If you claim to be a Subaru enthusiast, I highly suggest visiting Mitaka Subaru if you get the chance.
When I traveled across Japan in 2017, visiting the Mitaka Subaru dealership and museum was at the very top of my list. I had read stories on forums about how the STI museum is hard to find and that if you did manage to find it, you could get up close and personal with a 22B and other legendary Subaru rally cars.
Mitaka Subaru was well worth the journey but it was not easy to find. I gave our taxi driver the address and despite this, he dropped us off several blocks away. We traversed through several small Japanese neighborhoods before we reached the back side of the facility.
If you are a Subaru enthusiast like me, you should visit Mitaka Subaru if you get the chance. It is the home of Subaru Tecnica International (STI) and a beautiful STI gallery.
And although you can’t see it, behind the closed doors of Mitaka is where they keep the performance secrets and future of STI. The facility is located at 9-6, Osawa 3-chome, Mitaka City, Tokyo (Google Maps link)
When I visited Mitaka Subaru They Had An Original 22B STI
The Subaru 22B STI is a car that JDM fanboys dream about. In 1998 Subaru released the widebody WRX STI Impreza coupe and named it the 22B. The 22B was a limited production run. Only 400 22Bs were built, and all Japanese units sold out in 48 hours. There were also 24 22B STIs made for export markets (16 for the UK, 5 for Australia, & 3 prototypes). Which means there are only 424 22Bs in the world. I can proudly say I have seen two. One at Mitaka Subaru and one at Rocky Mountain Subaru Festival in Colorado.
The 22B was special because it commemorated the company’s 40th anniversary. Subaru was dominating the WRC at the time. They had just received their third consecutive manufacturer’s title in the FIA World Rally Championship.
The 22B’s engine is a 2.2-liter turbocharged flat-four engine (EJ22 engine). In its stock form, the engine produces 276 hp. Additionally, the 22B featured STI brakes, wide fenders, a large rear wing, Bilstein suspension, 17x8.5″ gold BBS wheels and a sintered twin plate clutch with a ceramic disk. The curb weight of the 22B is a fair 2,800 lbs.
Colin McRae & Nicky Grist’s 1998 Rally Car
This 1998 Subaru rally car was on display at Mitaka Subaru when I visited. The car was driven by Colin McRae and Nicky Grist at Sanremo, where they finished in 3rd place. 1998 was McRae’s last year racing the R14 WRC for Subaru.
Colin McRae was a very well known British rally driver. He drove for Subaru for several years and won them the World Rally Championships in 1995, 1996, and 1997. Colin drove his Subaru rally cars to the limit and is famous for saying “If in doubt, flat out”.
Colin’s younger brother, Alister McRae continues to represent the McRae name in motorsport events around the world.
Petter Solberg’s 2008 Subaru Rally Car
Petter Solberg raced for Subaru in the WRC from 2000 up until 2008 when Subaru exited the WRC scene. In his career, he claimed 13 rally wins and stood on the podium 52 times. Petter’s son, Oliver Solberg now races rally cars and is shaping up to be quite the driver.
The WRX S4 tS
In the showroom at Mitaka Subaru was a Brand new at the time WRX STI tS with the NBR Challenge Package. NBR referring to the Nurburgring. The tS features a small HP bump (to 296 BHP and 295 TQ) and a nice STI carbon-fiber rear spoiler.
The STI Gallery Includes Art And Information About The Brand’s Heritage
The first floor is basically a normal Subaru dealership. There is a showroom featuring Subarus latest models like the Forester and Outback. There is also a small gift shop. The second floor is where you will find all the STI goodness. When I visited there were a total of 4 cars on display in the STI section. (the ones featured above)
Along the wall of the showroom, you will find information about Subaru’s racing history. You can see trophies from some of Subaru most famous wins (World Rally Championships, Super GT, and the Nurburgring 24 Hours).
The GT300 EJ20 engine is displayed in the Mitaka Subaru STI showroom. The same engine is used in the Super GT BRZ cars.
I visited Mitaka Subaru on the one free day I had in Tokyo. My Fiance and I took a guided tour across both Japan and China in 2017. Most of the trip was pre-planned, which is great for seeing the most amount of sights for your time. I chose to use my free day in Tokyo for finding and exploring the Mitaka Subaru dealership.
When we finally found the facility (it’s about an hour from downtown Tokyo) they informed me that the STI museum was closed for the day. I explained that I was a Subaru enthusiast from Virginia and that I had traveled a long distance to see the collection of cars on the second floor.
After I pleaded my case they let us go up the stairs to the STI showroom! Since it was originally closed, we had the whole showroom to ourselves. This made for some great photo opportunities.
If you decide to visit Mitaka Subaru, check the STI website for their availability and current lineup in the STI gallery. Google Chrome has a built-in translate feature if you would like to read the site in English. As of 2019, the current lineup includes an Impreza 22B STI version 1, Impreza 555, Impreza WRC 2007, Impreza WRC 2008, and Legacy RS 555 (New Zealand, 1993).
Mitaka Subaru Had No Shortage Of Levorgs And Levorg STIs
The Levorg is a beautiful wagon introduced in 2014 by Subaru. Levorg is a blend of the words LEgacy, reVOlution, and touRinG.
Subaru sells the Levorg in Japan and Europe, but unfortunately not in America. That’s a huge bummer, but it was cool to see them all over Japan.
Subaru also sells an STI version of the Levorg. I would buy/drive a Levorg STI in a heartbeat. Personally, I think they look really good. Subaru should definitely bring an STI wagon back to the US market!
While I was visiting Mitaka Subaru, a world rally blue Levorg STI was being loaded onto a delivery truck right outside.
To My Delight, There Was A Bugeye Sedan Right Out Front
My bugeye WRX is a wagon, but it was still super cool to see a very similar version of my Subaru in the parking lot in front of Mitaka Subaru. If you are unfamiliar with Subaru lingo, bugeye describes the round headlights of the USDM Impreza from 2002 to 2003. (outside of the US, 2001 to 2002)
A Video From The Mitaka Subaru Museum
In the video, you will see references to Steemit. I originally wrote a post on my Steemit blog about my visit to Mitaka Subaru after I returned from traveling to Japan and China. Steemit is a blogging platform like Medium, but with cryptocurrency rewards. All data on the platform is stored on the STEEM blockchain. You can check out my personal blog on Steemit in addition to Motor Speed News.
More Japan Adventures
I plan to return to Japan. I had an amazing experience, but I didn’t get my fill of JDM and Japanese car culture. My trip focused on the big travel attractions like shrines and castles and I managed to squeeze in one car-related visit. When I return, I would like to visit the Fuji Heavy Industries manufacturing facility in Gunma Prefecture. The Gunma Plant produces over 900 Subarus per day and is the only plant responsible for production and assembly of STIs. It would also be super cool to attend a meetup or a car show held by local car enthusiasts.
Visiting Mitaka Subaru was the highlight of my Japan travels in 2017. My only regret was that I didn’t stick around a little bit longer. I could have taken a few more pictures. I highly recommend stopping by if you are traveling through Tokyo!
Follow Motor Speed News on Instagram for more pictures of the cars and gallery at Mitaka Subaru.
Founder and writer for Motor Speed News. Current garage: 02 WRX, 05 Toyota Tundra, 86 Yamaha Virago XV1100