Okay, first off this museum isn’t actually in Tokyo. It’s not even in the same prefecture but as it houses many rare and interesting cars I thought it’d be worth 90-minute or so train ride out.
There are many ways of getting to the Mahoujin Supercar Museum in Tochigi, the easiest being by car. But due to timing, or rather bad planning, I was without one and had to take the train. Which wasn’t as easy as it sounds because I went the day after most of Japan was hit by a typhoon causing flooding in most parts – including Tochigi.
Still, I went on hoping for the best. From Shin-Tochigi station it’s about a half hour walk to the museum. If you feel like splashing out there’s always a couple of taxis on standby outside the station. But as Shin-Tochigi was a pretty little town I’d recommend walking – weather permitting of course.
When you get to the museum you’ll notice it looks a lot like a train station. That’s because it used to be the main Tochigi Station. The station transferred to a more convenient location and the building was abandoned. Rather than tearing it down, a committee voted to refurbish it for a different purpose. In February 2001, a decision was made for it to become a supercar museum with 4700 signatures supporting it.
The entrance fee is ¥800 ($10.70). The first thing you see is a single train carriage, as a reminder of the building’s former purpose. Walk past the carriage and you’ll be greeted by one of the best and most colourful supercar collections in the world. Most of the cars were from the “golden age” of motoring, before government and environmental legislation dictated design and engineering.
Cars from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and a couple from the 1990s were represented proudly. The cars were arranged by brand, age, and colour. Which, if you’re OCD or a perfectionist, was just as impressive as the cars themselves.
Starting with the Jaguars, there was a XJ12, XJS V12, and a rare XJR-15. The XJR-15 is one 300 and was the second one I’ve seen in Japan (the other also part of a collection). Next to the Jags were some lone cars including a BMW M1 and Koenig Specials Porsche 911 Turbo. This was my first encounter with both cars and I have to say, the M1 impressed me a great deal.
Then we come along to the first batch of Ferraris. From the Prancing Horse stable were a Dino 246GT, 365 GTB Daytona, and a 512BB. Behind them were some Japanese cars such as Toyota Sprinter and an proper left-hand drive USDM Acura NSX. Directly behind the Ferraris were a couple of very special (to me anyway) Maseratis; a blue Bora and a red Merak. A more obscure Maserati, the Mistral, was also on display.
Lamborghini were well covered too. There were the usual Countach and Miuras (they had two of each, a Miura P400 and SV and a Countach LP400 and 25th Anniversary) but even had the company’s first model – the 350GT. It was a real privilege to have seen one up close. I was a bit disappointed they didn’t have an Espada or LM002 though.
I’m not sure why the placed the Porsche 959 so far from the 911 Turbo, I can only assume to differentiate the Koenig Specials-tuned Porsche from the actual thing. Anyway, if it were up to me the 959 would’ve been placed along with the other cars on the main show floor rather than hidden in the back.
Also in the back were a couple of older Jaguars (E-Type Roadster and XK120), an Alfa Romeo Montreal, a pink Corvette, an Isuzu Bellette GTR, Mitsubishi Galant GTO, Lotus Europa, and a Datsun 240Z. Back to the main floor and there were a Lotus Seven, an obligatory 2000GT, and a mint-condition ‘Hakosuka’ Skyline GT-R.
Finally, squeezed in between the Lambos and Ferraris was a silver Bugatti EB110. I believe it’s one of only two in the country (the other being the blue one seen at the Bugatti-themed meet at Daikanyama). As I was the only person at the museum at the time, the museum staff were more than happy to open the doors and let me have a look inside.
As I was packing up to leave a father and his young son showed up to have a look at the cars. His son’s face lit up as he saw the bright yellow Lamborghinis. Whoever were involved in turning this old train station into a museum for cars from a bygone era, I salute them. It may be a bit of Tokyo but if you have time or desperately want to see all these cars together then I recommend giving this place a visit.
I’ll add a link to their website and directions for better explanations. Unfortunately the website is all in Japanese, but a paste the link to Google Translate and you should be able to get the jist of it.