By the time our Japan cruise had reached Yokohama, I was in need of some modern Japan. I’d seen many beautiful temples and palaces, cherry blossom and gardens but not much of the modern Japan. When I read about a 60 foot tall moving robot, I just had to see it!
My original plan was to go down to the Gundam Factory just a few piers over from where our cruise ship the Silver Muse was parked, grab a few snaps and head into town. However, I was not the first to have such a cunning plan because the surrounding walls were just too high to see anything.
I happily paid for my ticket not really knowing what I was getting. I ticked all the boxes and wandered into what looked like a giant parking lot. And there in front of me was a giant robot – 60 foot tall – surrounded by a gantry that wouldn’t be out of place on a Shuttle launch. Time to take some pictures.
The story of Gandam is not one I really knew. I had hear do the name and I understood that it was some sort of giant anime robot, but that was all. I later found out that Gundam is a science fiction media franchise that originated from a Japanese anime television series, which first aired in 1979. The series features gigantic humanoid military robots, known as ‘Mobile Suits,’ with the titular ‘Gundam’ being a unique and exceptionally powerful model. Similar robots like the Jaegers from Guillermo del Toro’s 1993 Pacific Rim will have taken inspiration from this.
So I stood around not really knowing what was going to happen. But a voice came over the speakers and the gantry started to move. Steam poured out, lights game on and Gundam started to move. Slowly but surely it came out from the Gantry, raised it’s arm, moved it’s fist and knelt – all whilst some back story was played across the speakers. I still couldn’t tell you what the story was, but it was a great spectacle.
Lasting about 10 minutes the performance was one of a few routines the Gundam performs every hour. Surrounding the factory complex was more museum and merchandise options that I skipped to head back into the city.
My time with Gundam was over, but I had definitely found some modern Japan!
How to find the Gundam Factory in Yokohama
You can find the Gundam Factory down near the cruise terminal. 279-25 Yamashitacho, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa 231-0023, Japan.