The Night Starts Here: Tatsumi PA
The Wangan’s Pit-Stop

You know what one of my favourite things about living in central Tokyo is? The fact that on any given night, if you’re up for a bit of car indulgence, you are never far away from a multitude of meeting spots. Tatsumi Parking Area, located right along the Wangan, is less than a 10-minute drive from the very heart of the city (depending on how fast you drive, of course), and, weather permitting, most nights becomes a hang-out place for car guys.

Situated on the on-ramp of Route 9 on the Shuto-ko, Tatsumi PA’s location has always made it a popular rest stop as it can be returned to over and over again when you head out for a quick run of the inner loop, or C1 as it’s most commonly known.


From Route 9 you connect onto the last section of Route 6 and then onto the C1, which you can circle to your heart’s desire without needing to pay over the ¥930 toll. On my last visit to Tatsumi I wasn’t out for a drive in my GT-R or anything (the car is undergoing a few upgrades over the summer so is out of order at the moment) – I just wanted to stop in and see what was going down.


The way this particular parking area sits about five stories above ground level gives it quite a different atmosphere from other Wangan rest stops like Daikoku or Ooi. You also get a stunning view of the Ariake neighbourhood and Tokyo’s heart behind it. Sitting a few levels up and having the busy Wangan one level down, the whole place shakes around quite a bit – especially when big heavy trucks pass by. In fact, it almost feels a constant earthquake.


Just after 9:00pm there was an already decent selection of cars present. Unlike Daikoku where a lot of guys park up for a long time, here most people only stop for a quick break to check out what’s around, and then go out for another drive. It means you have to be quick to snap cars that pull in, as they might just do a quick loop of the place and then leave immediately.


In the few minutes that it took me to grab my camera from the back of my car, I missed one more Citroën from this line up.


As well as a cool red Lancia that was parked alongside this particular example.


Delta Integrales, albeit rare, still continue to be very much sought after machines in Japan. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this in the past, but back in the early ’90s Lancia made some limited edition Integrales especially for the Japanese market that sported unique leather trim and pearl white bodies. This wasn’t one of them, but it’s just as cool. I just love the rolled-up and ziptied mud-flaps. You will also notice that the car next to it is a Renault Mégane RS – a very capable FF hatchback that’s been on my ‘must-drive’ list for a very long time now. How cool is the factory Lambo-style center-exit exhaust?!


The back side of the PA is usually reserved for trucks, but when you drive an expensive import it seems that you are free to park anywhere you like. Mind you, there aren’t too many trucks stopping in this time of the evening, so parking there doesn’t seem to bother anyone.


I didn’t realise straight away that there was another car parked alongside the Panamera; the low-slung Lamborghini Murcielago almost completely hidden by the massive Porsche sedan.


Shoot the right way at Tatsumi PA and you get an amazing background consumed by the new tower blocks that in the last few years have sprouted up on the man-made islands of Koto-ku.


As you can see, even the latest and most expensive machines from Lamborghini don’t escape the imagination of Japanese car customizers.


Of course, the same can be said for more affordable options too, like this MR2 which sported a cabrio conversion. I’ve definitely never seen an SW20 given this custom treatment before.

Night Running

As some cars left more arrived – some in very dramatic fashion with their drivers exhibiting the same throttle revving techniques of bosozoku bike gangs! Mind you, a 458’s V8 sounds a little more appealing than an unsilenced motorbike engine, right?


One of the reasons I headed out on this particular night was to meet up with a friend of mine who owns this 964 Turbo. I drop by his shop to pick up my groceries every week and we always talk cars! His Porsche has just had a complete engine overhaul so it’s running better than ever!


He’s part of a Porsche crew that regularly shows up at Tatsumi with a few interesting cars. This mean Turbo is part of the club too.


It’s hard to put into words the kind of presence these older 911s have, and the Japanese really know how to get them looking their best.


The black RAYS Volk Racing TE37s with diamond cut lip are a spot-on choice in my mind. The fitment was just right too; the body sitting quite low and the Dunlops just clearing the rounded edges of the wheel arches.


I even spotted a bearded Kiwi fellow wandering around the PA. Ex-NZ Performance Car magazine editor Pedey is in Japan with his wife – and fellow Speedhunter – Taryn, and they tagged along to check out Tokyo’s nighttime car scene.


