Toyota Times News

New Types of Mobility Taking Off from the Expo Legacy


In the Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park, where the ideals of Honorary Chairman Shoichiro Toyoda live on, new forms of mobility are coming to life. What did the Honorary Chairman leave here, and what is behind the spirit of carrying it on?

The Expo 2005 Aichi Commemorative Park is in Nagakute City, Aichi Prefecture. The Aichi Expo was held in 2005, and the former site is now a park where new types of mobility are taking off.

One is the e-Palette, which carried out demonstration tests carrying park visitors from January to February this year. The concept of a BEV driving through the park is to give people a futuristic transportation experience. What sort of scenery does Yuta Tomikawa see when he tries it out?

Another is modeled on the iconic cat bus from the film My Neighbor Totoro. It’s a low-speed, short-distance BEV called “APM (Accessible People Mover) Cat Bus.” We hear from the development team about their difficulties and motivations.

APM Cat Buses will begin operating on March 16. Watch this video to prepare before experiencing the real thing at the park!

Honorary Chairman Shoichiro Toyoda was also the Chairman of the Expo Association for the Aichi Expo. He insisted on using the original park’s natural environment to build the venue. We look at this legacy as it remains today and reflect on the ideals he built into the Expo.

The Honorary Chairman, local government, and everyone preserved this nature that is now showing a new face.

That new face is Ghibli Park, which opened in November 2022. There are several facilities based on famous films like My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke, which were built to maintain harmony with the natural surroundings. Director Goro Miyazaki from Studio Ghibli shows us around.

“If they had cut down everything in the mountains and forests, we wouldn't have this now,” Miyazaki says. See his sense of fun seen throughout the park and his attitude toward nature in the video.

In the second half, we cover a ceremony in Toyota City to honor the lifetime achievements of Honorary Chairman Shoichiro’s father, Kiichiro. Chairman Akio attends as the representative of the Toyoda family and speaks to the children who will take on the future.