Japan Drive Route Guide

Area
Around Tokyo & Mt.Fuji(Kanto)
Travel Period
5D4N
Route
336
Overview
Start
Tokyo
Goal
Niigata
Way
one_way_trip
Travel Pace
relaxing
Distance
600 km
Rank
Highway fee
¥ 4,950
About this route
5 days 4 nights one-way driving route which you can drive across the Honshu(main) island from Tokyo to Niigata. The driving distance is about 600km for 5days. You can drive along the mountains, coast, highlands, old towns and so on. It doesn't include a consecutive stay in the same city but because of the short driving distance for some days, you can travel at a relaxing pace. From Niigata to Tokyo, it takes about 2 hours only by bullet train. It is also recommended for travelers who like Onsen because you can stay a maximum of 3 nights stay at an inn with Onsen include Kusatsu where is a nationally famous onsen town in Japan. The highlight of this route is UNESCO world heritage "Tomioka Silk Mill", "Onioshidashi Volcanic Park", "Togakushi Shrine Avenue of cedar trees", Mt.Yahikoyamaand so on. And on day 4th, you can enjoy driving on "Shiga Kusatsu Route(Route292)" from Nagano to Kusatsu, which is considered one of the best scenic driving routes in the whole of Japan. Recommended food are Pork miso bowl in Chichibu, Togakushi Soba, seafood suchi as Sushi in Niigata, and so on. Another feature of this route is that you can enjoy flowers of various seasons. In spring, you can enjoy contrast of cherry blossom and rape blossom, Poppyand Moss Pink. And in autumn, you can enjoy amazing autuml colored leaves at many sightseeing spots. Moreover, you also can drive between the snow corridors on the Shiga Kusatsu Route(Route292) from the end of April to the begginning of May. Our daily driving map will recommend you only the spots where is the best timing to visit.

Tokyo

rental_car
Location Guide Page

Chichibu/Nagatoro

sightseeing
150 612 715*63
Location Guide Page

Kawagoe Town

sightseeing
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Chichibu/Nagatoro

sightseeing
150 612 715*63
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Karuizawa

sightseeing
292 616 606*11
Location Guide Page

Mitsumine Shrine

sightseeing
534 322 159
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Tomioka Silk Mill

sightseeing
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Karuizawa Lake Garden

sightseeing
292 464 474*42
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Karuizawa

sightseeing
292 616 606*11
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Kusatsu

public_facility
341 446 176*72
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Kyukaruizawa Ginza Street

sightseeing
292 676 492*30
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Onioshidashi Volcanic Park

sightseeing
737 064 896
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Yubatake (Hot Water Field)

sightseeing
341 446 623*12
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Kusatsu

public_facility
341 446 176*72
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Nagano/Myoko

sightseeing
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Yugama

sightseeing
341 499 184
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Jigokudani Monkey Park

sightseeing
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Obuse Town

public_facility
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Nagano/Myoko

sightseeing
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Niigata

public_facility
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Zenkoji Temple

sightseeing
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Togakushi Shrine Okusha(Main Shrine) Avenue of cedar trees

sightseeing
1 004 009 265*36
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Mt.Yahikoyama

