Japan is one of the top producers of some of the most world-renowned vehicles. Companies such as Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Lexus, and Mitsubishi are a few of the most recognizable. These companies have paved the way for many vehicles we drive today. From looks to engineering, Japan has had a huge impact on the automotive industry. Gearheads continue to celebrate this success and share their passions for these cars by meeting up and showing off their prized possession.
Daikoku parking area, located in Daikokufuto, is one such place and is renowned for being one of the world’s most famous car meets. It's gotten a lot of attention locally for its rich history, but its overseas recognition comes from social media and passion projects that have gone viral over the years.
History of Daikoku
The history of Daikoku is not complicated. First, it started as a rest stop—a place for highway goers to get off the road and take a quick break. Whether to get food, use the bathroom, or simply take a nap before a long journey, Daikoku was a place of coming and going. Over time Daikoku became popular within the car community for its easy access and spacious layout and has been a meeting place for well over thirty years now. Though originally it wasn't a venue for a friendly show. In the beginning, Daikoku was an underground meeting place for street racers and illegally modified cars.
Today, the facility has stayed true to its roots as a simple meeting place for motorheads to collectively share their joy and appreciation for these complex machines. It's also one of the most famous meeting spots thanks to its inclusivity. The facility has no meet-up times or dates, invite-only barriers, or need-to-know requirements. It's open to anyone, and there is no prejudice regarding the kind of car you drive or the ones you like and dislike. For frequent visitors, the diversity of vehicles makes this place special.
Right now, the facility’s only entry barrier is physical, making this meeting more difficult for the common tourist. There is no bus route or train service connected to Daikoku. Accessing the lot isn't possible by foot or bicycle as the area is gated and walled off to pedestrians. The only way in is through a highway on and off ramp that connects the lot to a complex series of concrete overpasses. To get there, you need a taxi, but the option is expensive considering the location. The surest way to get to the lot is with a vehicle, which can be intimidating for some tourists.
However, this physical exclusivity is what makes Daikoku that much more special. The lot isn't filled with YouTube enthusiasts looking for viral clips or people looking to stir up a bit of trouble for their Instagram accounts. It's just a relaxed and quiet spot for people to share their hobbies.
What Happens at Daikoku
If you're determined to visit Daikoku, there are a few things to know. First, the meeting doesn't have an organized time, as mentioned, and there is no social media group that coordinates the event. You can show up on any day and anytime, though locals will tell you the best time is Sunday morning when the weather is nice. While Daikoku is open at night, it's best to avoid these times as police tend to be more active and crack down on the more rambunctious crowd.
There is no guarantee that there will be something you're looking for as you're at the mercy of whoever decides to show up. Although, if you pick the right day and hang out long enough, you’re sure to see something you won't forget. Onsite is a Lawson that can provide you with food and drinks if you are staying awhile. There is also a police station, so don't be disappointed if people get told to leave if things get out of hand.
Other than enjoying the car displays, talk with others as much as you want or as much as they are willing. There are plenty of locals with stories to tell, whether about their car or how they became a gearhead themselves. It’s common to run into some foreigners as well, considering the popularity of Daikoku. You may even see some foreign American muscle cars, which can be exciting for locals as some of them tend to view American cars the way Americans view Japanese cars.
Any experienced traveler can relate to the isolation and the difficulties that can come with trying to connect. The beautiful thing about Daikoku is that it acts as a medium for connections. You never know who you might meet or what plans you could potentially make. Every visit is a new one. It’s a special place for many, and after attending, you're sure to know why.