There’s something so right about seeing Japanese wheels fitted to imports, don’t you think? This BMW 335i sedan was rolling on 19-inch RAYS Homura 2X7s.


Call me predictable, but among all the expensive exotica that showed up that night, this is the car I would have taken home given the chance:  an original and unspoiled 964 RS. I bet it’s a lot of fun to throw around the cambered winding turns of the C1.


This is the last 964 Turbo, I promise! I find it hard to resist posting pictures of cool cars riding on BBS LMs. Is there anything these wheels don’t look good on?


Compared to Daikoku, Japanese cars are definitely outnumbered at Tatsumi – well at least on this particular night. As soon as this extremely well cared for AE86 Trueno drove in, I followed it around until it parked so I could grab a decent shot.


The owner of this McLaren 650S convertible is the man behind the Car Guy club – a group of supercar owners from Tokyo that like to cruise the Wangan and surrounding highways in style. You’d be surprised what other awesomeness he owns, but more on that at another time perhaps…


The increased popularity of vinyl wraps in Japan is definitely spawning some interesting creations. Ever heard the saying, ‘It looks so angry it could eat you alive?’ So why not add teeth?

The Mix Never Ends

No matter what meet or event, there is usually at least one Eunos Roaster lurking around. As far as affordable sports cars go, it’s still a very popular choice in Japan and this particular example certainly looked the part with mismatched wheels, a big rear wing and a front lip that had seen a lot of action.


Parked right in front of it was a car that may well be its complete opposite – a Lorinser-kitted Mercedes S-class sitting on massive chrome wheels. Each to their own as they say, but it always surprises me how many of these sort of cars you see cruising the streets of the city. The full aero kit alone is worth almost as much as new Toyota 86!


Everyone in the PA paused when this Rolls-Royce Phantom rolled in, casting a bright glow from its underside. This is opulence personified.


There was light coming from almost every body panel gap, like here around the grille and bonnet. And yes, that is leopard-print vinyl!


Maybe blue sparkle is more your thing? It truly is all up to the imagination…


In this sort of company a stock, bright metallic green Aventador Roadster begins to almost look sedate.


This EP82 Starlet Turbo represented the ’90s beautifully. I loved the Watanabes as well as the oh-so-JDM list of anime studios on the door. Looks aside, I’m sure it was packing some mods under its factory-scooped bonnet.


One of the last cars that caught my eye was this Audi RS4 Avant wrapped in pink vinyl.


I say last because not long after I shot that photo the Police turned up asking everyone to leave. Of course, nobody really cared like they do at Daikoku, mostly because they aren’t able to completely shut down Tatsumi. It was a surprise rain storm that eventually spoiled the fun, and everyone slowly started making their exit. I definitely think I need to return here once my GT-R hits the street again…

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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Yes, you need to take the GT-R there and yes I need to visit Japan, it is hitting me harder and harder these days. Deltas? Miatas? Starlets? Rolls? I mean, any given night? You have a great home Dino.


hey Dino,the MR2 is a spyder.they are rare.but ist not a custom i would say.except the guy choped a MR2 that wasnt a spyder already?


Between 1996 and 1999, Toyota TechnoCraft (TTC) produced 91 MKII SW20 MR2 Spiders. These cars featured a retractable, cloth softtop roof, wingless trunk lid, and an engine lid that was unique to the SW20 spider. Most of these cars were automatics and nearly all of them sported a naturally aspirated engine. Interestingly, Toyota decided against putting its name or logo on these cars as a result of its desire to distance itself from cars that featured leaky roofs. Most of the Spiders came in Lucerne Silver with a blue side moulding and featured black and blue accented cloth seats.
Several of these cars have been imported into the UK.


Why did you not drive your GTR? As you say, money doesn't bring taste.


JakWhite Did you read the article? It's getting work done so is off the road.


Never realized how lame TE37s look on a 911.  

That 458 is awesome.


That starlet didn't have an oh-so-JDM List of brands on the doors those where anime production studio logos.


Kudos for the plate from Torino of the Delta. Sooooo Lancia!


That 458 with the teeth wrap looks so good! Not something that I'd have permanent but for shits-n-giggles it looks gnarly! Always have a soft spot for the turbo Porsches!


