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

Maybe I’ve been in Tokyo for too long, maybe we’ve all become desensitized to them in our age of Instagram and YouTube, but it’s fair to say that to stand out anymore, supercars have to be in unique specs. Thankfully, the supercar owners of Japan have no fear of modifying even the most expensive cars.

From custom to stock

One thing you can be sure of in Japan is that you’ll never be bored, especially when it comes to supercar meets. The owners here don’t mind standing out and do so differently to anywhere else in the world. You can see them at crazy meets that happen regularly at Daikoku Parking Area on weekend nights and Tatsumi Parking Area as well, but the sort-of-public-but-sort-of-private Dream Fantasy Junction (DFJ) meet at Hanyu Parking Area every year is one of the craziest I’ve seen.

It’s a meet I look forward to every year as the cars that show up never disappoint. Some of the cars you have seen before at various meets throughout the year. The DFJ meet a sort of ‘End of Year’ meet for the various supercar owner groups, clubs, and tuners to come together for one final get-together before they head off for the holidays. Some of the more well known guys such as CarGuy, Morohoshi’s crew, and the Anija A-Team brought their crazy cars out.

This wrap was inspired by a ‘shooting star’. Apparently.

The first meeting spot was at Hanyu Parking Area in Saitama Prefecture, about an hour north of Tokyo. By the time I got there at around 9 in the morning there were already a few cars, mainly from the awesome guys at Anija. It was hard to miss the gathering of bright colored, chrome-wrapped Lamborghinis with massive wings and bedazzled headlights.

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Eventually more cars showed up. The rest of the Anija crew came first bringing with the more bling, more exaggerated spoilers, and more questionable wheel choices. Unfortunately the infamous ‘Zonda Anija’ wasn’t able to make to this meet as it was getting work done for Tokyo Auto Salon next month. The great thing about these Anija cars is they’re never, despite having seen most of these cars before. These guys are constantly making changes to their cars since the last meet. These guys are never repetitive; it’s like seeing the car for the first time all over again.

The closest thing to a road legal 599XX
It’s all about this wing though

Take the ‘589XX’ as an example. It’s started out in life as humble Ferrari 599 GTB, a nice enough car but quite common. So what Anija have done was decked it out with a bodykit mimicking the 599XX track car. So it’s got the massive rear wing, canards, and functional side exit exhaust. The end result is nothing short of jaw-dropping.

Morohoshi-san and his bright colored crew of epileptic Lambos showed arrived a few minutes later. Like the Anija A-Team, these guys don’t care about what others think. They do it for themselves and share it with others. If you don’t like their style, that’s fine too. The Aventador is their car of choice. Japan is the second largest market for the biggest and baddest Lambo so it’s no surprise these owners have to go above and beyond to make theirs stand out.

Morohoshi-san in his Rilakkuma Huracan

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This lady-owned Liberty Walk Aventador in factory painted pink and Swarovski crystals is my personal favourite

From holographic wraps to Liberty Walk kits topped out with Swarovski crystals, there’s no limit to what these guys and girls imagine. Morohoshi-san himself, having built up a reputation for his wild modified Lamborghinis, showed up in a relatively tame orange Huracan Spyder with a Rilakkuma character on the bonnet.

It wasn’t all just modified cars though. Like every other meet in Japan there was a mix of exotics. The highlight for me was the yellow Ferrari Enzo. This particular car was signed by Ken Okuyama, the designer of the car itself. There were a couple of classics too in the shape of a Lamborghini Miura, Lancia Stratos, Lamborghini Countach, a few Ferrari F40s, a Ferrari Daytona and a couple of Nissan Skyline ‘Hakosuka’ GT-Rs. There were a couple of 599 GTOs too, the owners of which had a look at each other’s cars to see the different modifications done to them. Of course more Lamborghinis showed up as well, including a Diablo GT and a road-legal Gallardo Super Trofeo. Well, I’m not entirely sure if its road legal or the owner just stuck number plates on it.

A bit of class to balance things out
The Leeza. No, really.

It wasn’t all just supercars, either. A few random cars show up to these meets to see the famous faces and crazy cars. Scattered around the parking area was a Honda Civic Type R, a Ford F-150 (these rarely show up in Japan), a Cadillac Fleetwood, and the very quirky Daihatsu Leeza Spider (yes, Leeza is its actual name). The Mazda Roadster NR-A, that’s the Miata with the factory roll cage and Bride bucket seats, was what I drove to this meet in and I can confirm its as much fun as it looks.

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Most of the people at this meet were the owners. It was great to see everyone checking out each other’s cars to see their new modifications done. Everybody’s getting inspiration for the next new thing they’ll do to their own projects. Being a motorway rest area, members of the public would come over to check out the gathering. There’s none of that pompous exclusivity that usually comes with supercar clubs here, these guys are always open to sharing their creations and passion with the public.

Just another Sunday morning in Japan

At this stage all the supercars had showed up to the meet. Far too often people describe a meet as ‘taking over’ a particular place. Well, these guys genuinely took over Hanyu Parking Area. There was literally no spaces left for cars, buses, and trucks to park. One by one each crew left to go not to the next stop, luckily just before the police came to kick them out. The next stop was at some fancy hotel two hours north of the parking area. Being in a Miata I really didn’t have the horsepower to keep up with them on the motorway so I just cruised my way over.

This is how they left their cars when they went for lunch
This 288 GTO was a surprise at the lunch stop

By the time I got there the cars were lined up on a grassy field. I didn’t have long to see the rainbow of exotics as, after having their lunch, in true Japanese style, they left on the dot. It was worth going to just to see them in Tochigi as it’s a beautiful part of Japan not many people go to. It’s a popular tourist area for locals, at least, coming from Tokyo and nearby areas. There are quite a few classic car museums, too, and I’ll feature them in the future. The DFJ End of Year meet only happens once a year, but they’ll be back again for the New Year meet. If you think this meet was good, just wait until you see that one.

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Spot the odd one out
A pink Ferrari courtesy of Anita
The customization continues inside too
Not too many JDM cars at this meet though
Not quite the 589XX but not stock either
There’s a small but strong low-ride sub culture in Japan

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Lots of Liberty Walk kits around
Look, another one
A relatively stock Diablo SV
The Energy Motorsports body kit for the i8 is wild
More Anija Lambos
The ‘road legal’ Super Trofeo

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Mazda’s track focused Roadster NR-A was a lot of fun
Gotta flex that scissor door
I like this generation Type R
Even older Lambos get the wide boyd treatment
Another factory pink Aventador
Beneath the rust wrap and Liberty Walk kit is a drift spec Ferrari 360

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You don’t see too many of these in Japan
These are even rarer than the GT
Big wing? Check. Crazy color? Check. Flashing LEDs? Of course
Chrome and tron wraps are still a thing?
Iron Man on a Lamborghini
Say what you will about these cars, there’s no denying these owners drive their cars out a lot

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Diablo GT with some ‘lesser’ supercars
It looks like a F40 LM but it’s not really a LM
It’s a Stratos!
Front of a F430, body of a 360.
Another surprise at the lunch stop.
Ferrari 365GTB/4 or Lamborghini Miura?

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288 GTO & Enzo
The Ferrari corner
Signed by Ken Okuyama
Yes, that is a leopard print interior
Because stock rims are too common
‘Speed holes’

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Nothing is exempt from mods here
Some trees
‘Hype’ beast
Doors up
I do like a bright colored Lamborghini
It’s even crazier on the road

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A Diablo
One of Morohoshi’s original body kit designs