Winter Trip: Day 5 of 5 Nagoya, Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology and Toyota Automotive Museum and “Linimo” Maglev Train

Dec. 28, 05.

On this day first I headed to Toyota’s Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. I have to say it’s the best science/engineering museum that I have ever visited.

The museum shows how Toyota started out as a maker of automatic looms of fabrics into the No. 2 (and soon to be No. 1) automaker in the world. When I went there at the opening time of 9 am, I was probably the 4th or 5th person to go there.

The museum is split into 2 sections, one section is all about automatic looms and fabrics, and the other part is all about automobiles.

The section on the looms was pretty amazing because not only did they have lots of historical automatic looms that were used before, but they all still work and they had people who would demonstrate them. It was so amazing seeing all that “ancient” machinery still working with all those gears and belts.

They even had a demonstration of the automatic loom that Toyoda originally invented.

Also they had metal workers demonstrations as well. I saw a forging demonstration where a piece of metal at high temperature was put to a mold of a mini automotive part.

In the automotive section, they had every part of the car separated with hands on exhibits to show how they work. For example there was an exhibit with the manual transmission system of the car and as you switch the gears, you could see what was happening to the gears.

At the end of the automotive section, they had large scale models of a assembly plant with working robots just like in the plants. In some exhibits, if you press the button, it will show you a short demo of how the robots works for example in the welding section of the assembly plant.

Its too bad that this museum is only in Nagoya because it beats lots of other “science museums” which only show non-interactive and not working models of things.

I ended up eating lunch at the restaurant at the museum, 1000 yen for a roast beef lunch special with salad and tea. I think this was the cheapest price I had for something of this quality because I got 3 slices of normal sized beef! (rare here as anything that is normal size is expensive).

That day I bought a 1 day pass for use in Nagoya’s subway. Compared to the fares for transit in Tokyo, Nagoya is expensive, lowest price fare was 200 yen, whereas the subway in Tokyo is 170 yen while the JR commuter trains are only 130 yen.

After lunch I went to ride the “Linimo” transit line on the suburbs of Nagoya. This served 2 purposes, firstly I wanted to ride this new line because it was a transit line that is based on the technology of magnetic levitation which means it has no wheels or rails but is levitated by magnets on a guideway. Secondly I wanted to visit the Toyota Automobile Museum that was on a station on this line.

Riding the “Linimo” was pretty interesting, it was fully automated, but the first time I rode it even though it was fully automated, TWO workers were at the front monitoring, one was sitting and the other was standing. I guess this is another one of the unnecessary jobs in Japan, like pressing buttons on the elevator of a department store or having 3 people direct traffic out of a suburban big-box store’s parking lot. Also the ride was very smooth. The Linimo train passed by the former Expo 2005 site, the ferris wheel was still there but they were still continuing to take down the buildings. The weird thing about this transit line is that it is built in the middle of nowhere, there isn’t anything located next to the stations except freeways.

At the Toyota Automobile Museum, the tickets cost 1000 yen. There were many old cars that were displayed. The interesting part of this museum I thought was the display where they show the development of Japan after the war and all the old cars and stuff from each decade after the war.

They also had a demonstration of the prototype car that they showed at the Tokyo Motor Show. Because it was close to New Years, they had a lucky draw, you could win models of cars, or lesser things like postcards of cars. I was unlucky, I won the postcards.

After that I went back to the hotel because it was getting cold and dark.


Nobu said...

That first museum actually sounds like something I'd like to see. I wonder how long they'll be working to get down all the things from the Expo-site in Aichi. That place was huge.

kinkinsoba said...

Wow, I love Toyota cars, I would so want to go to the museum.

How fast did the "Linimo" go? Was there a speedometer you could look at? I hear they go pretty fast.

en said...

I'll post pictures later, now busy, with test, report, presentation etc.

Linimo was a normal speed maglev, not the fast kind. Still interesting to see something that didn't run on rails.

Anonymous said...

Wow that is really cool. Eagerly waiting for the pictures to be posted...


Anonymous said...

interestin and cool.