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Photo #58 – Japan’s European Car Invasion

Smart Car in Kyoto, Japan parked in front of the Kyoto Art Zone

Episode 5 of the Savage Japan Podcast, the racism episode, was recorded at the nearby Kyoto International Community Center shortly before this photo was taken. Episode 5 with its difficult subject matter is proving to be a tough episode to crank out. The current target date for availability is Friday, September 10th. You can hear previous episodes of the Savage Japan Podcast at SavageJapan.com or SavageSnowPodcast.com.


Though Japanese automakers certainly make plenty of in demand, small cars in Japan, it is interesting for me as an American, to see the variety of tiny world cars being driven here.

In the US, I have never once seen one of these mini Smart Cars made by a division of the Mercedes-Benz company, even though they’ve been sold all over the world for many years. Admittedly, I live in a high alpine, very snowy environment when I’m in the US, not well suited for cars this small and with only 3 cylinders, but it is also true that the world’s long ago transition to smaller cars is not a bandwagon the US has been eager to jump on.

I see these little Smarts and many other new and old European tiny cars mixed in with Japanese domestically produced small vehicles every day in Kyoto.

Photo Details: After being prevented from entering an International Food Festival at the Kyoto International Community House because I was not Japanese, I enjoyed myself by biking around the interesting streets of Gion and just west of the Kamogawa River. This clean yellow Smart Car parked in front of the Kyoto Art Zone was begging to be photographed. I need to stop in there during open hours one day and figure out what kinds of things go on in the Art Zone’s Art Project Room. It appeared as if the Art Zone was a gallery, but it was in transition on this particular night.
 This photo was taken just south of Sanjo Dori between Kawaramachi and Kiyamachi, quite close to Pontocho.

Japan Photo Journal – Living in Japan
Dan Savage [Email]

Grab anywhere on map to scroll around precise spot where above photo was taken. Zoom in & out with buttons in left corner. To learn more about geotagging your own photos, visit LearningtoGeotag.com.

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