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Exploring the Land of the Rising Sun: Road/Touring Tours in Japan

  • Posted 9 months ago
  • Road/Touring

Japan, often referred to as the “Land of the Rising Sun,” is an intriguing juxtaposition of timeless traditions and cutting-edge modernity. From its sprawling metropolises to its picturesque countryside, this island nation promises a myriad of experiences. For the intrepid traveler, there’s no better way to delve deep into Japan’s heart than to embark on a road or touring tour.

Why Choose Road/Touring Tours?

Japan boasts an efficient and vast public transport network, particularly its famed shinkansen or bullet trains. However, a road/touring tour provides unparalleled freedom to explore at your own pace, detouring through quaint villages, hidden landscapes, and spots that might not be accessible via public transport.

Highlights of a Japanese Road Tour

  1. Hokkaido’s Vast Landscapes: Begin in Japan’s northernmost island. Hokkaido is renowned for its beautiful landscapes, from the flower fields of Furano to the pristine waters of Lake Shikotsu. The relatively lesser traffic makes it a perfect starting point for those new to driving in Japan.
  2. Historic Nikko: Located north of Tokyo, Nikko is a cultural heritage site, home to intricate shrines and the scenic Kegon Falls. Driving through its mountainous terrains and dense forests feels like a journey back in time.
  3. The Japanese Alps: Traverse through the magnificent mountain ranges that span across central Japan. These include the Northern, Central, and Southern Alps. The scenic Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is a must-visit, especially during the snow wall season.
  4. Kyoto’s Arashiyama: While Kyoto itself is a treasure trove of traditional Japanese culture, driving in the Arashiyama area allows you to experience the iconic bamboo groves and serene temples like Tenryu-ji.
  5. Shimanami Kaido: One of the world’s most picturesque cycling routes, it connects Japan’s main island of Honshu to the island of Shikoku. This 60-kilometer-long route comprises of a series of bridges and islands, offering breathtaking views of the Seto Inland Sea.
  6. Okinawa’s Tropical Paradise: Okinawa offers a distinct culture and landscape compared to the rest of Japan. Driving around this tropical paradise feels like a separate journey in itself, with its azure beaches and unique Ryukyuan heritage.

Tips for a Successful Road Tour

  • Know the Rules: While Japan drives on the left side, it’s crucial to familiarize oneself with other local driving rules and etiquette.
  • International Driving Permit: Ensure you have a valid International Driving Permit (IDP) along with your original driver’s license.
  • GPS and Navigation: Most rental cars come equipped with GPS. However, it’s advisable to also have a map application with English translations.
  • Stay Overnight at Ryokans: Enhance your road trip experience by staying at traditional Japanese inns or “ryokans.” They offer an authentic Japanese hospitality experience, including tatami rooms and hot spring baths.
  • Be Mindful of Tolls: Japan’s expressways are toll-based. Ensure you have an ETC (Electronic Toll Collection) card, which can be rented along with your vehicle.

In Conclusion

Japan, with its rich tapestry of landscapes, culture, and history, offers an unrivaled road/touring experience. Whether you’re cruising through Hokkaido’s vast plains or navigating the serpentine roads of the Japanese Alps, each turn brings forth a new adventure, a new story. So, gear up, hit the roads, and let the Land of the Rising Sun unfold its myriad tales!

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