Day 16/35 – Friday July 18th
Today is the end of a long (and for two days, extremely hot) week. On a Friday we always do a field trip, and the original plan was to hike up Kuragari Keikoku. The views from the top are extensive, and on clear days you can see as far as Hamamatsu and Mount Fuji. However, as part of our duty of care, in addition to a request from our students, the heat issue made us change the itinerary. Duty of care, looking after our student’s health and welfare, is absolutely always going to be our first priority.
So instead of hiking up a steep mountain in high heat & humidity, we took an air-conditioned train to Nagoya. A mega-city, but a manageable one. Nagoya Station is currently one of the 10 busiest train stations in the world (by passenger numbers), but everything works like umm, clockwork. Our plan was the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and technology, and then the extremely awesome Nagoya City Science Museum.
First destination, the Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology. It is a fascinating place. The first part is textiles (the real source of Toyota’s capital), and the second part is automobiles. If you ever want to see the 200 years of the Industrial revolution truncated to a 2 hour tour, this is the place you really need to be.
We had lunch at “Brick Age”, which is named because bricks were uncommon until the Meiji/Taisho era during which the Toyoda family built their business. It was a good meal, though it was also a very weird meal in certain aspects. Tomato in a dessert?
It worked, but…
From the 1924 Toyoda Automatic Loom, Type G (it was so revolutionary that it basically reinvented the industrial revolution, as well as underwriting what later has become known as “Toyota”), to the latest Plug-in Hybrids, this place has it all.
The students loved it.
After the museum, the plan went temporarily haywire. We were heading to the Nagoya City Science Museum. Arriving at the museum, we discovered that not content with taking every Monday off, the museum is also closed for some reason on the 3rd Friday of every month.
Plan B. Call a local. They will know what to see. Local suggests Nagoya’s “Denki Bunka Kaikan“. After a bit of a walk around looking for the place, we discovered that it was also closed, due to it being the 3rd Friday of the month…
Plan C. Call another local, but he couldn’t pick up. So a quick google, call Nagoya Castle and confirm whether they were open or not. They were, so we got to enjoy some hiking anyway. We rested and re-hydrated when we reached the castle.
Nagoya Castle is huge. It is a reconstruction, as the castle became a military base during the Meiji Period, and the stone walls and wooden buildings stood no chance during the firebombings of 1945. The exhibits though are informative – and properly translated…
…well for most of the time at least.
It is a visitor friendly place (the coin lockers are free. You need a 100 yen coin but t is returned to you when you unlock the locker), and the views from the top of the Tenshuku very extensive. You can see the Suzuka and Yoro mountains, and Gifu castle in the distance. The whole area where Nagoya is located is very flat, a floodplain for the rivers, and two bays supporting industry and massive ports (more than 50% of Japan’s seaborne trade).