Japan is an incredible East Asian country, surrounded by Pacific Ocean. The dramatic landscapes of the country is a result of its geographical location. The volcanic mountains, unique forests, ocean, karst, grasslands, rocky terrains, everything together constitutes the amazing landscape of this ‘land of rising Sun’. And the best way to explore its natural vistas is by taking a Japan road trip through some of its most splectacular routes.
Top 10 Routes For Japan Road Trips
Here are the 10 most popular routes for Japan road trips that you must surely explore on your next vacation in the island nation.
1. Roller Coaster Road, Hokkaido
Hokkaido has one of the most bizarre routes for Japan road trips. No doubt, this Northernmost island of the country has an abundance of charming natural views. But it is also home to one of the most strangest roads in the world. The ‘Roller Coaster Road’ located in the Furano city of Hokkaido totally lives up to its name. The 2.5-kilometer long road has several steep up and down slopes. Enjoy this
2. Metasequoia Tree Road, Shiga
Metasequoia Tree Road is a picturesque route in the Shiga Prefecture of Japan. The 2.4-kilometer long stretch of the road is lines with 500 Sequoia trees. The average height of each tree is about 35-meters. Driving through this shaded road is a blissful experience. The visual effect of the drive varies depending on the season you are taking this road trip. You would see lush green Sequoias if you are traveling during Spring or Summer seasons. And the Autumn or Winter makes the tree leaves turn spectacularly golden.
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3. Tsunoshima Bridge, Yamaguchi
Tsunoshima Bridge is a great example of architectural advancements. Take this one of the most thrilling Japan road trips and drive over the ocean. This bridge is constructed to link the mainland and a mini remote island in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Driving on this 1,780-meter long bridge is a rare experience for sure. But the excitement doesn’t end there. The gorgeous island on the other side awaits you with its white sand beaches and azure water for an exotic tour.
4. Chirihama Nagisa Driveway, Ishikawa
Japan is home to some of the most surprising experiences. And now that we exploring the best Japan road trips, Chirihama Nagisa Driveway will add some amazement to the list. This is your rarest chance to drive along a seashore. Chirihama Nagisa Driveway is world’s one of the only 3 public driveways on the beach. And this is the only one in Japan. This is an 8-kilometer long road that runs on the beach.
5. Venus Line, Nagano
Venus Line offers opportunities for one of the most romantic Japan road trips. The drive passes through the vast and green highlands of Nagano Prefecture. Connecting Chino to the Utsukushi Ga Hara, this 70-kilometer long road will make you high on superb views of nature and unlimited fresh air. Drive along the Venus Line with your partner or a bunch of your favourite friends.
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6. Izu Skyline, Shizuoka
Izu Skyline promises one of the most thrilling Japan road trips. This 40.6 km long toll road in Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture does give you the best skyline views of the surroundings. Running from South to North of the region, a drive through it will stun you with the spellbinding views of the iconic Mount Fuji, along with other mountains, the highlands and Sagami Bay coast line.
7. Patchwork Road, Biei
Biei is one of the most scenic locations in Japan. Situated in the heart of Hokkaido, this tiny town is blessed with abundant natural beauty. Your driving route will pass through lush green crop fields and hills. This place has attracted several commercial ad agencies and is a popular shooting location in Japan. If you are planning to take a drive through the Patchwork Road in Biei, the best time is summer. This is the time when you would see the real “patchwork” on the fields, done with a variety of crops.
8. Aso, Kumamoto
This is one of the most unbelievably stunning Japan road trips. Aso is a city in Kumamoto Prefecture, located on Kyushu Island. Driving in this region takes you through the mind-blowing landscapes, including the lush greenery and the volcanic mountains. Kyushu is the third largest island in Japan. It home to the active Mount Nakadake Volcano and the largest caldera in the world. During the drive, you can stop to take a dip in the natural hot springs and visit the Nakadake Crater during the lower risk times.
9. Shikoku Karst, Ehime & Kochi
Located in the Shikoku region of Japan, Shikoku Karst is the biggest karst in the country. ‘Karst’ refers to a kind of topography which has been formed as a result of dissolving of soluble rocks. It is generally limestone, gypsum or dolomite rock. This happens over a period of many years and leads to the creation of dramatic rock formations. The Shikoku Karst is spread across the Ehime and Kochi Prefectures of Indonesia. The driving road along this region is located at an altitude ranging from 1,200 to 1,400 meters. Through this breathtaking Japan road trip, you will witness some exclusive views of mountains ranges and grasslands.
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10. Bandai-Azuma Skyline, Fukushima
The average altitude of Bandai-Azuma Skyline in Fukushima is 1,350 meters above the sea level. The perks of driving at this height are the mind-blowing scenic views of the surrounding. And in this case, it not just mountains, but the famous volcanic mountain, Azuma. Mount Azuma-Kofuji is an active volcano in Fukushima Prefecture and Yamagata Prefecture of Japan. The term, ‘Kofuji’ refers to its shape that resembles Mount Fuji. The best time to take this one of the most fascinating Japan road trips is during Autumn to witness the charming Bandai-Azuma skyline.
Has taking a road trip with your partner, friends or family always been on your wishlist? The above-listed routes ensure absoluetly unique and splendid experiences. So, plan a trip to Japan and explore this wonderful country with your loved ones. Also, use this chance to take all these Japan road trips.
Frequently Asked Questions About Japan Road Trips
A. Yes, tourists can drive in Japan if they have the proper legal documents and permits for the same. Otherwise, driving in Japan can be quite complicated and expensive. Tourists without a legal license can face legal actions like fines, get arrested, and even deported. Tourists need an International Driving Permit to drive in Japan. Americans with only a U.S. driver’s license cannot drive in Japan.
A. Yes, it is absolutely safe to rent a car and drive around in Japan with the proper permits for driving with an international license. To facilitate one-way road trips, rental companies in Japan also allow you to return the vehicle at a different branch.
One would, however, not require to rent a car, especially in Tokyo, because the city is well connected through trains & buses. These means of transportation are considered to be safe, quick, and cheap.
A. No, driving in Japan is quite simple. The driver’s seat and the steering wheel are on the right side and the cars drive on the left side of the road. Traffic rules and road signs follow international standards.
A. You need about 5 to 6 days to fully explore Japan. Out of these, it is advised to spend 2 to 3 days in Tokyo and the rest of the days in other destinations.
A. It would cost you around $100 USD per day per person for hotel accommodation, food, purchasing a rail pass, and visiting a few local attractions. You can, however, save money by staying like a local in Japan.
A. Summer months are the most popular for visiting Japan. However, the cheapest months are the winter months – from mid-January until March when the weather is cold & dry.
A. You should not visit Japan from June to August as that is the time of monsoon season and you may encounter torrential rains.
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