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Road Trips in Japan

Japan is a country full of fascinating cultural, historical, and natural attractions, and one of the best ways to explore it is by taking a road trip. Here are some compelling reasons why you should consider embarking on a road trip adventure in Japan.

First and foremost, road trips allow you to have complete freedom and flexibility in your travels. You can explore Japan at your own pace, stop wherever you want, and discover hidden gems that you might not have found otherwise. With a car rental, you can visit places that may be difficult to access by public transportation, and you can choose to stay in remote locations that offer a more authentic Japanese experience.

Furthermore, Japan's diverse landscape provides a beautiful backdrop for a road trip. You can drive through towering mountains, along stunning coastlines, and past beautiful lakes and forests. The famous cherry blossom season in spring and the stunning autumn foliage in fall are also excellent times for a road trip as you can witness the beautiful colors of nature as you travel.

A road trip in Japan also allows you to experience the country's unique culture and customs. You can stop at roadside stalls and try local delicacies such as freshly caught seafood or regional snacks. You can also stay in traditional Japanese inns called ryokans, which offer a glimpse into Japanese life and hospitality.

Another reason to take a road trip in Japan is to visit the country's famous landmarks and attractions. Japan is home to many UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the ancient capital of Kyoto, the historic village of Shirakawa-go, and the iconic Mount Fuji. Road trips allow you to create your itinerary and choose which places you want to visit and how long you want to stay.

Finally, a road trip in Japan offers a chance for adventure and exploration. You can try hiking in the mountains, cycling along scenic routes, or even surfing on Japan's beautiful beaches. Depending on your interests, you can also visit theme parks, hot springs, and museums.

In conclusion, a road trip in Japan is a unique and unforgettable way to explore the country's stunning natural scenery, rich culture, and fascinating landmarks. It offers freedom, flexibility, and the opportunity for adventure, making it an excellent choice for travelers who want to experience Japan in a more personal and immersive way.

Expect on your itinerary

Urban life Urban life
Value Value
Culture Culture
Historical sites Historical sites
Landscape Landscape
Comfort Comfort
Nature Nature
Security Security

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Road Trip Highlights in Japan

Japan is a country full of amazing sights and destinations, and a road trip is an excellent way to see them all. From bustling cities to serene natural landscapes, there is something for everyone to discover on a road trip in Japan. Here are some of the top places not to be missed on your adventure.

Firstly, Kyoto is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Japanese history and culture. This ancient capital city is home to numerous shrines, temples, and traditional gardens that have been designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Some of the highlights include the famous Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kinkaku-ji Temple, and the beautiful Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.

Next, no road trip in Japan would be complete without visiting Tokyo, the bustling metropolis and Japan's capital city. Tokyo offers endless opportunities for entertainment, dining, and shopping. The famous Shibuya crossing is a must-visit, as well as the futuristic district of Shinjuku, which offers breathtaking cityscape views from the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.

The island of Hokkaido is another top destination for road trippers. This northernmost island of Japan is known for its natural beauty, delicious seafood, and hot springs. Some of the highlights include the colorful flower fields of Furano, the stunning landscape of Shiretoko National Park, and the historic port city of Otaru.


The coastal city of Hiroshima is also a must-visit destination for its significant role in modern history. The Atomic Bomb Dome and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park provide a moving tribute to the victims of the atomic bombing in 1945. However, the city is also home to numerous other attractions, such as the beautiful Shukkei-en garden and the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island.

Lastly, the island of Okinawa in the south of Japan is a unique destination that offers a tropical escape from the mainland. The crystal-clear waters of Okinawa are perfect for snorkeling or diving, and the island is also home to numerous traditional villages and cultural attractions, such as the Shuri Castle and the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.

Suggested Road Trips in Japan 

Japan: traffic rules and road state

Japan can boast great road surfaces that will bring you pleasant experiences during your road trip. The country follows left-hand traffic; however, don’t worry, the driving conditions in most areas are similar to the ones prevailing in European and American countries. 

You need to be 18 years old in order to drive in Japan; however, some car rental companies may require you to be a little older. Don’t be surprised if you are asked to pay an additional fee for being an inexperienced motorist.

Both drinking and driving and driving and texting may result in heavy fines. In Japan, you’ll be considered to be under the influence of alcohol with any level of blood alcohol in your bloodstream as there is zero tolerance for this type of behaviour. When it comes to mobile phones, always use a hands-free device to avoid severe penalties. 

Japan: required documents

While travelling around Japan, it’s important to carry the following documents: your driver’s licence and an International Driving Licence. If you come from certain countries, including France, Switzerland, Belgium, or Germany, you’ll need a Japanese translation of your driver’s licence.

Speed limits in Japan

The simplest way to avoid speeding tickets is to stick to the prevailing speed limits: 30-50 km/h in built-up areas, 80 km/h in rural areas, and 40-100 km/h on highways. While driving near schools and residential areas, you’ll be obliged to reduce your speed to what’s indicated on the road signs.

When taking a Road Trip in Japan

Here are some things to be aware of when taking a road trip in Japan:

Best Time for taking a Road Trip in Japan

The best time to take a road trip in Japan depends on your interests and the regions you plan to visit. Here are some suggestions based on the seasons:

Keep in mind that the weather can be unpredictable, and some regions may experience extreme weather conditions. It's essential to check weather and road conditions before embarking on a road trip and be prepared for sudden changes.

What to pack for a Road Trip in Japan

Here are some essential items to pack and bring for a road trip in Japan:

Keep in mind that Japan has strict laws against drinking and driving, and penalties can be severe. Don't drink and drive.

How expensive is a Road Trip in Japan

The cost of a road trip in Japan can vary depending on several factors such as the season, the distance traveled the type of accommodation, and the activities you choose to do. Here are some estimated costs to give you an idea:

Based on these estimates, a daily budget for a road trip in Japan can range from ¥10,000 to ¥20,000 or more per person. For a week-long trip, the total cost can range from ¥70,000 to ¥140,000 or more per person, while a month-long trip can cost around ¥300,000 or more per person. These are rough estimates, and the actual cost may vary depending on your travel style and preferences.

Guidebooks and Road Maps for a Road Trip in Japan

There are several guidebooks and road maps available for a road trip in Japan. Here are some popular options:

These are just a few options, and there are many other guidebooks and road maps available. It's a good idea to research and compare different options to find the best fit for your travel style and preferences.

Good Reads before taking a Road Trip in Japan

Japan is a fascinating country with a rich culture and history, and there are many greatmany great books offerrent aspects of Japanese society. Here are some recommendations for good reads about Japan:

Overall, these books provide a range of perspectives on Japanese culture and society and are great reads for anyone interested in learning more about this fascinating country.

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