Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology is an interesting museum built in the original Toyoda loom factory in Nagoya. The museum is split into two main areas-looms & textile manufacturing and automobile manufacturing.
Once upon a time Toyota was Toyoda Automatic Loom Works Ltd and founder Saikichi Toyoda was developing looms to make manufacturing of textiles more modern and efficient. This section of the museum was actually very interesting to see as it is in the original factory and all of the machines here actually work. The staff also give demonstrations of the processes in both Japanese and English. We were touching raw cotton to see what it felt like when one of the staff approached us to explain everything and we ended up on a tour through textile technology growth through at least 20 different working machines with the last one being the computer generated weaving of today. We don't often think about what goes into making the fabric we are wearing but this museum makes you realize just how impressive the process is and how hard it was 200 years ago.
The second half of the museum tells the story of how Toyoda became the Toyota Motor Corporation thanks to the determination of Kiichiro Toyoda, Saikichi's son. It also gives a very in-depth look at all of the aspects of automobile manufacturing. The museum shows you how all of the different parts of a car work individually which is very interesting to look at. They also show you many different machines that go into making a car from welding to painting to even forging and casting of individual parts. All of these machines are working examples and many of them you can press buttons to work them yourselves. The Automobile Pavilion also has many examples of the domestic cars they make as well as the advances in technology of car development. This area also has lots of hands on workshops for kids that are available on weekends and holidays which is a nice way to get the kids excited.
The museum also has other demonstrations throughout the day on steam engines as well as a violin playing robot. There is another area called Technoland which has lots of hands on experiences designed for children that show how things work in a fun way. On weekends and busy periods you have to get a timed ticket for this area so I would head here first if you have children to ensure you can get in.
This museum is surprising interesting and could easily be a whole day adventure. We spent just 3 hrs here and although we saw everything in the main pavilions we felt a little overwhelmed towards the end without a break so allow yourself enough time to take it all in. After the museum have a wander through the grounds as there are many historic buildings left from the original factory days. If you enjoyed this museum you can also head out to the Toyota plant and the Automobile Museum which are outside of Nagoya City.
Admission to the museum is just 500 yen for adults, 300 yen for junior/high school aged children and 200 yen for elementary school aged children. Younger children and over 65 years old are free. The museum is open from 9.30am to 5.00pm.