Escape Travel

3 of Japan’s Best Road Trips

Japan is one of our favourite travel destinations – incredible food, futuristic cities, beautiful countryside and the wonderful Japanese people, it really is a must-visit. Outside of the big cities one of the best ways to see the countryside in Japan is by road, here are 3 of Japan’s best road trips, famed for their incredible scenery.

1. Hakone Turnpike, Kanagawa

A little over an hour outside of Tokyo, the infamous Hakone Turnpike is the gateway to Hakone and descends more than 1,000 metres through dense forest, giving drivers and their passengers thrilling views of Mt Fuji and Sagami Bay.

Best for: Mt Fuji views and iconic lakes, just a short hop from Tokyo.

Why go: Hakone is the gateway to Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park which is a famous resort area offering the highest quality onsen (natural hot springs) and stunning views of Mt Fuji. The Hakone area can be explored by foot, car, or even by boat, but the efficient “ropeway” system is the most recommended. The modern cable car connects Hakone’s best-known attractions, and a Hakone Freepass offers unlimited on-and-off riding privileges throughout the region.

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2. Roller Coaster Road, Hokkaido

Cruising along this straight 4-kilometre undulating road is a great way to view the iconic paddy fields, hills, and landscapes of central Hokkaido’s Furano region which lies at the base of the Tokachi Mountain Range. The Roller Coaster Road is also often referred to as “Provence Road” due to its resemblance to the Provence region in southern France.

Best for: Mountain views, lavender fields, and outdoor adventures.

Why go: If you love outdoor sports, head to Furano for hiking, cycling, fishing, parasailing, thrilling rafting trips down the Sorachi River, and skiing through soft powder snow at the nearby Furano Ski Resort in winter. For one of the top hikes in Hokkaido, you can climb to the summit of Mt Tokachi to enjoy a dynamic view of its active volcano.

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3. Mt Aso to Cape Sata, Kyushu

This trip traverses Kyushu (Japan’s westernmost main island) and begins by running alongside one of Japan’s many active volcanos, Mt Aso, before weaving along the caldera’s outer rim offering glimpses inside the volcano.

Best for: Crater-side driving that spans a diverse subtropical landscape.

Why go: The 6-hour road trip takes you through some of the top highlights of Kyushu, from its shoreline and mountainous interior fit for water sports and scenic walking trails, to its world-class seafood and ramen. While the Aso Panorama Line (the name of the impressive road that leads up to Mt Aso) is the star of this drive, you should also make sure you save time on your trip to Cape Sata to take in southern Kyushu’s other impressive sights.

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Want more? Click here for a delicious Japanese Okonomiyaki recipe and here for 5 of the Best Road Trips in Ireland.

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