Automobiles embodying creative craftsmanship – such as innovations for drivability and fuel-efficiency – are produced all across the country in Japan. Introduced here, as one example of the many options available to witness the magic first hand, is Toyota’s plant tour.
Toyota accepts plant tour applications online, from three months to three days in advance. (If you submit a tour request via the online request form, then you will receive a reply email detailing required information.)
The facility offering tours is a plant in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, near the company’s corporate headquarters. Transport to the plant is provided by a dedicated bus. A 150 minute tour is offered every weekday (from Monday to Friday), starting at 10:30 AM and ending at 1:00 PM.
The first 30 minutes of the tour kicks off at the Toyota Kaikan Museum, where visitors will be introduced to an in-depth view of Toyota’s latest technology, pertaining to environment and safety. Exhibited presentations cover Toyota’s automobile craftsmanship, distinguished by its pursuit of high quality under the Toyota Production System, and include displays such as the newest Toyota Lexus model. Photographs are permitted as long as it is inside the Toyota Kaikan Museum, so bring your camera and capture the special moments. This is an enjoyable destination not only for automobile fans, but for families as well.
From 11:00 AM, the tour will head to the plant nearby. Here, visitors are able to witness the actual assembly of an automobile. A must-see aspect of a Toyota automobile plant is the Toyota Production System (TPS). This production system, adopted by factories all over the world and studied in research institutions and schools, is renowned as a system that eliminates Muda (Japanese word for “waste”) and generates the highest level of efficiency. Along the production line, utilized machinery and assembly parts are positioned ready-for-use in each task, and visitors are able to observe first-hand how all the pieces come together and are transformed into an automobile through the assembly process.
Visitors can observe the assembly process from an array of parts forming a vehicle’s body to the mounting of the engine and tires onto the newly painted automobile.
In addition to Toyota’s plant tours, most other Japanese automakers also offer attractive exhibitions and tours in their visitor centers and factories. So be sure to visit to your favorite automaker’s manufacturing plant for a fascinating tour.
Toyota Kaikan Museum
Address: 1 Toyota-cho, Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
Business Hours: Monday through Saturday 9:30 AM-5:00 PM (Note that the museum closes for irregular holidays)
Entry fee: Free
Access: From Toyotashi Station, take a Meitetsu bus to “Toyota Honsha-mae (Toyota Headquarters)” bus stop. Toyota Kaikan Museum is a 3-minute walk from the bus stop.