Wales On Sunday - - NEWS -

WALES will kick off their 2019 Rugby World Cup cam­paign in Toy­ota City, which is lo­cated in the Aichi pre­fec­ture (ter­ri­tory), roughly 180 miles south of Tokyo.

But as well as cheer­ing on the men in red, there is plenty for sup­port­ers to do and see in Toy­ota City and the sur­round­ing area.

You can ex­pe­ri­ence the spell­bind­ing beauty of the Ko­rankei Val­ley and sam­ple some of the re­gion’s lo­cally brewed saki but there’s only one place to start with this city – the Toy­ota Mo­tor Cor­po­ra­tion.

Such is the im­por­tance and sig­nif­i­cance of the car man­u­fac­turer in the area that the city, orig­i­nally called Koromo, was re­named af­ter its prin­ci­pal em­ployer – Toy­ota.

The au­to­mo­bile in­dus­try is a huge part of the city, so much so that the Aichi pre­fec­ture boasts some of the smoothest roads around. Their name is also at­tached to the lo­cal soc­cer and rugby teams.

As such, you sim­ply can’t visit the city with­out swing­ing by the Toy­ota Au­to­mo­bile Mu­seum.

Ac­cessed eas­ily via rail on the Lin­imo Line and cost­ing the equiv­a­lent of about £6.75, the mu­seum tries to ed­u­cate its vis­i­tors on the his­tory of car man­u­fac­tur­ing, ex­plain­ing how both do­mes­tic and over­seas so­cial and cul­tural land­scapes in­flu­enced the de­signs of cars through the years. The mu­seum houses roughly 140 cars from around the world – not just Toy­ota’s – and one of four replica Toy­ota AAs, the first pas­sen­ger car ever pro­duced by the man­u­fac­turer, sits proudly in the re­cep­tion area.

For a more con­tem­po­rary look at the au­to­mo­bile in­dus­try, check out the Toy­ota Kaikan Mu­seum, which a stone’s throw away from the cor­po­ra­tion’s head of­fice.

Here you can take a largely in­ter­ac­tive look into Toy­ota’s 21st cen­tury ap­proach to pro­duc­tion, geared mainly to­wards the en­vi­ron­ment, which in­cludes the Toy­ota Mi­rai, a car that runs on hy­dro­gen and only emits H2O.

One of the pre­fec­ture’s other star at­trac­tions is its cas­tles.

It’s es­ti­mated that 5,000 cas­tles once stood in Ja­pan, but now there are just 12 con­sid­ered to be orig­i­nal and only five are deemed na­tional trea­sures of Ja­pan.

One of them is Inuyama Cas­tle, the old­est stand­ing cas­tle in Ja­pan, around an hour away from Toy­ota City, though eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble by rail.

The dis­tance from the cities of Toy­ota and nearby Nagoya give it a very authen­tic feel and the streets on the ap­proach to the cas­tle are lined with tra­di­tional shops, mu­se­ums and food stalls.

You will be re­quired, not for the first or last time, to take your shoes

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