3nigm4 JakWhite LOL


SeanStott Couldn't possibly disagree more


@bad_at_usernames Well spotted


There never fails to be such a cool mix of cars at these parking lot events. Extra cool points because they're all genuine street cars.
Definitely a different mix of cars to Daikoku though. Are the surrounding areas...better off?
Those shots with the city skyline in the background are awesome though.
I hope you intend to keep us posted on your GTR's upgrades. ;)




Thanks for showing my Beemer some love, Dino!
Hope it's not the last time :)


speedhunters_dino SeanStott You got to see it first hand, so I believe my impression could be wrong.  I've been swayed before by how pictures look vs. reality ('14 Corvette comes to mind).


TokyoCarGuy Turbo upgrade next?


Hotcakes Well it's closer to the center of the city so I guess it's easier for busy successful guys to take their toys out there. GT-R updates will be coming after the summer :)


Riccardo25 Haha yeah made me laugh


The Delta Integrale we have at work is pearl black instead of pearl white, yet it was originally a Japanese-market car. Don't know if it was part of any special run though.
On that Rolls... I didn't know Liberace was still alive.


@Whoshot Check out my website (click on my screen-name). I started it to help people realize their dream of visiting Japan.


Love the wrap on that Toyota Crown.


Those Porsches look soooo good, well except the Panamera it's trying too hard to look like a 911.


wow! that is an extremely rare Beams MR2 convertible, thats awesome!


Dino, the Audi Avant is not a RS6 but a B5 RS4... Keep up the great work! :)


I love Tatsumi PA! It's something peaceful about it despite the noise, petrol smell and rumble. Typically drop by weekend nights too to get a car fix and clear my head. Too bad about the cops. Last year they rigged up a surprise car inspection there one night and pulled every sports car passing by in for an inspection! Got covered in the media after.

Seems a bit quiet these days. Hope it picks up after the rainy season.


That 964RS is absolutely spot on. I'm with you Dino, that'd be the one car from that lot I'd take home with me.


it's an EP91, not 82.


Dino .. why must I always think of Wangan Midnight when some cool Posts like this come up?
And why the heck is Takumis early AE86 there too ^^ and some early iteration of BlackBird ? :D

There is some thing about this nightly Parkinglot shoots, makes me want to hang out like a bum on those Lots just to inhale the car culture...

Oh and btw i digg that super over the top Phantom.... that thing just screams " In yo face!!"

Nice Pictures Dino :)


Onecton Thanks man, glad you liked it :)


Hak Good man!


tommk Yeah saw that on TV actually. Should be getting livelier now that the summer is here


AbelTan Doh! Of course it is


MidWest_Surfer Ah so that's what it is!


most interesting posts of SH come from these night parking lot meets


Hak and me as well! It's lovely.


speedhunters_dino tommk I was really lucky, I was going to Tatsumi PA earlier that night, but when I got there the police had closed it as they were busy setting up their testing lab. Glad I didn't get there one hour later.


everydayisrallyday Thank you:)


Not to be super picky as I'm sure it was late when you wrote this, but that Lancia isn't red lol


White 964 RS and the Starlet did it for me.


hahaha i was about to think that the police decided to join the show, but they just broke up the show.

that starlet with the anime studio names on its door is interesting, to say the least.  wonder if there was any reason for listing each studio.  :D


MidWest_Surfer hah... did not even know this mr2 was rare...hmnnn...interesting


what happened to cars like stagea's with wild paint jobs hitting the
wangan? do they even exist anymore or is a sign of changing times? i
love the lineup of 'imports.' a lot of hard euro cars! i hope that mr2
has a giant turbo or supercharger or anything hidden in its engine bay
if its going to run the wangan... btw
i love these posts and yes you need to take the gt-r out for more play


speedhunters_dino MidWest_Surfer Look at my post right at the bottom


@d_rav They were all NA


@xanmanae86 Re read the above caption:

In the few minutes that it took me to grab my camera from the back of my car, I missed one more Citroën from this line up...

As well as a cool red Lancia that was parked alongside this particular example.


@Beany wow its kinda like the silvia varietta. i had no idea this type of mr2 even existed. very rare find indeed.


