It doesn't matter what night of the week it is, if you head out to Daikoku-futo you are bound to see something satisfying. Daikoku-futo is a man made island nestled in the harbour of Yokohama. Mainly used for the industrial side of Japan it has become famous world wide for its parking area where the trucks stop for a feed or a quick sleep between shifts. Though it has become famous for the car meets here.
If you are a car nut and make it to Tokyo, a visit to Daikoku pa is a must! We have been told that Friday and Saturday nights after 9pm is best, though try your luck you probably won't be disappointed. We had been on a Saturday night and again for lunch on a Sunday and on both occasions we were treated to the real Japanese car culture.
Tip: If you do decide to head out there make sure you have a lift in and out. We have heard of too many stories of people getting stuck there for hours or being dropped off on the outside of the gates stranded, there is no access from outside you must be dropped inside the parking area via the highway straight in (Even get your hotel to organise you a drop off and pick up)
It was quite late Saturday night when we actually decided to head out to the famous parking area, cruising in with over 50 Bosozuko behind us. The Japan night life experience had already begun, see my Boso experience write up >here<
I was like a kid in a candy store pulling into Daikoku, finally finding a parking spot near the sound off vans.
I'm not going to lie, stepping out of our van and into the world of cars, music and neon lights was overwhelming. We first stood high on a gardens edge and just absorbed the atmosphere. A vibe like no other!
Everyone wanted food and headed in to the cafe area while Ash, Benny and myself ran around snapping photos trying to see every car before they left. Some stay for hours, some stay for minutes, quickly driving through to see who else is there.
As the time got even closer to midnight the police were making more of a presence. They were driving through advising people to move on before they start issuing defect notices for cars. It was time for us to leave as we had met up with local mates who had a highly motified car. The night wasn't over just yet and to our satisfaction it was time to go watch some illegal street drifts.
Yep! We were on our way to watch illegal street drifting! I was so excited.
It was past midnight when we arrived at the notorious intersection, it was a cold 6 degrees, we had driven straight to Tokyo after a big day in Fuji and were all tired and ready for bed...
We followed our mates in and were greeted by cars lining the streets, we found our position and parked up waiting for the excitement to begin. Time went on, people had left but more had arrived lining the streets waiting for the locals to turn up and put on a show. A few "drift" cars had arrived and also parked up with their friends, they had obvious rear damage and conveniently also had no number plates...
We were advised by our local friends that no one likes to be the first one, so the waiting game began. Also being a group of 8 gaijin, my camera around my neck, we were told that they may very well be cautious of us and don't trust what we will do with the footage/photos. If caught they face very harsh penalties. So I tried to keep my camera hidden so I'm sorry for the lack of atmosphere photos but I wanted them to start drifting....we even tried to gee Luke up to go throw some backwards doughies in the hire van just to let them know we are one of them....
Also having little miss scarlet bumping the horn a few times may have put them off.
The horn the is the symbol for the police, if you hear horns you run!
It was early hours of the morning when one car started to have some fun one hundred odd meters away from where we were all standing. Linking up a section between two sets of lights but conveniently stopping at the red signal due to the traffic still using the area.
We were told he was warming up.... Well that's all we got to see, within minutes of him breaking traction the red lights came around the corner and the sound of horns echoed through the night. Everyone scrambled back to their cars and took off heading in all directions. My heart raced at this point as we all tried to get a group of 6 adult and a baby in the car and get out of there. Even though we were just gaijin in a van the heart raced with the police presence and drifters scrambling to get out of there. It was quite exhilarating!
Over the mic police were asking people to move on. Here in Australia, with it being one road in, one road out they would have blocked it off and defected/charged every modified car!
We were circulating the block, having lost our mates in the scramble when we entered one road where a police officer was sitting at the set of lights. As we passed him we noticed an unsuspecting drift car without plates come around the corner with no where to go but behind the officer.
This moment will stick with me for life! Not matter what country you're from, drifters respect fellow drifters. Luke had made an illegal turn in our hire van and pulled in behind the police car allowing old mate chaser to tuck in behind us, as the light went green the officer continued on down the road ahead. The guys in the chaser came up along side and gave a big thank you and thumbs up to this van full of gaijin who just saved them from the police.
I wonder what they would have been saying afterwards.
The police circled the industrial area for a while longer to make sure everyone had moved on and were not returning, there was no sign of anyone but local traffic so it was time to go home to bed...
This is definitely something I want to experience properly. But this little snippet of illegal street drifting was all I needed. It does actually happen! People line the streets and wait for drivers to show up and show off. I cannot wait to get back there with my own car and will happily sit quietly to myself all night and wait for them to show up be chased away only to return at a later hour!
Until next time.....
Photography and write up by Jasmynne Tudor