Yokohama Sunset, Wangan Sunrise: A Crazy Night in Japan

It was a Saturday night in Yokohama, Japan. We were in the popular Minato Mirai district, which is home to some of the most beautiful waterfront space in the country. A massive Ferris wheel displayed its colorful lights and the nearby Landmark Tower reached into the sky.

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Ferris Wheel

We weren’t there for tourist spots, though. Our destination was a parking lot set in the middle of all this—one that happens to be the site of one of the most unique and diverse cruise nights anywhere.

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night GT-S

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night

Known as the Kalifornia Look Cruise Night, these bi-monthly meetings have been going on for a few years now. The man behind it is local Yokohama gearhead and photographer Manbu "KaliforniaLook" Kanda, owner of the gorgeous Volkswagen Beetle you see below.

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Beetles

What started out as a small gathering between Kanda-san and his friends has turned into quite a popular meet that draws cars from Yokohama, Tokyo and beyond.

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Scion

Mooneyes Area 1

The night began at the nearby Mooneyes Area 1 in Honmoku where we gathered with Kanda-san and crew, before enjoying some tasty and authentic burgers at the Moon Cafe restaurant. The kind that are good enough to make you forget you are actually in Japan.

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Yellow

An eclectic mix of cars had gathered at Area 1, and before we knew it, it was time to fire up the machines and head towards Minato Mirai where the cruise night was to officially begin.

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Lineup

Huge Diversity

Our parade of cars was quite diverse, featuring everything from modified VWs to slammed lead sleds and serious drift cars owned by the guys from Team Free's.

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Driving

It's that diversity of cars that makes these cruise night events so unique and enjoyable. When we arrived at Minato Mirai a short time later, the parking lot was already full of a very cool mix of machines.

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Driving Outside

While Kanda-san is a serious air-cooled VW fan, he loves and appreciates all sorts of cars, and the same goes for most of the people that come out to the cruise nights. It's the kind of place where you'll find modified, track-ready Hondas...

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Lineup White

...parked just down the way from a chopped and slammed Shoebox Ford. 

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Shoebox Ford

It seems that you can never go far without finding some lowriders in Japan, and needless to say there was a big turnout of them on this Saturday night.

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Lowrider

If your tastes lean a little bit more to the performance side of things, you will dig this S130 Fairlady Z in full drag trim and looking quite mean.

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Z

Classics Abound

The Z was just one of many vintage Japanese cars to make the drive out that night. The group also included several Nissan Sunnys, like this pair of modified B210s.

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Sunny

There were also some really cool homebuilt machines that came out to enjoy the evening, including this 1962 Toyota Crown that made the long trip all the way from Hamamatsu Prefecture.

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Toyota Crown

While we dig the look of the stock body that's been dumped to the ground, things get even cooler when you look under the hood and see the LT1 Chevy V8 that's been wedged under there.

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Toyota Crown Engine

Equally cool was this V36 Skyline sedan from Team Free's, which looks rather mild on the outside...

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night V36 Skyline

...but has actually had its factory equipped 2.5L V6 swapped out for a single turbo RB straight six that's making over 500hp. Rad.

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night RB

Another one of our favorites was this Z10 chassis Toyota Soarer, which has been built as a very authentic replica of the car featured in the cult classic comic book series and film "Shakotan Boogie."

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Toyota Soarer

Before we knew it, Saturday night had turned to Sunday morning, and slowly, the crowd of cars had begun to thin out. However, the fun wasn't quite over yet.

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Truck

To the Afterparty

By the time we left Minato Mirai, it was already nearing 2:00 a.m. After bringing the official cruise to a close, we decided to hop on the expressway and head over to Daikoku Parking Area to see if there was anything going on over there.

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Purple

The police had actually closed down the popular meeting spot earlier in the night as they are apt to do, but by this hour the parking area had just reopened. It was a bit surreal that our small group of cars were the only ones in the entire place.

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Red

After enjoying a can of coffee from the Daikoku vending machines, we said goodbye to the Team Free's guys and made our way to down the Wangan expressway back toward Tokyo, but not before one more stop.

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Blue

Last Stop Before Sunrise

It was 3:30 a.m. by the time we arrived at Tatsumi Parking area in Tokyo, and not surprisingly, it was pretty quiet. However, the cars there were all business. It was like real life "Wangan Midnight," except this was getting closer to "Wangan Sunrise."

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Yellow Porsche

We enjoyed the show for a bit and eventually made it back to our lodgings in Tokyo just in time to see the sun beginning to rise in the east.

Kalifornia Look Cruise Night Parked Together

It was a perfect end to a wild night that took us all around Tokyo Bay and included the low, the slow, the fast, the crazy and everything in between. We can't wait to get back for more fun.

Want to see more Japanese car culture? We found out how they do the popular Cars and Coffee!

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