Kyoto – a city rich with culture, history, and tradition. It was the previous location of Japan’s capital city before Tokyo and is home to a fifth of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. Think of Kyoto and sights such as the Golden Pavilion, geishas, and rows of red Shinto gates probably come to mind. It feels like a world away from the bright lights and high-tech feel of Tokyo.
In a way, it was a fitting base point for the first International Ferrari Cavalcade in Japan and in Asia. As a place where tradition is upheld in modern times, it fits in with Ferrari’s view of the past and the future. This year also coincides with Ferrari Japan’s 50th anniversary and they pulled out all the stops to celebrate in true Japanese and Italian style.
Japan, while a small market in the grand scheme of things as about 6% of Ferraris are sold here, is still an important market for Maranello. There are long established customers and collectors based in Japan, making it an ideal place to hold the first Cavalcade in the region.
Like all other Ferrari Cavalcades, this is a super exclusive event reserved for the brand’s most important and loyal customers. Around 70 cars took part coming from around the globe. There was even a Kiwi car, sort of. It had a New Zealand flag but the car, according to its number plate, was from Dubai. Figure that one out.
18 different models were present including 6 LaFerraris (yes six!!!), 5 599 GTBs including the last ever manual one, 2 F12tdfs, 2 F40s, an Enzo, a 599 SA Aperta, and the very special and unique one-off SP1.
Seeing all these cars gathered at the Heian Shrine in Kyoto on a cold, wet Friday morning was quite unreal. It didn’t feel like Kyoto. It didn’t feel like Japan. It felt like I had been transported to some weird Italian dream.
That was, until looking up and seeing the backdrop of this gathering. There, the beautiful Heian Shrine stood in the background. It’s quite hard to miss. It’s a massive and imposing structure built to commemorate the last Imperial family that lived in Kyoto before moving to Tokyo.
With so much history and culture surrounding the Ferraris, it was a bit of a shame there weren’t more classic Ferraris present. But since the cars covered around 670km throughout their trip, bringing modern cars to drive around unfamiliar territory was probably a smart move.
For the first part of the Cavalcade, the cars were displayed in front of the Heian Shrine for select media to shoot. I got there especially early in hope to get photos of the cars parked up before they attracted crowds of people around them. However, the cars were surrounded by people.
You can’t really blame them when a gathering of Ferraris this big in a relatively small city occurs. Japanese love Ferraris, there’s no denying that, and the enthusiasm I saw from onlookers and passersby only proved it.
When the owners went into the shrine for the opening ceremony of the Cavalcade, I took this opportunity to get some photos without people around them before the end of the first part of the Cavalcade.
It was only a short but busy start to the Cavalcade but it did introduce us to the cars, the participants, and prepared us for what was to come next. Stay tuned for part two as the cars drive through Kyoto City and go 120 kilometres south to Awaji Island.