The Modified Minika Toppo

Welcome back. There is no popular car among all the non-popular cars as this one is. The Toppo is the one who gets the Oscar Award for best starring role. And I say this because it is common to find online Top 10 weird-ugly-uncommon cars list or posts that list those rare cars on the Japanese market, or even also weird cars widespread in foreign models on the roads worldwide.

As an example the Fiat Multipla use to be the number one in many of the lists.


1998 Fiat Multipla

In this case we speak about the Mitsubishi Minika Toppo. A small car manufactured by Mitsubishi in early 90’s. It is a very particular car, available in 3 and 5 doors, with an spectacular interior space that does not favor in any  case the exterior design.


Mitsubishi Minika Toppo

There is a still more striking version. Mitsubishi apparently try to give a more classical image to the model, but the final result was more than questionable. In fact it was really never a popular kei car among the category.


Mitsubishi Minika Toppo Town Bee

But the important discussion here is, as we have previously seen in others post at, the ability for the Japanese people one more time to modify a vehicle has no limits, no need to use mainstream cars, maybe being different is what’s most important.

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Or maybe it is not, and will simply apply to the idea of modifying cars. An idea linked to the owner when if your have the tuner spirit, provided no matter what the car is it will end up being modified.

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Last question, there are more rare cars with custom spirit? The answer is totally YES. And we will spot them.

The kei to truck

Ahh … Japan, where everything can be modified or customized. From compact cars, mini cars, sedans to sports cars, and of course the mini trucks. Known as kei trucks in Japan, this is a kind of parallel tuning Japanese industry.

These mini trucks meet the same standards than a conventional Kei Car. A maximum of 660cc engine, 63 HP and a maximum of 3.400mm in length.

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Continue reading The kei to truck

Nights and restaurants and Kyoto

As soon as sunshine hours fall, many places change substantially its aspect. Kyoto is one of those places. Kyoto like many other cities in Japan, has the particularity of having a much lower streetlights power than what we are used to in Europe where large sidewalks, and city lights are sometimes excessive stealing the night starring in night hours.

Here, only large avenues, and the main streets of the city seems to receive attention from the authorities, but instead, it is outside of those places where streets, alleys and buildings take a lot more of japanese realism, and transmit the true spirit of the Asian countries.


Kyoto city with a population of around 1,500,000 habitants, is a city where you can walk freely and safely at any time of the night and early morning. It never seems to have nothing to fear and also the feeling of tranquility and absence of noise make us think we are the only ones left in the city.


So at this point is where the decoration of the restaurants get into action. Red classic paper lanterns, Norens (that kind of multiple curtains hunging in front of doors), and spotlights illuminating their daily menus and facilities.


In the top photo, in which we observe a downtown restaurant, surrounded by the typical city center shops. Conbini and karaoke everywhere. This is one of the main streets of city of Kyoto, Karasuma Doori. This is one of the main streets that faces north Kyoto when we stand out of the front door of Kyoto Station.


However, in these two photos, both above and below, we find other premises more neighborhood friendly, with underground aspect that impresses tourists by the fear of not knowing what will they eat and not even knowing how to communicate with the waiters. Out of the big Tokyo, Japan is not very english friendly out of the city center.


In these downtown restaurants, the most common to spot is a daily menu with not even a photo of the dishes, here kanjis are everywhere, and not even think about speaking English to any waiter. No way to find references on Trip Advisor, no reviews of other users. If it’s good or bad, tasteful or not is question you have to solve by yourself.

Although to be honest in my words, I must confess that in these places you will often not have room for more than 10 people, is here where the better you can enjoy the authentic Japanese food, beer and sake and above all, to enjoy an unforgettable japanese experience and feel the true experience of being involved the authentic Japan. On the outskirts of the city where real people live, play and sleep.

Little visit to Gundam Front Tokyo.

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As we have already seen in the previous post, the Odaiba area is very modernist, made for people and created thinking about the entertainment of all citizens and also for tourists who are thousands a year who visit this particular area every year.

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Continue reading Little visit to Gundam Front Tokyo.

A monorail trip to Odaiba. Taking the Yurikamome.

As a lover of car culture, there is a place well known in Tokyo that should always pay a visit. The Toyota Mega Web.

Basically the Toyota Mega Web is a kind of super Toyota dealership open to the public to check and test yourself new models, but also future, classic cars and competition models of the Japanese brand are displayed. Continue reading A monorail trip to Odaiba. Taking the Yurikamome.

One of many days in the city of Kyoto

Any day will make your day in a country like Japan. To go out with your camera in hand and simply take hundreds of photographs wherever you go or stay. The premise is simple, for us, westerners everything can surprise us at any time.

From classical to modern architecture, traffic signs, people and their customs and especially for car lovers, any vehicle to be circulating on the streets or parked in houses garages or parking lots.

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Nissan UD Quon Mixer

In this kind of situation where all these situations are mixed, sometimes there are also  the japanese trucks. They are amazing, big, bright, decorated and always spotless clean in every corner no matter even if the truck is as these two example construction trucks.

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2010 Nissan UD Quon

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No less surprising is the number of American vehicles that can be found in the Japanese country as we saw in a previous post here on the blog. Here

Clearly the need to be different is of course the same as in most countries, but unlike many of us, they already have the JDM and then they seek to go beyond highlighting. American and European cars have a fairly important notoriety in the country.

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Another peculiar vehicle is the Mitsubishi Delica 4×4, often Delica owners choose to lift up, and ride them with big mud tires turning them into a kind of Japanese monster trucks. In addition I have to say it is not unusual to spot one of these modified Delica´s elsewhere.

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The rest of it? Well just the daily menu, here wander around and find cars in perfect condition is much more easier than we’re used to seeing in Europe, here it is not common to see damaged bumpers or doors. Perhaps because of the complicated system of parking, or perhaps because the big respect for others cars and objects. This issue to be honest I have not yet solved it.

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The last thing I want to pay attention in this post is this dark green Nissan Silvia Qs. Simple and simply modified at the time it represents as few the true old spirit of Nissan and its golden age.

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Inside UP Garage

In the last post in we learned how to arrive one of the many UP Garage shops situated throughout the country. In this case we were talking about Yawata shop located in the south-east of Kyoto. -Here-

Within UP Garage stores you can find all the car parts you ever wonder for a great variety of cars.

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Aerodynamic used parts, bomper lips, or whole body kits. These are located at the entrance just down the hall where the car seat are.

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There is a very cheap spot for yunk parts. There are car parts that may not work well but are still on sale as could be repaired. These parts are usually truly affordable  even below half the selling price of normal used car parts.

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Continue reading Inside UP Garage