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Travel the country by car?

A N
Bangkok, Thailand
3 posts
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Travel the country by car?

Hey I am going to Japan in August and I haven't booked my return ticket yet. As everyone knows this seems to be one of the most expensive countries for traveling in Asia and I've read that it is everything but cheap to take planes/busses/taxis for getting around.

I love driving and I would love to do such a trip as I did it in Scandinavia:

driving, driving, driving; sleeping in the car, tent or hotel; driving; driving

because I really like to travel individually.

Has anyone of you done something like this before and do you recommend it or would you say that this isn't the best idea at all?

Can you recommend any car rentals? I've been comparing some and so far it looks like renting a car in Japan is wayyyy more expensive than in e.g. US.

Is there any website suggesting a possible route to go by car? So far I know NOTHING about this country.

Thanks a lot for your answers, Alex

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Cary
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1. Re: Travel the country by car?

It depends on where you are going, but for a lot of places, driving is not recommend between traffic, parking fees, tolls... Besides, Japan has some of the best, if not the best, public transportation in the world. Train is really most convenient for most places. When you are out in the country side, driving gets much easier and sometimes recommended.

In any case, your new best friend should be japan-guide.com to learn about the country and where you want to go, then you can decide how you should travel. Here is more information about driving in Japan:

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2022.html

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A N
Bangkok, Thailand
3 posts
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2. Re: Travel the country by car?

Hey, thanks for your answer. I forgot to mention that I, of course, would to the major cities by train, but I want to go to landscape stuff/mountains on my own.

Thanks also for the link, interesting read.

Queenstown, New...
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3. Re: Travel the country by car?

How long are you planning to be in Japan for?

Most people generally do Tokyo - Kyoto- Osaka, with possible side trip to Takayama or Nagano areas. These are all easily accessible and doable by public transport.

I wouldn't particularly recommend you driving in Japan seeing, as you admitted, you know 'nothing' about the country. Roads are narrow, signs are in japanese kanji (many are in english, but it's a huge difference being able to read the japanese), road rules and ettiquite are unique.

If you must though, I'd recommend catching the train through to Maibara or Gifu City, getting a rental car from there and driving north into the mountains up to Takayama/ Shirakawa-go. Lovely areas through there.

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Tokyo
Tokyo
Tokyo Prefecture, Japan
Kyoto
Kyoto
Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Osaka
Osaka
Osaka Prefecture, Japan
Takayama
Takayama
Gifu Prefecture, Japan
Nagano
Nagano
Nagano Prefecture, Japan
Maibara
Maibara
Shiga Prefecture, Japan
Gifu
Gifu
Gifu Prefecture, Japan
Shirakawa
Shirakawa
Fukushima Prefecture, Japan
San Francisco...
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4. Re: Travel the country by car?

If you're going to enough big cities to justify buying a Japan Rail Pass, the economics change. You should compare the additional cost to get a longer Rail Pass vs. the cost of a rental car for those days when you'll be going to smaller towns. Check www.hyperdia.com for rail service to those small towns; you'll be surprised at how many places you can go by rail in Japan. And check the costs of parking and highway tolls; they can be costly in Japan.

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5. Re: Travel the country by car?

I'd only recommend car for specific regions including: Hokkaido & Tohoku in warmer months, Western Japan ( Yamaguchi-ken, northern & eastern Hiroshima prefecture, & Shimane); parts of Kyushu; Noto Peninsula, and a few other less visited areas in mountainous regions.

Do some more research and make a short list of places of interest.

You'll need to be cashed up to hire a car - fuel prices are high and so are tolls. You'll likely find a Japan Rail Pass works fine and allows you to be independant & go wherever you want on a whim the length and breadth of Japan.

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Tohoku
Tohoku
Japan
Yamaguchi
Yamaguchi
Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan
Shimane Prefecture
Shimane Prefecture
Chugoku, Japan
Noto Peninsula
Noto Peninsula
45 Reviews
Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan
6. Re: Travel the country by car?

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