Toyota (豊田) is the largest city in Aichi Prefecture by area, and the sixth largest city in the entire Chūbu region by population. 30 km southeast of Nagoya, it is best known as the home of (it was in fact named after) Toyota Motor Corporation.
Toyota is served by Nagoya's two airports, Centrair and Komaki.
Meitetsu Bus runs 18 buses a day from Centrair, taking 1 hour 30 minutes and costing ¥1900. These buses take one of two different routes, but they all go to Toyota-shi Station. This is definitely an easier option than taking the train, which will require you to change twice.
In the unlikely event that you use the domestic-only Komaki Airport instead, the easiest way is to take the bus into Nagoya (25 minutes, ¥700). For a direct train to Toyota-shi, get off at Fushimi-chō; for the highway bus, change at Sakae.
Toyota's two main stations are Toyota-shi, run by Meitetsu, and Shin-Toyota, which is on the Aichi Loop Railway (also known as Aikan).
The main way into Toyota is the Meitetsu Toyota Line, which is basically an extension of Nagoya's Tsurumai Subway Line. There are usually four trains per hour to Toyota-shi; from Fushimi, these take 50 minutes and ¥780. Note that some Tsurumai Line trains stop short at Akaike. While this is the best way to travel between Toyota and most of Nagoya, the Tsurumai Line serves neither Sakae nor Nagoya Station, and so may be too much of a hassle for long-distance passengers.
An alternative route from Nagoya or Kanayama Stations is to take a Meitetsu Limited Express or Rapid Limited Express train to Chiryū, where you can change to the Mikawa Line towards Sanage; this takes 1 hour and ¥810. For an extra ¥360, you can buy a reserved seat ticket for the Limited Express to Chiryū.
Toyota is not on the JR network. Japan Rail Pass users can get from the Tōkaidō Line to Toyota in 40 minutes for just ¥510 by using the Aichi Loop Line from Okazaki to Shin-Toyota, or Meitetsu from Kariya to Toyota-shi (changing at Chiryū). Going through Okazaki is the best way from Toyohashi, which is served by Kodama and some Hikari trains on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen. If coming from the Chūō Line, it is 35 minutes and ¥620 on the Aichi Loop Line from Kōzōji.
The following buses serve Central Toyota:
- JR Tōkai Bus runs the overnight Dream Toyota, which connects Shin-Toyota Station to Tokyo Station, taking 6 hours 45 minutes and costing up to ¥7740.
- Meitetsu Bus runs at least 9 buses a day, usually every hour or two, between Toyota-shi and Nagoya (Meitetsu Bus Center, Fushimi-chō, Nishikidōri-Honmachi, and Sakae Oasis 21), taking 1 hour 15 minutes and costing ¥820.
The following serve Toyota Interchange on the Tōmei Expressway (sometimes known as Tōmei Toyota):
- JR Tōkai Bus, JR Bus Kantō, and JR Bustech run the Tōmei Highway Bus service (9 buses a day between Tokyo and Nagoya, and 1 bus a day between Shizuoka and Nagoya). From Tokyo this takes 5 hours 10 minutes and costs ¥4970.
- Ibaraki Kōtsu runs an overnight bus from Tsukuba, Mito and Hitachi, taking 9 hours and costing between ¥7290 and ¥11,700.
- Meitetsu Bus and Fukushima Transportation run an overnight bus from Tochigi and Fukushima Prefectures (Sano, Kanuma, Utsunomiya, Nishigō for Shirakawa, Sukagawa, Kōriyama, Nihonmatsu, and Fukushima), taking 9 hours 45 minutes and up to ¥11,500 from Fukushima (6 hours 45 minutes and up to ¥10,000 from Utsunomiya).
Tōmei Toyota is connected to Toyota-shi by only 4 Meitetsu Bus services a day (20 minutes, ¥320). More frequent alternatives are to walk 20 minutes north to Toyota-Tōshinchō bus stop, from where it is 20 minutes and ¥270 on the bus to Toyota-shi, or walk 25 minutes south-east to Tsuchihashi Station on the Meitetsu Mikawa Line, from where it is 7 minutes and ¥230 to Toyota-shi on the train.
Toyota is, atypical for Japan, a car city with a very good road network and very sparse public transportation, which is quite fitting, considering that Toyota is a popular car brand!
There is a really nice bridge that looks like it is constructed out of dinosaur bones. It makes for some interesting pictures and a nice stroll in the afternoon.
- Rickey's (on the 1st floor of the multi-purpose Vits Building 100 m south of Toyotashi Station). Open until 02:00. The only Western pub in town, and as such usually well-frequented by locals and Toyota expats from all over the world.