Are you looking for an economical, fun and safe way to really see and experience Japan?
Then you and your traveling companion(s) should be considering a road trip to one of the many off-the-beaten-track areas of Japan that few tourists, Japanese or non-Japanese, have a chance to visit.
The best way to do this, if you don't have your own car or motorcycle in Japan, is by rental car or rental motorcycle from one of the medium-size, nearby cities that will be your starting point. You will be able to get off the expressways onto the local roads where the people live, work, worship, and celebrate. You can see and experience a range of sights from old temples and shrines, to modern art installations, to colorful and memorable local festivals, to UNESCO World Heritage sites, to relaxing Japanese onsens (hot spring baths), to tea ceremonies and beautiful gardens, to local markets, to hiking, cycling, skiing or golf outings, not to mention memorable scenic spots and National Parks. The average speed on most of these roads is only 30-40 kph (about 20-27 mph) so you can experience "slow travel" in a safe, meaningful, and enjoyable way. You aren't going so fast that you miss sites and views along the way, but you are able to slow down even more, pull over and enjoy another unique experience.
Here at the DriveJapan.info website we are continually creating a wide variety of recommended itineraries specifically for driving/riding in Japan's less visited areas. You can select one or more itineraries you like (we recommend you do this "research" part on a desktop computer or tablet rather than a smartphone to better visualize the process and options). You can then save a copy of your chosen itinerary on the website in your own personal account, and then customize "your copy" with accommodations, restaurants, and/or other sites until it is just right for you. After you arrive in Japan you can then use your customized itinerary's routing information with your vehicle's GPS navigation system, as well as on your smartphone or tablet, to have a custom, hassle-free, memorable driving/riding experience.
To begin your adventure we recommend that you find a suitable itinerary for your trip by following three simple steps after clicking the button below.
Note that there is no charge for this service.
In the "Driving in Japan" section you will find more detailed information about what you will need in the way of:
If you are just "browsing" at this point and don't have any firm dates or ideas yet, you can go directly to the Itineraries tab and see all the itineraries on the site. We would also suggest that there are lots of websites, many created by Japanese prefectures and localities, that can give you a good overview of their specific areas and attractions (see some on the Driving in Japan tab). This can help you narrow down your search considerably. As you can imagine the complete list can be overwhelming so please take advantage of the "filters" provided there to limit your search by any combination of month, interest(s) and/or region/prefecture(s). This will produce a more manageable search result tailored for you. Please note that this is still a relatively new website so there are still a lot of prefectures that don't have any itineraries yet. We are working our way through the 47 prefectures based on their popularity, assuming that more visitors will find interesting itineraries in those more popular prefectures. If you have an idea for an itinerary that we haven't posted yet, please let us know and we'll try to put one together for you.