Last year I was doing a project for Nissan. We had requested access to the Nissan DNA Garage at the begging of the project, but so much time had passed I figured we weren’t going to get in. Then one day out of the blue I got an email saying that I was going to be allowed in for 2 full days with complete access to all the vehicles. The only catch was that I had to be in Japan in less than a week!
Luckily I’ve traveled to Japan a number of times in the past, so once there I can get around pretty easily. Planning a last minute trip was no big deal either, and the airfare and hotel was way less expensive than I thought it would be for booking so late. I have a good friend (Keizo) that is a Japanese native, and after a couple of emails he was set to accompany me as my translator. Everything quickly fell into place and within the week I was off to Japan.
My friend lives in the Kanagawa Prefecture, which is the same area that the Nissan DNA Garage is located. Once I arrived, I took a limousine bus from the airport to my hotel in Yokohama and checked in. I showered, grabbed all my gear and a small overnight bag and headed out to Keizo’s house. The plan was to have dinner with him and his family, stay the night and drive over to Nissan in the morning. After 3 or 4 subway transfers my long day of traveling (20 hours) was finally complete and we were headed back to Keizo’s house.
The next morning we got up early and headed over to Nissan. After checking in at the front and receiving our passes, we were led to the back of this huge Nissan factory and asked to wait by a small red door with “Nissan DNA Garage” written down the side. We were then greeted by the crew that maintains all the vehicles and given a quick overview of the garage and things we could and could not do. I was also told that they would be moving the cars so that I could photograph them. After that they opened the door and let us in.
From the outside you really have no idea what to expect. The door coming in is just a normal sized door, and the outside just looks like an old factory building. But once inside, it’s huge and it’s full of some of the rarest, historic, and most famous Nissan vehicles. For a Nissan fan like myself, it really was an awesome experience!
The crew was incredible, and really made my job there very easy and enjoyable. There was 3 of them following me around and moving cars for a good part of the day. It was great having Keizo there too, not only for the translation, but he’s a big Nissan fan too and he’d only seen some of the cars in print and movies. At the end of the two days I was exhausted and had taken close to 2000 photos. While I can’t show them all, here are a few of my favorite cars from the collection.