Tokyo, Japan - Forget the localised meet-ups at Yishun Dam or Kallang Leisure Park, Tatsumi Parking Area and Daikoku Futo Parking Areas are simply in a different league. Over a Friday evening on a Japanese summer day, a friend brought me on what I would consider as a pilgrimage spot for automotive enthusiasts in the Tokyo area – no less, in a Nissan 350Z.
Situated just under 10 kilometres away from Tokyo, the Tatsumi 1st Parking Area could be seen as the starting point for the drive along the Bayshore Route (Wangan-sen) of the Shuto Expressway that runs through to Yokohama city. Visiting Tatsumi is pretty much the luck of the draw to see the cars that rock up. Cars will come and go and the mix blends throughout the day (and night), but activities can increase at various times of the year – for example, during the week of Tokyo Auto Salon.
The presence of the culture crept up on us as we noticed more extraordinary (Read as performance or exotic) vehicles appear on the wangan before appearing in the parking area that is miniscule compared to what we would see later.
The Japanese car culture is not strictly restricted to JDM cars, if the 2020 Tokyo Auto Salon was an indication of anything.
Moving on, we left Tatsumi Parking Area while being overtaken by a bunch of Mercedes Benzes as we made our way 38 kilometres down south towards Yokohama. Built on a man-made island, where the Yokohama Bay Bridge links the Wangan to the city, lies Daikoku Futo Parking Area - a larger car park that is ringed by a network of flyovers.
Alive by night and quiet (apart from Sunday mornings) in the day, the vibrancy of the scene becomes apparent as we filtered off the exit ramp towards. Alas, therein laid a fleet of Nissan Skyline GT-Rs across generations staring right at us.
JDM Legends – Japan is losing more and more of the 90s legends as more of these performance cars are permitted for imports into other countries, stoking the embers for their demand.
I wonder if you know, how they live in Tokyo, but if you seen it then you mean it, then you know you have to go. A replica copy (less wheels) from the movie, a Veilside widebody Mazda RX-7 FD3S fails to be discreet in a corner of the parking area away from the view from the rest of the cars.
Far from homeground at Akiba, this itasha Suzuki Swift Sport ZC32S is parked behind a menacing olive drab green Cadillac CTS coupe
Beyond the parking area, the crowd gathered at the top of a flight of steps which we followed to reveal a bunch of rear wheel drives doing their thing. Fortunately, the fun (and serious) police did not drop by to shut things down.