of the bunch.

Advertisement

While it was very much an RX-7 meet, there were a few RX-8s to appreciate as well. It might not be as well loved as the FD but I do have a soft spot for these cars. The one RX-8 that did catch my attention was the two-door converted car with a silly carbon fiber rear spoiler and even more carbon fibre where the suicide door would’ve been. It was an interesting mod for sure.

A meet this big attracts a bit of attention from all sorts of enthusiasts so walking around Daikoku at “blue hour” had a few other treats that weren’t necessarily rotary powered. There were the usual suspects in the form of the “sound vans” decorated with Japan’s finest strobe LEDs. There were a couple itasha cars too as well as some JDM legends such as R34 GT-Rs, Supras, and even a first-generation Century.

Advertisement

Right on cue at around 8:30 p.m. the police started telling everyone they’d be closing in half an hour. A few guys who were eager to leave before the police came and rounded everyone up cause a bit of commotion by the exit as everyone went to get a photo or video of them leaving.

As it creeped closer to 9 p.m. and when only a few of the cars had left, as is usually the case when the police kick people out of parking areas and everyone stubbornly takes their time to leave, I decided to head out to Tatsumi PA to see what was there.

Advertisement

It was much the same as Daikoku—a few of the cars that had left early to avoid police intervention. The orange Veilside RX-7 was a nice surprise though, which compliment the orange Savanna at the other end of the parking area nicely.

Speaking of Veilside cars, they’re still very much in business and are doing kit for the 370Z as seen here. After seeing the Subaru Impreza with the see-through bonnet and realizing nothing else would top that tonight, I headed for one last destination to finish off July 7.

Since it landed on the second Saturday night of the month I thought to give our new friends at Shibuya a visit. I was not disappointed. Sure, there weren’t as many bouncing low riders as there were last time I visited but there was a nice mixture of American-inspired cars, from a slammed Lexus LS400 to a donk-ish Cadillac Escalade to whatever that weird green Dodge Avenger is trying to be. Of course, there was also one RX-7 here to complete the night.

Advertisement

The next morning, being the second Sunday of the month, was time for the monthly Daikanyama T-Site Morning Cruise. In all honesty this meet has gotten a bit stale recently but perhaps that’s due to the rainy season.

The theme for this month’s meet was Mazda RX cars to coincide with the 7/8 weekend. It was a decent turnout but I only stayed for a bit before heading out to Daikoku PA again for the Sunday morning meet.

I guess people were still recovering from the night before because only a few showed up. Still, it’s quality over quantity, right? The orange Rocket Bunny RX-7 was a definite highlight.

The overfenders and the crazy rear wing was hilariously awesome. But for sheer silliness the winner has to be the RE Amemiya FD speedster which sort of resembles a Porsche.

Advertisement

This one-off creation was first shown at the Tokyo Auto Salon back in 1999. 19 years ago it was shown in hot pink, after a few iterations it’s now in this white on gold BBS combination. There’s no roof and there’s no trunk. It’s solely a topless show car designed to wow. It’s definitely one of, if not THE craziest RX-7 I saw this weekend and the perfect way to wrap up 7s Day.

If you get a chance to join next year I’d strongly recommend it, even if you’re not a fan of rotaries. Here’s hoping the police won’t shut it down next time.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement