Automotive parts shops, one thing Japan is renowned for. And yes, we visited one of the biggest of the big. Super Autobacs Nagoya Bay “Woow Circuit”, one of the largest Autobacs in Japan.
This is the entrance to the monster warehouse, barricaded with tyres upon tyres. We made the trip down from Tokyo to visit Nagoya, which was a rather long train ride. Followed by a short taxi trip to land upon this magnificent building.
Outside the warehouse sat plenty of cars for sale. Plenty of expensive cars for sale, I might add. I didn’t check if it was turbo, or manual but the asking price was 2,260,000 yen, equaling around $30,000 New Zealand dollars which is just ridiculous. Even fully modified Silvias in NZ don’t sell for that much.
Through the main entrance (which was still not really inside the building, but not outside either) two full race spec circuit cars awaited us. Maybe you recognise them? I’m not much a fan of keeping up to date with anything that isn’t drift related, so my knowledge is sceptical at best!
Just before walking through the main doors, a nice Japanese man gave me a gift. I bet you can’t guess what kind of gift you’d get walking through the doors of an automotive car shop? Not an energy drink, not a tool, not a voucher. No, I was given a cup of freshly made caramel popcorn. I wasn’t complaining though, as it was free and delicious.
I was blown away walking into the shop, not really by the size of the building, but just how much stuff there was for sale in there. Anything you could possible imagine, all for sale under one roof. In this photo alone you can see wheels, coilovers, magazines, clothes, wheel nuts, and whatever else is in that glass cabinet.
Any brand of coilover you want, this shop has probably got them. However I was starting to notice a pattern with the pricing. This place wasn’t cheap, full retail pricing in every corner.
Unlike the car shops in New Zealand (Super Cheap Auto or Repco), this one was packed with people everywhere. It was also filled with a variety of different people, you didn’t need to be a car guy to visit this shop, I saw old ladies browsing the aisles at one point.
The second floor (yes that’s right the shop has two floors) was filled with big branded items. It also looked a lot more classier than downstairs.
If you wanted anything from this wall, you’d be paying top dollar that’s for sure.
Incase you’re not really into car stuff, or you’ve let your grandmother loose to check out smelly car fresheners, Autobacs offers a resting area. It has multiple vending machines available for use at any time. There was even a hot food vending machine!
I think it blew my mind just a little bit. There was just so many things to look at, you don’t know where to look. Signs everywhere, colourful posters, and bright lights can really overload your brain. It’s not just car shops that do this, every single shop in Japan does it, and it can be rather overwhelming when you’re browsing the aisles. Another thing I found rather interesting is the amount of staff on hand, you’d never be stuck looking for something because I could literally see at least one staff member from any point of the shop.
Outside the Autobacs it was packed with more stands and staff. All promoting something different. I tried to eavesdrop on their conversation, but it didn’t work out too well. I’m not sure what this man was trying to sell, maybe a matt black vinyl wrap, or a nifty automatic roof.
The sun was fading very fast, however I just didn’t want to leave, I could have spent a lot longer than a couple hours at this place. A whole day would have been sufficient. Sadly this was not the case as the train ride was so long and the sun set at around 4pm.
We had very little light left, and virtually no money for a taxi back to the station. Not to mention our phones were all nearly dead, and we had no pocket wifi left either. I started asking where the nearest station was, as I was only picking up words and not their whole Japanese sentence, it wasn’t the clearest of instructions. Now though, we knew which way to go and headed in that general direction.
With 4 suitcases, one with a broken wheel and another awkwardly shaped one, we had about an hour hike to the train station and our goal was to get there before sunset. With our team giving up about half way, we put the last of our cash together to make enough for a taxi ride, to the wrong train station.
It was a long day, all I wanted was to be at my apartment, in bed. We took a train to the correct station and then headed our separate ways. I was off, back to Tokyo while Dane and Bradon from Motonerd headed down to Osaka. It was a long day, and I still had a couple hours on the bullet train before arriving to Tokyo, where I would then have to catch another train, before catching the subway, before arriving at my accommodation. All worth it though, I’d definitely recommend Nagoya to anyone visiting Japan in the future!
Photos: Shaun Constable | Words: Shaun Constable | Proofer: Chadd Davis
© Ambition Works 2015