Dropping in at an automobile factory might not be everyone's idea of holiday fun, but a Toyota Plant Tour makes all those dry books about kaizen (improvement) and the Japanese postwar economic miracle come to life. The tour starts at the Toyota Kaikan トヨタ会館 (Toyota Exhibition Hall), with impressive exhibits on environmentally friendly technology, safety, and motor sports. Then a bus whisks you to one of several giant factories in the vicinity, where a guide takes you around the main welding and assembly shops—hives of modern manufacturing activity where man and machine operate as one. English guides are available for the two-hour tour. The Kaikan is about 90 minutes from Nagoya Station. Take the JR Tokaido Line Rapid service to Okazaki Station, then the Aichi Kanjo local service to Mikawa-Toyota Station, from where it's a 15-minute walk or 5-minute taxi to the Kaikan. At Okazaki, be sure to get on one of the front two carriages of the Aichi Kanjo Line; only these carriages go as far as Toyota-Mikawa. Reserve tours at least two weeks in advance, and arrive a half hour early.