Recently, I was fortunate enough to spend the sharp end of a month in Japan.
Much of the trip was spend in the bustling (that’s an understatement if there ever was one) metropolis of Tokyo, by far and away one of the most immense and impressive places I have ever had the fortune of visiting.
If you ever get the chance, make sure you go.
I come from a city of around 350,000 people, and after three years of no travelling thanks to Covid and both New Zealand and Japan’s fairly stringent border policies, it was – to say the least – a “shock to the system” to arrive in a city where there are probably 350,000 people riding the subway at any given point in time (apparently nearly 7 million people a day use the Tokyo Metro system)
As a car enthusiast, and particularly an enthusiast for JDM cars it was a great experience being in the heart of it all.
Being a family holiday and having a toddler in tow meant I was a bit limited in terms of my ability to go and check out some of the JDM car culture hot spots (I’m hoping to go back one day on a “solo mission” to dive deeper into the automotive side of Japan).
However, I did manage to visit a couple of spots of interest.
One such location is the “Honda Welcome Plaza” Aoyama and in this short article I’ll share my review and experience.
I made a visit because it was well-reviewed on Google and also happened to be en-route to another destination we were visiting.
With limited time and family commitments, I needed to select car-related destinations that were convenient to other places I was visiting.
What Is The Honda Welcome Plaza?
Long story short, it’s a sort of hybrid mini-museum in a part of Tokyo called Aoyama (hence the Aoyama in the name) that features a changing set of Honda-related exhibits, a merchandise shop and a cafe.
I believe that upstairs on the higher floors there are Honda corporate offices, but visitors can only access the ground floor.
It’s not a car dealership (although I think there might be a Honda store nearby).
You don’t need to pay anything to enter; just walk on in during open hours.
Honda Welcome Plaza Aoyama Review – Was It Worth Visiting?
Honestly, it was a bit of a mixed bag.
We spent about 30 minutes there, and I was happy enough because ultimately it was on the way to our destination (we were travelling between Asakusa and Ginza, so it just meant getting off the station at Aoyama-Itchome station on the Ginza line, exiting the station and crossing the road).
However, the exhibits on the day my wife and I visited were a bit underwhelming as somebody who was wanting to see classic Hondas.
Photos online showed all sorts of interesting cars like a lineup of historic Type R vehicles. I was hoping to be able to see a nice EK9 Civic Type R or DC2 Integra Type R in person. For example, this article on Acura Connected shows some truly classic performance Hondas on display:
When we got there, there was a Honda E, a new-gen NSX race car (which was admittedly cool) some prototype Honda Jazz that had been modified to showcase cutting-edge safety tech, and a Honda Formula One car.
If you didn’t really care about seeing classics like the old NSX or Civic Type R, then I suspect you would be rather impressed considering entry is free. I was personally hoping to see the likes of the Honda / Acura NSX in all its glory.
There were some interesting motorcycle-related exhibits as well, but that isn’t really my cup of tea.
The merchandise shop is relatively well-stocked, and the cafe looked good (and was actually very busy) but I really wanted to see rare and interesting Hondas up-close and in-person.
Had I travelled there specifically, it would have been a disappointment to be honest. Because it happened to be on the way to Ginza (where my wife and I were going shopping while a family member was on babysitting duty) it wasn’t so bad.
What would be good – and feel free to chime in down below in the comments if there is a way to do this already – would be if Honda offered some kind of up-to-date list of what’s currently on show.
For example, if it was packed out with old Type Rs as per the photo above, then my experience would have been very different.
Long story short, I wouldn’t necessarily take a morning or afternoon out of your Toyko travel itinerary to visit Honda Welcome Plaza.
However, at the same time if you happen to be staying nearby or travelling on a train line that passes through Aoyama-Itchome station it’s worth a look. Everything is clean and welcoming, the staff are friendly and the exhibits that are there are very well-presented.