I’m spending a couple of days in a fairly new subdivision on the outskirts of a large Japanese city. It was carved out of a mountain side about eight years ago.
Most people in this neighbourhood drive to work downtown, about 30 minutes on the local expressway network, which BTW is largely toll roads. It costs about 400 yen each way in tolls.
Every house has one or two cars, and so this is about as car centric as things get in Japan. The variety of cars available is much wider than in North America.
There are a lot of competitors in the mini minivan segment. This is a pimped out Toyota Estima, since is much smaller than the Sienna. It is available in a hybrid version, but I suspect from the aero kit, the low profile rubber, and the Brembo brakes that this particular number is not the hybrid.
This is the JDM Odyssey. I really liked this car when I first saw it about five years ago, but it is beginning to look a little dated when compared to more recent work like the slightly smaller Honda Stream.
Once of the things that I really liked about this neighbourhood is this walkway for kids to go to school. It gives pedestrians and cyclists and not cars a straight route. What a concept! You can also see that the developers had different builders make houses here so the housing stock is quite diverse in design.
I was taking these pictures around 8 am, just as the rush of students started.
These kids were readily identifiable as elementary school students from their distinctive backpacks. There is a new school built just for this subdivision.
There is also a limited amount of retail zoned into the periphery of development. What I found interesting was that there were not just strip mall like features on the major streets, but there were also a few houses with ground floor retail a block in from the arterials. One of them was a bakery, and I just had to share a few pictures of their handiwork.
No idea how to get this one home without breaking it.
BTW if you want equally yummy treats in Toronto (if not quite so Baroque) Patisserie 27 at Jane and Annette is terrific.
One of the issues about these development is the built in obsolescence. The buyers all come in at the same time, many have kids at about the same age, and as the population ages, the school enrollment eventually drops. Older versions of this neighbourhood are filled with older people, and there is no turnover as people who are attracted to suburban style living always want something new. Of course the supply of new land is highly constrained, so sprawl doesn’t spread as fast as in NA, but the larger number of the older developments is starting to become a problem.