@Beany i was hoping the mr2 had aftermarket parts to keep up with faster cars on the wangan. the convertible mr2 is an interesting find. prior to this, cars used to blast up and down the wangan. i guess these types of meets are used to just showoff cars. im wondering if they are still running up and down the wangan or has this died down?

Alex Somosky Jr

Cool article and sweet photos!  Loved the MR2.  I would LOVE to live in Japan.  What does one have to do to get to live in Japan coming from the USA?


@Beany hahaha


d_rav There are still Stageas around :)


Alex Somosky Jr Find a job that would sponsor you for a visa


Alex Somosky Jr Being totally batsh*t insane can't hurt either. I spent a week in Tokyo a few years back; the place is cool as hell, but remember - when people spout their prejudiced stereotypes about Japanese people? It's pretty much dead on. :P

My understanding is that even if you're the king of the dorks, as a gring^H^H^H^H^Hgaijin you'll have hot women crawling all over you almost instantly, but the flip side is that respect from the business end of things can be tough to get. That means you'd probably want to work with a smaller company that does a lot of business in the West, but that might make it trickier for them to sponsor for a visa. Not sure what that situation is there.

Also, when people talk about Tokyo being expensive, oh my God, you have no freaking idea. Unless you make a boatload of money, you *will* have an apartment that would cramp a micro ATX motherboard.

But the women and the cars... Who needs all that room anyway?


The 458. 



Individuality at it's best .. Keep up the good work


Dino, I know we are talking cars here, but seeing this story I wonder if you didn't feel fear taking photo's of every car there, in the middle of the night? I mean, there aren't any Yakuza guys there? The Rolls looks that is from a mob crew anyway. And why the Police ask them to leave? It is illegal to park in a parking lot in Japan? And why nobody cared about their demands? It is so weird and cool at the same time.


that starlet is a EP91 glanza, not a EP82 GT.

Alex Somosky Jr

perisoft Alex Somosky Jr

Women and Cars!  I'm all in!  I'm half Filipino, love anime and tabletop gaming, all kinds of other nerdy stuff, as well as cars and other manly stuff too.  SO, maybe that'll make me even more attractive to the women?  HAH! :P  All the room I'll need is a passenger seat (and maybe a backseat) to drive all the hot hunnies around in my ride.  :P
Know of anyone or any businesses that I could network with to possibly live out there?


@starletdude speedhunters_dino yep ep91 for sure bruh

Slappy Pistons

Is that not a factory MR Spider?


Great shot, Dino. :D 
It's fun to see many car shot like this, this is the common thing in japan? When many cool car hang out at parking lot or anywhere?

Maybe, sometime you can post about Itasha culture in Speedhunters. I mean, the cool one. Not the stock car with Decal on Prius (Yeah, I'm serious. Why always Prius?)

Thank you.


Impulsive sketch of the second photo. I don't suppose on the off chance that anyone knows those people I can send it to them?


We love your work guys :)
im shering this on JapoWorks.


We love your work guys :)im sharing this on JapoWorks.


Alex Somosky Jr English teaching is still pretty much the best way to get your foot in Japan's door. With that in mind, you can apply for JET which basically takes care of everything you need including a visa and a place to live, or you can look for a small Eikaiwa (language school) to apply at. The latter would require you to find your own place to live among other things while the former can be a bit difficult to successfully apply for. But overall, all you really need is a bachelors degree in literally anything, some places don't even require that. Basically, if you can speak fluent English, you're good. you can continue to be an English teacher, or you can drop the job in 6 months and pick up something else.

You should be aware though that Japan isn't all sunshine and sparkles, in fact it rains pretty heavy here sometimes! There are some downsides especially for a foreigner. I'd advise that you do some research before you drop your things and hop across the Pacific. I, for one, I'm not a fan of Japan's ridiculous work ethic (100+ hour 6 day work weeks, what?!), but at least the food's pretty good. Still cool place to come visit, just be sure that you know you're getting yourself into if you want to live here.


Raphy Cool !


Ahh, so nice. I can't wait to visit Tokyo one day.


Raphy Can i get it in bigger resolution? It would be my next background :)




Is there a way to reach this place without a car ?
Tatsumi metro station is quite close, but is there a way (stairs or something) to climb from the ground to the parking area?