Japan Drive Route Guide

Area
Around Tokyo & Mt.Fuji(Kanto)
Travel Period
4D3N
Route
1504
Overview
Start
Niigata
Goal
Tokyo
Way
one_way_trip
Travel Pace
busy
Distance
570 km
Rank
Highway fee
¥ 4,950
About this route
Four days three nights one-way driving route, which you can drive across the Honshu(main) island from Niigata to Tokyo. It is an opposite driving route of route324, which heads to Niigata from Tokyo. The driving distance is about 600km for 4days. You can drive along the mountains, coast, highlands, old town and so on. It doesn't include a consecutive stay in the same city, and because of the long driving distance and many sightseeing spots, the travel pace will be busy if you prefer a more relaxing itinerary, route 1505, which is added one more night at Karuizawa. If you want to come back to Niigata from Tokyo, it takes about 2 hours only by bullet train. It is recommended for travelers who like Onsen because you can stay a maximum of three nights stay at an inn with Onsen, including Kusatsu, a nationally famous onsen town in Japan. The highlight of this route is Mt.Yahikoyama, "Togakushi Shrine Avenue of cedar trees", "Onioshidashi Volcanic Park", UNESCO world heritage "Tomioka Silk Mill" and 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 all of Japan. Recommended food are seafood suchi as Sushi in Niigata, Togakushi Soba, Pork miso bowl in Chichibu 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 beginning of May. Our daily driving map will recommend you only the spots where is the best timing to visit.

Niigata

public_facility
Location Guide Page

Nagano/Myoko

sightseeing
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Location Guide Page

Teradomari Street Market (Sakana no Ameyoko)

sightseeing
58 812 295*21
Location Guide Page

Naena Falls

sightseeing
469 047 422
Location Guide Page

Togakushi Shrine Okusha(Main Shrine) Avenue of cedar trees

sightseeing
1 004 009 265*36
Location Guide Page

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Nagano/Myoko

sightseeing
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Location Guide Page

Kusatsu

public_facility
341 446 176*72
Location Guide Page

Obuse Town

public_facility
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Location Guide Page

Jigokudani Monkey Park

sightseeing
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Location Guide Page

Yugama

sightseeing
341 499 184
Location Guide Page

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Kusatsu

public_facility
341 446 176*72
Location Guide Page

Chichibu/Nagatoro

sightseeing
150 612 715*63
Location Guide Page

Onioshidashi Volcanic Park

sightseeing
737 064 896
Location Guide Page

Karuizawa Lake Garden

sightseeing
292 464 474*42
Location Guide Page

Tomioka Silk Mill

sightseeing
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Chichibu/Nagatoro

sightseeing
150 612 715*63
Location Guide Page

Tokyo

rental_car
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Mitsumine Shrine

sightseeing
534 322 159
Location Guide Page

Komatsuzawa Leisure Farm

sightseeing
150 224 393*55
Location Guide Page

Kawagoe Town

sightseeing
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Day. 1Niigata to Nagano/Myoko
This day will head from Niigata to Nagano or Myoko city. 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 haven’t visited “Mt.Yahikoyama(弥彦山)”, it is recommended to visit first. You can enjoy the dynamic scenery of the mountain peak. After that, you can enjoy driving along the coast. It is highly recommended to eat fresh seafood for the lunch at either “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)”. The driving distance is long and most of the highlights such as “Naena falls(苗名滝)” and “Togakushi Shrine Okusha(Main Shrine) Avenue of cedar trees-戸隠神社奥社表参道杉並木” are located at the end of this day. To save your time, it is also recommended to take the expressway. If you stay in Nagano city, it is recommended to stay in Shukubo(temple stay) but in that case, please reach your accommodation by 18:00 due to their check-in time.
Rent a car at Niigata
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. 2Nagano/Myoko to Kusatsu
This day will head from Nagano or Myoko to Kusatsu. It is a very relaxing day because the Mileage is about 90km only. 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)". It takes additional time but if you haven't visited, “Togakushi Shrine Okusha(Main Shrine) Avenue of cedar trees-戸隠神社奥社表参道杉並木” is a must-see spot. Just 18km away from Nagano, "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. It is also good to have lunch there. After Obuse, famous snow monkeys are waiting for you at "Jigokudani Monkey Park(地獄谷野猿公園)". From the monkey park, you will start 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. But because of them, sometimes it will be closed due to snow or volcano activity. Please check the official information in advance. Kusatsu Onsen, definitely one of the most famous Onsen towns in Japan has many attractions 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. 3Kusatsu to Chichibu/Nagatoro
This day, you will head from Kusatsu to either Chichibu or Nagatoro. Mileage is about 150km. The first destination 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 the panoramic view of the forest you drove. "Kyukaruizawa Ginza Street(旧軽井沢銀座通り)" in Karuizawa is just nice to have lunch. You can walk around the charming historical street and enjoy shopping and eating. Although you are not very interested in flowers or garden, "Karuizawa Lake Garden(軽井沢レイクガーデン)" is nice to visit. Especially rose season and autumn colored leave season is wonderful. After 50km driving from Karuizawa, 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. From Tomioka Silk Mill, it is about 50km to Chichibu and Nagatoro. 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.
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. 4Chichibu/Nagatoro to Tokyo
This day, you will head from either Chichibu or Nagatoro to Tokyo. Mileage is about 130km. 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. There are many attractions in Chichibu and Nagatoro area such as Nagatoro river cruise or fruits picking at "Komatsuzawa Leisure Farm(小松沢レジャー農園)". And Saitama prefecture, which Chichibu belongs, has more than ten spots for flowers or autumn colored leaves. Only the spots which are in the right time to visit during your travel will appear. If you find these seasonal spots on your map, it is highly recommended to visit. The best highlight of this day is "Kagwagoe Town(川越)" a town that keeps a typical traditional street with old houses, shops, and warehouses. It is easy to spend 2-3 hours to walk around. It is about 60km from Kawagoe to the center of Tokyo. It takes at least 1.5hours to use the expressway. Please plan a schedule in advance. There are many traffic jams in the center of the Tokyo area. We highly recommended planning with plenty of time. The above plan is for travelers who will stay in Tokyo on this day. There is the possibility of falling into an unpredictable situation, and very risky to try to take a flight or bullet train after returning your car on this day. We highly recommend you to extend your travel period or choose shorter driving routes. If you don't stay in Tokyo and take a flight on this day, please reach the rental car shop at least 3 hours before the flight.
Return 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.

Check Other 4D3N Around Tokyo & Mt.Fuji(Kanto) Route

Route numberStart cityGoal cityWayTravel PaceDistanceRankHighway feeDetail
323TokyoTokyoreturn_tripbusy670 km¥ 9,300check
324TokyoNiigataone_way_tripbusy570 km¥ 4,950check
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