TOKYO TOUR: Looking at cool stuff and buying stickers

December 18, 2014 3:23 pm Published by

I’ve done a lot of tours for modified car fans in Japan over the past few years, from guiding an entire tour-bus load around Tokyo, all the way down to one person riding along to a track day. I recently met up with a group of nine Australians who wanted to do a whirlwind tour of some of the more famous and interesting shops in Tokyo, so I thought I’d take a few pics along the way.

The first stop on the tour was one of the basic requirements of a workshop tour, Top Secret’s headquarters in Chiba.

Even at a place like Top Secret, seeing an old Subaru Sambar kei van parked next to a couple of hot GT-Rs is both odd and kind of cool.

Kumar was in heaven.

This Hakosuka rolled in shortly after we arrived.

Checking out the merchandise in the Top Secret office.

The next stop was Tec Arts, since we had a few AE/KE owners in the group.

Keiichi Tsuchiya’s personal AE86 was getting some work done on it.

Kamata-san was happy to show them around the shop. As you can see, Tsuchiya’s car was missing the engine.

This is the engine from Tsuchiya’s car, a Tec Arts 7AG.

Tec Arts’ 7AG turbo Black Limited was also having some work done on it.

The famous N2-spec car.

Might not look too crazy, but it sounds great!

Upstairs at Tec Arts picking up some t-shirts.

As usual, I made sure to call ahead so that the Kamata brothers weren’t too busy to receive some guests. As you can see, they weren’t!

The next stop was Nismo’s HQ.

Nismo is a bit of a change from the usual tuning shops. Everything has been touched by the hand of an interior designer.

The famous bathroom.

Plenty of merch on sale with a view into the workshop.

Ooh, what’s that in there?

Nismo R34 GT-R Z-Tune. The unicorn!

As reader “Johnny” points out, it’s actually the Clubman Race Spec. Thanks Johnny!

In the Nismo gift shop, you can pick up a t-shirt, jacket, lanyard, clutch assembly, strut tower bar…

…and even a complete engine.

A short ride away from Nismo was the Mooneyes shop.

It might seem odd to visit a shop in Japan that’s based around American hod rod and kustom culture, but it’s so far out there that it’s amazing. They also have a pretty funky retro diner next to the shop where you can have burgers, fries and milkshakes and listen to Buddy Holly.

They have ridiculous amounts of merch.

The upper level is also full of American tuning parts and accessories.

Our last stop was at Run Free to see Yamashita-san and his AE86s.

The SR20-powered competition car.

These guys cleared Yamashita out of most of his old-school Run Free stickers, which made him pretty happy as he’s moving shop soon and that’s one less thing to pack!

Here’s a report of another similar tour I did, written by Justin Fox from Zen Garage.

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This post was written by Alexi


  • Johnny says:

    That’s the clubman spec 34r, not ztune as you can see it has the 35r brakes

  • Kumar says:

    Thanks so much again Alexi for organizing an amazing tour. Saw many things I never thought I would be able to see and met people ive watched for years on DVDs and in magazines. Amazing experience

  • Davis says:

    I’ll go on one of your tours one day… haha

  • Andre says:

    How would one go about joining one of your tours?

  • rizal merit says:

    can u organizing my tour. would u sent me a detail for a tours cost and itenerary for tours. it will be fun for extra tour to ebisu :p and rent some drift car 🙂
    thanks noriyaro…..

  • Andrew says:

    Would love to do this in next year!

    Could you contact me with details please?

  • Tony says:

    Hey Mate,

    Been reading this site for years now, and now I’m able to have a chance to visit the places you have mention over the years, can you please let me know the cost of the tours mate? Would love to meet you in person and go to any track/drift days if you have any plan during the time I’m there in late June, early July. Hope to hear from you soon.

  • I like the Nismo shop. Its pretty cool.

  • Thomas says:

    Was just recently in Japan for 2.5 weeks. I should’ve sent you a message! Next time, maybe. It was my first time in Japan but I’m already set on planning my next trip over.

    Will lend you my BNR32 if you’re ever in Melbourne!

  • George says:

    That is some epic stuff!
    I always wanted to meet some of the people in japan that are into cars. Those are some amazing workshops. How did you ever move to Japan and gotten into the cars/drifting stuff!? I’ve been to Japan several times, but never met with anyone that can show me the “secret” places and meets. In fact I’ll be in Japan for 2 weeks at the beginning of the next month, and would love to know if there would be anything interesting happening while I’m there…

  • Jordan says:

    I’m with everyone else here wanting to go on one of these tours! How do I make it possible?

  • Lee says:


    I’m coming to Japan in 2019 for Tokyo auto salon, would you be able to arrange a tour for my wife and I?
    I’m staying in Shinjuku and the Makuhari Messe during the show.
    I’d love to visit top secret, nismo, up garage and do some shopping while there.
    Thank you