Exploring Japan’s Scenic Highways: 10 Breathtaking Routes to Embark on Epic Road Trips in 2023

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Japan is an astonishing East Asian country, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. The breathtaking landscapes of the nation are a result of its geographical position. The volcanic mountains, distinct forests, ocean, karst, grasslands, rocky terrains, everything together forms the incredible landscape of this ‘land of the rising Sun’. And the ultimate way to explore its natural views is by embarking on a Journey through Japan via some of its most magnificent routes.

Japan Road Trips

Top 10 Routes For Exploring Japan

Here are the 10 most popular routes for journeys through Japan that you definitely need to discover on your upcoming vacation in the island country.

1. Roller Coaster Road, Hokkaido

Roller Coaster Road, Hokkaido

Hokkaido boasts one of the most peculiar routes for journeys through Japan. Undoubtedly, this northernmost island of the country showcases an abundance of enchanting natural scenes. However, it is also home to one of the most unusual roads in the world. The ‘Roller Coaster Road’ situated in Furano city, Hokkaido, completely lives up to its name. The 2.5-kilometer extensive road features numerous steep ascents and descents. Delight in this

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2. Metasequoia Tree Road, Shiga

Metasequoia Tree Road, Shiga

Metasequoia Tree Road is a picturesque route in the Shiga Prefecture of Japan. The 2.4-kilometer long stretch of the road is adorned with 500 Sequoia trees. Each tree has an average height of approximately 35 meters. Driving through this shaded road is a serene experience. The visual impact of the drive differs depending on the season in which you undertake this journey. If you travel during the Spring or Summer seasons, you will witness lush green Sequoias. On the other hand, Autumn or Winter turns the tree leaves into a stunning golden hue.

3. Tsunoshima Bridge, Yamaguchi

Tsunoshima Bridge, Yamaguchi

Tsunoshima Bridge is an excellent example of architectural progress. Embark on this one of the most exhilarating Japan road journeys and drive across the ocean. This bridge is built to connect the main part of the land with a miniature secluded island in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Travelling on this 1,780-meter long bridge is a rare experience indeed. But the thrill doesn’t stop there. The stunning island on the opposite side awaits you with its ivory sand beaches and turquoise water for an exotic excursion.

4. Chirihama Nagisa Driveway, Ishikawa

Chirihama Nagisa Driveway, Ishikawa

Japan is home to some of the most astonishing encounters. And now that we are discovering the best Japan road trips, Chirihama Nagisa Driveway will add some bewilderment to the list. This is your rarest opportunity to drive along a coastline. Chirihama Nagisa Driveway is one of the only three public driveways on the beach in the world. And this is the sole one in Japan. This is an 8-kilometer long road that runs along the shoreline.

5. Venus Line, Nagano

Venus Line, Nagano

Venus Line offers opportunities for one of the most enchanting Japan road trips. The drive traverses the expansive and verdant highlands of Nagano Prefecture. Connecting Chino to Utsukushi Ga Hara, this 70-kilometer long road will elevate you with breathtaking vistas of nature and boundless fresh breeze. Cruise along the Venus Line with your partner or a group of your beloved companions.

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6. Izu Skyline, Shizuoka

Izu Skyline ensures one of the most exciting Japan road adventures. This 40.6 km extensive toll route in Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture unquestionably provides you with the finest panoramic views of the environment. Traversing from South to North of the region, a drive through it will astonish you with the captivating perspectives of the renowned Mount Fuji, alongside other peaks, the highlands, and Sagami Bay shore.

TTmain-logo.pngIzu Skyline, Shizuoka

7. Patchwork Road, Biei


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      Biei is one of the most picturesque locations in Japan. Situated in the heart of Hokkaido, this small town is blessed with abundant natural beauty. Your driving route will take you through lush green farmlands and hills. This place has attracted several advertising agencies and is a popular filming location in Japan. If you are planning to drive along the Patchwork Road in Biei, the ideal time is summer. This is when you will witness the true “patchwork” on the fields, created with a variety of crops.

