My wife, Yoko and I often go on road trips in Japan and my SUV has rolled over 30 prefectures on as many secluded mountain roads as the navigator and road atlas can help us find. We have become very familiar with countless gorgeous and unusual parts of this country that get absolutely NO foreign traffic. Even Japanese rarely go when there isn’t much infrastructure to take anyone there or away.
During Obon we will drive up through the Hida region of Gifu Prefecture and on up to Toyama and Ishikawa. Wajima will be the final point before turning back around. We have been to Gifu and Ishikawa twice before but Toyama will be Prefecture 31 for my trusty wheels.
Anyone interested in exploring the country by car, or for that matter, getting your own Japanese driver’s license, can feel free to contact me anytime.
Martin W. Zander, Smith’s Partner
Smith’s School Fukushima, Smith’s School Kotoen
スミス英会話 甲東園 福島 仁川 門戸厄神 逆瀬川
Sounds great Martin! Please let us know what the gas cost comes to!
People often refer to 2 different Japan’s: train Japan and car Japan. You are definitely getting to see some amazing places that most of us never get to see.
On a similar note: on a recent trip back to Canada i got an international drivers license. Very quick and easy to get, and now i can drive in Japan. Definitely an easy option for short-term residents.
Edward, FC Ohtsu
Jim and Ed, thanks very much for the feedback. Yes, gasoline is an issue but still nowhere nearly as bad as what Europeans are paying. Germans and Italians are up around Euro 2,10 per liter, perhaps more and at 165-yen/Euro it sounds pretty ominous in our money, especially when they pay far more tax and they need their cars much more than we do in Japan.
Driving nicely saves a lot of fuel; the bigger issue here is the cost of expressway tolls. I recommend avoiding expressways unless you need to cover a distance. Get your license and give renting a car here a try. It’s pretty easy with no major hoops to jump. I used an International Permit for two years before deciding to switch my British Columbia license into the Japanese permit. That was a day trip, a very long and boring day that needed to be planned for, but …. it got done in one day!