A road journey throughout Japan is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To justify your journey, take use of the country’s swift and efficient train network, which connects all of the country’s major cities. Here’s how you get behind the wheel and see the finest that Japan has to offer – Road Trips in Japan.
Because Japan’s train system is so fantastic, most visitors choose to go by public transportation, and we’re great admirers of it as well. Getting about is a breeze with this quick, efficient, clean, and safe solution. However, there are still some rural regions where four wheels are the best option, with beautiful scenery and smooth roads to enjoy along the way.
Before you go on your road trip, there are a few things you should know.
Driving in Japan is a surprisingly simple process, and renting a car is just as simple. A valid International Driving Permit (IDP) is required for foreigners wishing to rent a car, however this is becoming a standard requirement in most nations.
Typically, all automobiles are categorized and rated based on their size. The Kei (light) choice is excellent for city commuting and short trips, but you wouldn’t want to use any of the expressways in one of these budget-friendly automobiles.
Most road-trip requirements will be met by the Standard Class; if you have the time, you may even plan longer trips of more than a month, as fitting your belongings into the boot will not be an issue. Green vehicles are becoming more popular here as well, while luxury and sports vehicles are available for the ultimate show-offs. If you’re traveling with a family or a bigger party, consider renting a minivan.
What matters most is that you know what to expect. Mountain tracks differ significantly from coastal ones, and having the correct vehicle may enhance the experience. Because Japan’s speed limits are relatively low, many Japanese drivers prefer to take their time, even on expressways.
There are a few of other points to consider. If you’re going to go a long distance, you’ll almost certainly have to utilize a toll road. So have a look at expressway passes and ETC cards to see how they may help you save money and time. Finally, most automobiles come equipped with a navigation system as standard, so make sure it’s set to your preferred language before getting started.
The best road trips in Japan
So you’ve organized your vehicle and are ready to leave, but where should you go? Here are a few of our favorites.
Roller Coaster Road, Hokkaido
It’s worth spending a few days travelling around Japan’s northernmost island. The capital, Sapporo, organizes an annual snow festival and has hosted the Winter Olympics in the past. The undulating roadway in Furano, which has gained the moniker “Roller Coaster Road,” is the finest feature for drivers. All-in-one road trip and theme-park ride!
Kyoto to Tsunoshima
Kyoto, one of Japan’s most popular cultural sites, is the starting point here, where you may spend a few restful nights before heading out on the road. Tsunoshima, an isolated island in the Japan Sea and part of Yamaguchi prefecture, is the ideal location for a short road trip from Kyoto, since the approach from the mainland is a breathtaking bridge over the sea.
Osaka to Chiba
You’ll need to be a fan of urban driving – and probable traffic jams – for this one, but if you time it just right, you’ll have a terrific driving experience through Tokyo’s tunnels. Hit the capital after dark, as the Shuto Expressway’s Bayshore Route transforms into a futuristic playground.
The Wangan route winds its way around Tokyo Bay, passing through extensive tunnels and across bridges. The rest of the journey isn’t as spectacular, but it is a beautiful way to get from Tokyo to Chiba.
Mount Fuji to Mount Aso
Mount Fuji is so well-known that it’s reasonably easy to get by rail or road, but the final objective is Mount Aso, Japan’s most active volcano, which is located on Kyushu, the country’s third biggest island. The route here is beautiful, and there isn’t much in the way of volcanic activity, so you can sit back and enjoy the trip. Take the Mikuni Pass for the greatest views of Mount Fuji, albeit it may be a short detour at the start of your journey.
Hakone Hill Turnpike, Kanagawa
On this steep climb through the forests in Hakone, let your inner boy racer take control. This location, known as a geopark, is located just north of Tokyo and offers a variety of hot springs and relaxing ryokans. You may find yourself traveling through turnpikes along the route. Although the roads are normally calm, you won’t be expected to drift around curves as your tyres light up, it’s still a thrilling experience.