      8. Aso, Kumamoto

      This is one of the most incredibly stunning road trips in Japan. Aso is a city in Kumamoto Prefecture, located on Kyushu Island. Driving in this region will take you through astonishing landscapes, including the lush greenery and the volcanic mountains. Kyushu is the third largest island in Japan. It is home to the active Mount Nakadake Volcano and the largest caldera in the world. During the drive, you can take a break to soak in the natural hot springs and visit the Nakadake Crater during times of lower risk.

      9. Shikoku Karst, Ehime & Kochi

      Located in the Shikoku region of Japan, Shikoku Karst is the largest karst in the country. ‘Karst’ denotes a type of topography that is formed as a result of the dissolution of soluble rocks, typically limestone, gypsum, or dolomite. This process takes place over many years and leads to the creation of striking rock formations. The Shikoku Karst is spread across the Ehime and Kochi Prefectures of Indonesia. The driving road in this region is situated at an altitude ranging from 1,200 to 1,400 meters. On this awe-inspiring road trip in Japan, you will witness exclusive views of mountain ranges and grasslands.

      10. Bandai-Azuma Skyline, Fukushima

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      The average elevation of Bandai-Azuma Skyline in Fukushima is 1,350 meters above sea level. The advantages of driving at this altitude are the breathtaking scenic views of the surroundings. And in this case, it’s not just mountains, but the renowned volcanic mountain, Azuma. Mount Azuma-Kofuji is an active volcano in Fukushima Prefecture and Yamagata Prefecture of Japan. The term ‘Kofuji’ refers to its shape that resembles Mount Fuji. The ideal time to embark on this captivating Japanese road trip is during Autumn to witness the enchanting Bandai-Azuma skyline.

      Further Reading: Spas In Japan: 5 Carefully Chosen Places Which Will Be Perfect For A Relaxing Spa-cation!

      Have you always had a road trip with your partner, friends, or family on your wishlist? The aforementioned routes guarantee genuinely unique and magnificent experiences. So, plan a journey to Japan and explore this marvelous country with your loved ones. Also, seize this opportunity to embark on all these Japanese road trips.

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      Common Queries About Japanese Road Trips

      Can tourists operate vehicles in Japan?

      Yes, tourists can operate vehicles in Japan as long as they possess the appropriate legal documents and permits. Otherwise, driving in Japan can be rather complex and costly. Tourists without a valid license may face legal consequences such as fines, arrest, and even deportation. International Driving Permits are required for tourists to drive in Japan. Americans with only a U.S. driver’s license are not permitted to drive in Japan.

      Is it secure to rent a car in Japan?

      Indeed, it is completely safe to rent a car and drive around in Japan with the appropriate permits for driving with an international license. To facilitate one-way road trips, rental companies in Japan also allow you to return the vehicle at a different branch. However, renting a car is not necessary, especially in Tokyo, as the city has a well-connected network of trains and buses. These modes of transportation are regarded as safe, efficient, and affordable.

      Is driving in Japan challenging?

      No, driving in Japan is quite straightforward. The driver’s seat and the steering wheel are on the right side, and cars drive on the left side of the road. Traffic rules and road signs adhere to international standards.

      How many days should I allocate for a trip to Japan?

      It is recommended to allocate about 5 to 6 days to fully explore Japan. Out of these, it is advised to spend 2 to 3 days in Tokyo and the remaining days in other destinations.

      How costly is a trip to Japan?

      A trip to Japan would cost approximately $100 USD per day per person, including expenses for hotel accommodations, meals, purchasing a rail pass, and visiting local attractions. However, it is possible to save money by opting for accommodations that offer a more local experience in Japan.

      Which is the least expensive month to travel to Japan?

      The summer months are the most popular time to visit Japan. However, the least expensive months are the winter months – from mid-January until March – when the weather is cold and dry.

      When should you avoid visiting Japan?

      It is advisable to avoid visiting Japan from June to August as this is the time of the monsoon season when torrential rains may occur.

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