We take a trip to the land of the rising sun, to bring you the legendary hot rod custom show in Yokohama Japan.

Words by Tony Matthews

Photography by Tony & Carmen Matthews

Japan is one of the most amazing and unique countries when it comes to many things, especially in the car culture lifestyle. They have a varied mix of custom car and motorcycle culture, that is heavily adapted from the USA car culture, especially from the West Coast. There love for that classic vintage hot rod lifestyle has them hooked and they build some of the best we have seen from our global travels.

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Having said that, they do have add their own twists to the customisations their make and they also have their own style entirely. Just search up Dekatora trucks and Boso style cars and you will see what we mean.

For us, this is our fourth trip to Tokyo and this time we had to make our travel plans work so that we could visit and capture the epicness of the Custom Hot Rod Show in Yokohama, hosted by the owner of Mooneyes Japan Shige.

We had heard and seen that this was one of the not to be missed car events from around the world and having now witnessed it, we can truly say that it is one of the best car shows we have been to. Not only in the high quality of the rides on display, but also when it came to the organizing, the displays, hospitality and sheer attention to detail.

The event is held at the Pacifico exhibition hall at Yokohama bay area and is in one large hall. From both ends of the hall are the custom and vintage motorcycle displays along side the cool lifestyle stalls and in the middle, you will find all the custom cars, vans and trucks.

This year, Mooneyes along with Vans sneakers and Steve Barello pro skateboarder, created some super cool limited edition vans sneakers, which as soon as the show was open, the line to buy them was super long! But they were worth the wait for sure!

One of the cool aspects of the show, is that Mooneyes help car and motorcycle owners with cool projects, to bring their cars over for the show on containers. This means that projects from the USA come all the way to Japan, how cool is that! And as they are special guests, at 9am on the day of the show, there is a parade of the rides rolling into the show, a very cool touch indeed.

Throughout the day, there were signing of autographs, artists selling their incredible art work, live bands on stage and at the end, prize giving to some of the best from the show. We will be bringing you more from the show and some of the rides on show, over the coming months as we take a tour of Japan to track them down and bring you their stories.