Zoom-zoom! The Mazda Museum in Hiroshima gives a unique look at the history of the company and the rebirth of the city after WWII.
Are you a car enthusiast?
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We are car enthusiasts- and so are Mazda! If you are visiting Hiroshima, be sure to tour the Mazda Museum and factory and you will gain a greater appreciation for a special car manufacturer.
Mazda is a not the largest vehicle manufacturer, but who doesn’t like rooting for the underdog? Mazda is firmly committed to the driving experience. Their passion is visible in their beautiful cars and storied history, and when you tour their museum and factory you will see the magic in person!
Mazda Museum and Headquarters
On the day of your tour, use our map and park at the Mazda Head Office. Going anywhere else will send you on a wild goose chase (the factory is huge)! If you try to drive to the Mazda Museum, you will not be allowed on the premises!
The Mazda Head Office is at the end of the visitor parking lot. Enter the doors to the right and several Mazda models will greet you (there’s a Tully’s Coffee in the back corner). Feel free to sit in and experience the new cars, but don’t touch the historic models!
Check in with the friendly desk staff, receive a visitor pass and instructions, then wait for the bus to arrive.
The bus takes you through the factory premises, extending along the Enko River, and across the Toyo Kogyo Bridge. This bridge is one of the tallest and longest bridges owned by a private company! Fun fact: this bridge doesn’t appear on Google Maps in their Map View!
After you enter the bus, refrain from taking photos or video – you are passing through sensitive areas. The tour guide will point out numerous historical and current points of interest. Eventually you will exit the bus and enter the museum!
A History of Fortitude
A brief video presentation will give some Mazda history and philosophy. Mazda overcame incredible challenges, including the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and was a huge part of rebuilding the city literally from the ashes. Their first vehicle was a three-wheeled truck, pictured here.
They resumed sales of a new three-wheeled truck just four months after the August 6, 1945 bombing. The biggest holdup was a lack of materials, mostly tires.
Their three-wheeled trucks were sold up into the 1970’s. Eventually Mazda produced their first passenger car, the R360, in 1960. This car fits four passengers!
Rotary Engines and Racing
Mazda pioneered the use of a unique engine, the Wankel rotary engine. It offered smooth performance, low weight, and strong power, but fuel efficiency was a challenge.
After succeeding with the rotary engine, Mazda started racing!
Their first race car was the expensive Mazda Cosmo, but they went on to race their affordable family sedan, the Familia Rotary. It went toe-to-toe with Porsche 911s and other marques throughout Europe and Asia, posting wins at famous racetracks like Spa-Francorchamps.
Barely over a decade after starting to race, Mazda prepared cars for the most famous race in the world: the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This grueling 24-hour race is a challenge for any manufacturer. Mazda became the most reliable finisher of any car manufacturer, and achieved class wins for a decade before launching the last generation: the 787B.
The 787B produced over 700 horsepower from a 2.6L, 4-rotor engine. It took the 787B to 210 mph during the race, and it won Le Mans outright. Mazda was the first Japanese manufacturer to win, and the 787B was the only non-piston engined car to win in Le Mans history. The car travels all over the world these days, and we were lucky to see the actual car, not a replica!
Manufacturing and the Assembly Line
During the tour, you will see the manufacturing process explained in detail. Throughout, Mazda demonstrates an emphasis on safety, efficiency and – of course – the driving experience.
Parts are made in the order that they’re needed, but eventually everything ends up on the assembly line. This was the most impressive part for us. Left hand drive, right hand drive, Mazda CX-5 or Mazda MX-5 Miata – they make vehicles in the order that customers request them, on the same production line! Workers went from placing a roof on a convertible Mazda one moment to installing the interior of an SUV the next. Mazda pioneered the mixed production line, and it ironically sped up the delivery process, despite seeming complicated.
Mazda’s current design language is “Kodo, the soul of motion.” Read all about it here, but suffice it to say they create beautiful vehicles. Every vehicle is harmonious with the others and is instantly recognizable as a Mazda, but the design goes deeper than that.
Mazda talks about “Horse and rider being one,” and they spend exorbitant time and energy to make the cars drive just as good as they look. We are excited to purchase our first Mazda!
Plan your trip:
Reservations are required and can be made via phone or email. To schedule a tour online, click here and enter your party information. The process is straightforward, and Mazda will reach out to confirm the names of those in your group as the date grows close.
Tours are Monday-Friday and they close for spring, summer and winter vacations. They last 90 minutes. The Mazda Museum gives two tours each day, one in English and one in Japanese. You will love it! We will warn you, though – if you haven’t yet owned a Mazda, this tour may convince you to buy one!
Hiroshima Food Tour – More to do in Hiroshima
Do you want to know the best places to get something to eat and drink in Hiroshima? Magical Trips offer guided nightlife tours! They bring you to top restaurants and bars and guide you through the menus like a pro. Have a local show you around for the most authentic night out Hiroshima has to offer!