sightseeing
190 127 799*31
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Day. 1Tokyo to Chichibu/Nagatoro
This day, you will head from Tokyo to either Chichibu or Nagatoro. Mileage is about 130km. Once you rent a car, it is highly recommended to take the expressway to "Kawagoe town(川越)" to avoid traffic jams. "Kagwagoe Town(川越)" is an old town where keeps a typical traditional street with old houses, shops, and warehouses. It is easy to spend 2-3 hours to walk around. It is also nice to have lunch there. Saitama prefecture which Kawagoe belongs to has many great spots for flowers or autumn colored leaves. Only the spots which are in good timing to visit during your travel will appear. If you find these seasonal spots on your map, it is highly recommended to visit. Today's destinations, both Nagatoro and Chichibu have many attractions too. It is also a good idea to reach there in the early time.
Rent a car at Tokyo
If you want to rent or return your car in Tokyo, below branches are recommended. Please choose the one which is suitable for your itinerary. [1]Haneda Airport branch-羽田 営業所 If you want to rent or return your car at Haneda Airport(Tokyo International Airport)(HND), this "Haneda Airport" branch is recommended regardless of whether you take international flight or doemstic flight. From / to Haneda airport each terminal, rental car company provides free shuttle bus. Normally, it takes 20min. However, it takes about 1hour in peak season. [2]Narita Airport branch-成田空港 営業所 If you want to rent or return your car at Narita Airport (Narita International Airport)(NRT), this "Narita Airport" branch is recommended regardless of whether you take international flight or doemstic flight. From / to Narita airport each terminal, rental car company provides free shuttle bus. Normally, it takes 15-30min. Please take note that "Narita Airport" is about 75km away from central Tokyo, and it takes about 70 minutes without traffic jam. please move with plenty of time. [3]Seibu Shinjuku Station branch-西武新宿駅前営業所 If you want to rent or return the car at Shinjuku, this "Seibu Shinjuku Station" branch is recommended. It is located 700m away from Shinjuku Station and also near to "Kabukicho" area where have thousands of shops, restaurants and many accommodations. [4]Shibuya Station East Exit branch-渋谷駅東口 営業所 If you want to rent or return the car at Shibuya, this "Shibuya Station East Exit" branch is recommended. It is located 350m away from Shibuya Station and famous Shibuya scramble crossing. [5]Tokyo Station Yaesu South Exit branch-東京駅八重洲南口 営業所 If you want to rent or return the car at Tokyo station, this "Tokyo Station Yaesu South Exit" branch is recommended. It is located underground of Tokyo Station. Very convenient if you plan to take bullet train. However, this branch does not support rental car drop-offs. If you rent a car from this branch, you can return it here.
High light
Stay at Chichibu/Nagatoro
On this day, you will stay either Chichibu(秩父) or Nagatoro(長瀞). Chichibu and Nagatoro are about 13km apart, about 20 minutes by car. Nagatoro is on the north side and Chichibu is on the south side. Both towns are not too far away and there is no big difference, so choose your favorite inn considering the next day's journey and access to the surrounding sightseeing spots. Both Chichibu and Nagatoro have inns of various styles from 3 stars to 5 stars. However, neither is a very large town, and the number of inns and restaurants is limited. If you are staying at Japanese style Ryokan with a hot spring, we recommend a plan with dinner and breakfast. If you are staying at a hotel, we recommend a plan without dinner, but it is recommended that you think about where to eat dinner in advance. Please take note that most inns have official parking but in addition to the accommodation fee, the parking lot fee will be charged separately.
Day. 2Chichibu/Nagatoro to Karuizawa
This day, you will head from either Chichibu or Nagatoro to Karuizawa. It is a very relaxing day because the Mileage is about 110km only. But if you want to visit "Mitsumine Shine(三峯神社)", it is required additional 3 hours and in that case, please depart at least 9:00. Around Chichibu and Nagatoro area, there are some spots where are famous for their flowers or autumn-colored leaves. Only the spots which are in good timing to visit during your travel will appear. If you find these seasonal spots on your map, it is recommended to visit. After 50km driving from Chichibu, there is UNESCO World Heritage "Tomioka Silk Mill(富岡製糸場)" which is greatly involved in the modernization of Japan. Their old huge warehouse is worth to visit although you are not very interested in history. Another recommended spot is "Karuizawa Lage Garden(軽井沢レイクガーデン)". Especially rose season and autumn colored leave season is wonderful. Please also be careful that due to the town laws of Karuizawa, most restaurants close around 20:00-21:00. Convenience stores also close at 23:00.
Stay at Karuizawa
On this day, you will stay Karuizawa city(軽井沢) where is famous for summer and snow resorts. The inns are spread over a wide area around Karuizawa Station and Basically, Karuizawa inns are not Japanese style Ryokan but western-style hotels. When you stay in Karuizawa, you have to be careful about dinner time. Karuizawa itself is a very famous tourist destination and there are many shops and restaurants. However, due to the town laws of Karuizawa, most of the restaurants close around 20:00-21:00. Even all convenience stores also close at 23:00. Please note that there is no place where you can eat dinner at a late time. There are many attractive restaurants, so it is recommended to book your inn without dinner enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. Please take note that most inns have official parking but in addition to the accommodation fee, the parking lot fee will be charged separately.
Day. 3Karuizawa to Kusatsu
