The modernist style building you see above started life in 1934, as Nissan’s first head office, in front of its original factory, in Kanagawa-ku, Yokohama. Remarkably, given the huge post war expansion of the company, it continued to serve this function until 1968, when the head office was re-located to a new, larger office block in Ginza, Tokyo. The old building remained in use as a guest hall for the Yokohama plant, which sits behind it, until 2003 when it started a new life. Having been designated as a heritage building by Yokohama city and also by the Japanese Government as an important heritage industrial site, the building has remained well preserved, complete with most of its original 1930s features, both inside and out. Perfect then, for the location of Nissan’s ode to eighty five years of first class engine design…
It seems highly appropriate that this place should become The Nissan Engine Museum, as the adjacent factory remains Nissan’s primary engine manufacturing plant… one which has built some thirty five million engines since its founding! The whole site is of historical significance, as it was Japan’s first mass production car plant.
The museum itself is free to enter and has on display around thirty Nissan engines, from the earliest 1935 Type 7, through to the latest super efficient, high output units. There’s also plenty of associated displays of components and engineering technology through the years. There’s even one or two cars usually on display.
Whilst the engine museum is largely out of reach for most of us outside of Japan, I recently discovered, completely by accident, that Google have come to our rescue with a Streetview tour… inside the museum! Check it out below…
If you are lucky enough to visit Japan, you can not only visit the museum for free, you can also take a two hour tour of the adjacent engine manufacturing plant too, although I believe these tours do need to be booked in advance. For visitors, the plant is located at:
2, Takara-cho, Kanagawa-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa 220-8623
…And as if that’s not enough… nearby is the Cup Noodle Museum. What more could you want?