Rather than battle the masses at the Auto Salon on Saturday, the tour group learned to travel by public transport. After taking the train and a bus, our group reached its destination, the new NISMO Headquarters and Omori Factory. At this industrially-isolated location were some of the most coveted cars among import enthusiasts. In addition to some of NISMO’s race-winning GT500 Skyline entries, attendees salivated over a limited-production NISMO 400R and an even rarer, highly-coveted R34 Skyline GT-R Z-Tune. After hovering and doting over these amazing machines and swarming through the gift shop, the tour moved on to its next adventure, the Kirin Beer Village.
Brews and More Brews
[pullquote]THE HOUR-LONG TOUR WALKED US THROUGH THE ENTIRE BREWING PROCEDURE[/pullquote]At the Kirin Beer Village in Yokohama, the tour group received an education about the process of brewing Kirin’s famous beers. The hour-long tour walked us through the process, from the hops and barley selection through the entire brewing procedure. At the end of the tour, Kirin graciously hosted a beer tasting session that everyone enjoyed. For the non-drinkers, Kirin also offered a selection of its non-alcoholic beverages, including its coffee (Kirin Fire) and milk tea selections.
After returning to the hotel to regroup, another mainstay of the DSPORT TAS Tour was about to commence. Once the group had gathered in the lobby, it was time to take the Yamanote train to Shibuya for the DSPORT Izakaya Experience. Led by Yaya Tajima, the group exited the Shibuya station at the famous Hachiko meeting area and the world famous Shibuya street crossing, which felt like a pedestrian free-for-all when the walk sign turned green. Once across the street and down one of the many side streets of Shibuya, we arrived at the Izakaya. An Izakaya is a drinking establishment that also serves food. In the case of the DSPORT Izakaya Experience, it’s a two-hour all-you-can-eat-and-drink extravaganza that costs around 2,500 yen (US$25). After the Izakaya Experience ended, some attendees caught the Yamanote train back to the hotel, while others carried on the evening with clubbing and karaoke.
A Time to Explore
Each year, the Tokyo Auto Salon takes place on the weekend that precedes a Japanese holiday known as “Seijin No Hi.” This celebration of adulthood, which always takes place on the second Monday in January, brings families together throughout Japan. Girls get dressed up in colorful, traditional kimonos, while the guys get decked out in black suits. This is the free day for attendees to utilize their newly acquired commuting skills to navigate and explore Tokyo. Some went to Odaiba to check out the life-sized Gundam figure and Toyota’s Mega Web, while others went into the heart of Tokyo to see the Tokyo Tower and the Imperial Palace. Other popular destinations included Akihabara (Electric Town) and Tokyo’s fashion epicenter, Harajuku.