On this day, you will head from Karuizawa to Kusatsu. It is a very relaxing day because the Mileage is about 90km only. The first destination is "Kyukaruizawa Ginza Street(旧軽井沢銀座通り)" in Karuizawa. You can walk around the charming historical street and enjoy shopping and eating. After that, let's drive to "Shiroito Waterfalls(白糸の滝)" which is famous for its unique shape. The best highlight of the day is "Onioshidashi Volcanic Park(鬼押出し園)" where you can tour the strange scenery formed as a result of a large amount of lava that flowed out during the eruption. You also can see the magnificent view of Mt.Asama and a panoramic view of the forest. Please remember that some roads around Onioshidashi park and Shiraito Waterfalls are paid road. There are many nice restaurants around there. Most of them are located in a beautiful forest and you can have lunch in a relaxing atmosphere. If you will travel with children, "Karuizawa Toy Kingdom(軽井沢おもちゃ王国)" is a must-visit spot. It is like heaven for kids and easy to spend the whole day. If you still have time, "Aisai no Oka hill(愛妻の丘)" is recommended to see an amazing view. It is also famous for its unique concept. Couples must make unforgettable memories. Kusatsu Onsen, definitely one of the most famous Onsen towns in Japan have many attraction such as "Yubatake (湯畑)" and "Netsu no Yu(熱乃湯)". It is also a good idea to reach there in the early time.
Stay at Kusatsu
On this day, you will stay Kusatsu Onsen(草津温泉). Kusatsu is one of the most famous Onsen areas in the whole of Japan and most of the accommodations, both western-style hotels and Japanese-style Ryokans have Onsen facilities. If you stay 4-5 star Ryokans, it is possible to enjoy a room with private Onsen and nice Japanese Kaiseki-style dinners. In that case, it is recommended to book with a plan that includes dinner and breakfast. There are many shops and restaurants around Yubatake, a landmark of Kusatsu Onsen. If you stay at a reasonably priced inn, the plan without dinner is recommended and you can enjoy meals at a local restaurant. Most inns have official parking but in addition to the accommodation fee, the parking lot fee will be charged separately. There are many free footbaths and some spots are light up in this town and walk around there at night is also consider as the attraction of Kusatsu. It recommends staying at an inn within walking distance of Yubatake and Sainokawara Park. For those who have stayed in Kusatsu before or those who like mountain resorts, Manza Onsen located 20km west is also recommended.
Day. 4Kusatsu to Nagano/Myoko
This day will head from Kusatsu to Nagano or Myoko. It is a very relaxing day because the Mileage is about 90km only. Once you depart, you can enjoy mountain driving along the Kusatsu-Shiga road(route292) which is one of the best scenic driving routes in Japan for its altitude(more than 2000m height) and an active volcano. From the end of October to the beginning of May, you also can enjoy driving in between snow walls. It is really unique experience and highly recommended. There are many observatories, marsh, and ponds. It is also a good idea to eat lunch in dynamic sceneries. After Kusatsu-Shiga road, famous snow monkeys are waiting for you at "Jigokudani Monkey Park(地獄谷野猿公園)". Another highlight of the day is "Obuse(小布施)" town which called small Kyoto is highly recommended to visit. You can enjoy walking allow a pass in a charming town. There are many cafes and sweets shops too. From Obuse, Nagano is 20km and Myoko is about 30km away. If you will stay in Myoko, it is better to take the expressway.
Stay at Nagano/Myoko
On this day, you will stay in Nagano city(長野). Most of the accommodations are concentrated around Nagano Station. Most of the accommodations in this city are not Japanese style Ryokans but western-style hotels. As many restaurants are open till midnight, it is recommended to book your hotels with breakfast only or without meals. We also recommend staying at a temple called "Shukubo" around Zenkoji, a symbol of Nagano City. This is basically a plan with two meals per night for shōjin dishes (vegetarian dishes that do not use meat or fish). Some shukubo offer to morning ceremony called "Oasaji" or some activities such as copying sutras(Shakyo). Please note that few inns in Nagano have their own parking lots, and in addition to the accommodation fee, the parking lot fee will be charged separately or you will be instructed to park in a public parking lot. For those who want to stay at an inn with a hot spring, we also recommend the "Myoko" area, which is also famous as a snow resort. It is about 32km from Nagano City and about 45 minutes by car. "
Day. 5Nagano/Myoko to Niigata
This day will head from Nagano or Myoko to Niigata. Mileage is more than 200km and this day has many attractions. It is recommended to depart at 8:00~9:00 if you don't like hurried travel. If you stay in Nagano city, it will be a very unique experience to wake up early and join the daily morning ceremony(Oasaji) at "Zenkoji Temple(善光寺)". In between Nagano city and Myoko city, “Togakushi Shrine Okusha(Main Shrine) Avenue of cedar trees-戸隠神社奥社表参道杉並木” is another must-see spot. On this day, you can enjoy driving along the coast and there are many great spots to see the sunset. If you haven’t visited “Mt.Yahikoyama(弥彦山)”, it is recommended to visit first. There is two recommendation for lunch. One is Soba(buckwheat noodle) around the Togakushi area and another is fresh seafood along the coast such as “Teradomari Street Market (Sakana no Ameyoko)-寺泊魚の市場通り(魚のアメ横)” or “Nihonkai Fisherman's Cape(日本海フィッシャーマンズケープ)”. Please find your favorite restaurant on our map. The driving distance is long for this day. To save your time, It is highly recommended to choose spots where you want to visit in advance and control your itinerary. It is also recommended to take the expressway if the car navigation guides it to take.
Return a car at Niigata

Check Other 5D4N Around Tokyo & Mt.Fuji(Kanto) Route

Route numberStart cityGoal cityWayTravel PaceDistanceRankHighway feeDetail
1505NiigataTokyoone_way_tripnormal600 km¥ 4,950check
335TokyoTokyoreturn_tripnormal700 km¥ 8,150check
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