Work recently took us to Japan, the land of Wasabi Cars, Japanese Nostalgic Car and, of course, Tomica models. Having never been to Japan before, we decided to take a couple of well-deserved days off in order to do some sight-seeing in and around Tokyo.
Domestic automakers indisputably rule the market in rural areas of Japan but the car landscape gets more diverse as you get closer and closer to Tokyo. Once within the city limits, Alfa 156s and late-model Chevrolet Astro conversion vans happily share the road with Toyota Century sedans and hundreds of kei cars. Classics are well-represented, especially ones that are foreign and / or expensive.
Although Japan is a right-hand drive country, there are no rules that dictate whether a car’s steering wheel needs to be located on the right side or on the left side of the cockpit. Many high-end late-model cars appear to be imported from the United States, and we were told that some automakers (including Porsche) even let new car buyers choose whether they want right- or left-hand drive.
Finally, driving in Tokyo is more or less like driving in any other big city but we were surprised to see that the speed limit is a low 80 km/h (50 mph) on the freeway. The limit on smaller roads ranges from 40 to 60 km/h (25 to 37 mph), figures that are again very low compared to what we’re used to seeing in Europe and in the United States. Plan accordingly if you’re headed to Japan; driving from point A to point B might take you a lot longer than you think it will.
We’ll publish more articles about our trip to Japan in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we’re giving you a preview of what’s to come with a selection of photos taken over the course of our short trip.