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The ultimate road trip in Japan


Japan is slowly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Millions of visitors come each year to set their sights on its gorgeous scenery, bask in its unique and diverse culture, and meet some of its fascinatingly wonderful people.

Going on a road trip gives you a sense of freedom like no other, and Japan has some of the most scenic roads you could ever drive on. So if you’re planning on taking a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun anytime soon, here is our guide to making an exciting road trip!

Start at Kanazawa…

A great place to start your journey will be the city region of Kanazawa on the Central East coast. Here you’ll get the chance to see some beautiful traditional Japenese architecture within the city center, and then you can even venture out to visit some remote villages to see how Japan’s rural populations live outside of the capital.

The ultimate road trip in Japan

Then travel to Gokayama…

On the way to Gokayama, you can stop off at some marvelous scenic sites including forest trekking trails, waterfalls, and stunning mountainous viewpoints. Once you have reached Gokayama, you’ll see why it has been selected as a National Heritage site. The scope of its gassho-style houses is breathtakingly picturesque, and the culture there is built around some interesting ancient traditions.

Next, go to Ainokura….

This quaint village is known for its thatched houses and beautiful dense forests that surround. It’s like a place from a magical movie. Here you can wander around Ainokura and take in its majestic beauty. Fog is known to frequently cover the village, which makes it feel all the more fairy-tale like.

After this go to Kamikochi…

To get to Kamikochi, winding roads that run along the Azusa River will offer you some of the most impressive views you’ll find in the whole of Japan. Once you’ve reached Kamikochi, take a look around the peace and quiet of the resort which offers a look at some of Japan’s wonderful wildlife, more fantastic hiking trails and great souvenir shops. The resort itself is only accessible by public transport so you’ll need to park up and hitch a ride in.

Then drive to Karuizawa…

Next, you need to drive to the upmarket mountainous resort that is Karuizawa. It’s a place like no other. It offers a whole host of things to do, including cycling and walking paths, recreational activities such as golfing, and cultural hotspots such as museums and temples. On top of this, there is an abundance of great bars, restaurants, and shops to explore too. The resort is also popular in winter time with skiing slopes and hot springs on offer.

Finally, get yourself to Tokyo!

On your way to Tokyo, you’ll pass the volcano of Mount Yakedake, so stop off and take a few minutes to bask in the enormity of it. Keep driving, and you’ll finally get to the city of Tokyo. This city is like no other city on earth, offering a mix of both ultra-modern city skyscrapers and intimate religious temples. Make sure you see it all!

The ultimate road trip in Japan

Although there are the top tourist destinations to visit across the country – like the colorful lights of Tokyo city or the views from the slopes of Mount Fuji – we suggest getting in the car to make sure you see it all!