Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Exciting Places to Drive in Japan 🚗 Road Trip Itinerary Ideas in Japan with Nissan Rent-a-Car

~Exciting Places to Drive in Japan~  
Road Trip Itinerary Ideas in Japan 
🚗 with Nissan Rent-a-Car ðŸš—

Driving in Japan can be scary 
especially if you aren't used to driving in other countries 
or the left-hand side.
But it really isn't as nerve-racking as it seems.
You get used to it in minutes and pretty soon
you're thinking less about your anxiety
and more about how fun road trips are!

Since coming to Japan we've grown to miss driving on the open roads,
so we find ourselves renting cars and going on drives pretty often. 
We know there are many out there that either do or are interested 
in doing the same.
Thus we wanted to put together a short list of 
ideas of places to road trip in Japan to drive to. 
But before we get into the unknown treasures of Japan,
here are a few things to know when renting a car.

 Things to Make Sure Before Renting a Car 

⊛If booked in advance⊛
🗹International driver's license
🗹Confirm whether the vehicle is designated
🗹Expressway ETC card loan ↠ ::: Pass through toll gates with ETC :::

⊛Rent on the spot⊛
⊶ Cash and credit cards accepted

You will need an international driver's license!
How to get one
1. Copy of your passport

2. Driver's license
3. One passport-size photo



Image source Goin' Japanesque

Yamagata Prefecture (山形県)
・Cherry picking
・Making Soba
Kanazawa (in Ishikawa Prefecture) (石川県の金沢)
・Chiri Beach Driveway
Kenroku Garden (兼六園 Kenroku-en)
・Kanazawa Gold Leaf
Yamanashi Prefecture
Camping at Mt. Fuji's Five Lakes (富士五湖)



Yamagata Prefecture (山形県)

On top of the Reiryuuzan (鈴立山)
Yamagata Prefecture is a part of Tohoku, the northeastern region of Japan.
Probably the most popular place to visit in Yamagata Prefecture is Tendo, 
which is famous for its natural hot springs (onsens) 
and shogi (traditional Japanese chess).
What about its local food and fruits?
What are some of the most famous things from Yamagata Prefecture though....?



All kinds of airport transportation is provided, 
for example, buses, taxi, and trains. 
we highly suggest you rent a rental car which can make your journey 
easier and more comfortable!!

At the Yamagata Airport, you can find rental car companies like NISSAN, TOYOTA, NIPPON RENT-A-CAR, and Times Car RENTAL. 
We recommend renting through NISSAN Rent A Car 
mainly because of their quick and easy reservation service.

*NISSAN Rent A Car - Yamagata Airport Outlet
Address: 3008 Kashiwabara-Shinrin, Hanyu, Higashine, Yamagata


If you were to ask a Japanese person what Yamagata was famous for,
we're sure their first answer would be cherries.
Although there are cherries being produced all over Japan,
Yamagata is the most popular in producing around
70% of the country's production of cherries🍒✨
In Japan, you can go cherry (or other fruit) picking!!
Being that there are so many places to pick cherries in Tendo,

you won't have any problem finding a place.
We went to Oshokaju (Ohsyo) Orchards 
and had a really great time!

Japanese cherries taste a bit different than say American dark cherries.
Of course, they would, but it never really occurred to us!
 Due to Yamagata's difference in temperature, 
the fruits that are grown here are especially sweet and juicy
compared to fruit from other prefectures.

Normally the best time to go cherry picking is from the middle-end of May to the end of July! 
It's around that time you should be able to pick the most famous type of Japanese cherry, the satonishiki

You get 30 minutes to pick cherries, 

but the nice thing here is that you can also extend it to 60 minutes if desired!
Anything big plus is there are many ways to enjoy cherries at the orchard💖🍒

Information about fruit picking
🍒Cherry picking - Mid of May to Early July
🍇Grape picking - Early August to Mid of October
🍑Peach picking - Early August to Early September
🍏Apple picking - Mid of October to End of November

1) Make a reservation for fruit picking
Hours: 0900-1700

*Oshokaju Orchards (王将果樹園)
1303 Kawarago, Tendo, Yamagata 

Reservation for fruit picking in August and after (Japanese)

Discount coupon for fruit picking (Japanese)


Tendo Shogi Museum (天童将棋資料館)
Since Tendo has the largest shogi piece production in Japan,
we thought we'd go to the shogi museum 
where you can learn everything about this traditional Japanese chess-like game.

Shogi was originally developed and started in India back around B.C. 300.
At this museum, we learned about things like 
how it was introduced to Japan and the world and 
the manufacture of shogi pieces.

You can even decorate your own shogi pieces!!
This was, of course, the most fun!

★Tendo Shogi Museum (天童将棋資料館)
1-1-1 Honcho, Tendo City, Yamagata

Location: 1F of JR Tendo Station
Google Maps
MAP CODE62374772*76

⏰9:00am~6:00pm (Closed on 3rd Monday every month, 31 Dec, 01 Jan)

💴300yen (adults), 200yen (students (High school and up)), 100yen (Elementary and Jr. High)
💻Website (JP)


After visiting the Shogi Museum, 
we went to Tendo Kogen Family Land (天童高原ファミリーランド),
where you can make your own buckwheat (soba) noodles and eat them!

The buckwheat noodles are actually made with dewakaori buckwheat
which is grown at Tendo Kogen. 
It does smell way better than other buckwheat.

★Tendo Kogen Family Land" (天童高原ファミリーランド)
1321 Tamugino, Tendo City, Yamagata
MAP CODE62 358 339 * 57
📅May to October
1 to 4 persons - 2,500 yen each (1 teacher)
5 to 8 persons - 2,000 yen each (1 teacher)
9 to 12 persons - 1,500 yen each (1 teacher)
13 - 16 persons - 2,000 yen each (2 teachers)
Plus 500 yen if you want to eat the noodles there after class
💻Homepage (JP)

🍒For more info on Yamagata travel⇩🍒



Kanazawa (in Ishikawa Prefecture)

Kanazawa Station
Kanazawa is located in the central part of Japan in Ishikawa Prefecture. 
Kanazawa is selected by UNESCO as a City of Craft and Folk Art,
so there are plenty of 
unique landscapes and sightseeing spots for to visit. 
Kanazawa hasn't been involved in any wars or struck by natural disasters 
in the last 400 years, 
so it's said that Kanazawa is a city of luck! 
It's also called "a second Kyoto" 
since Edo style streets and buildings can still be seen there today.


There are a variety of cars available at Nissan Rent-a-Car,
but since we always have so much luggage we tend to go for a bigger car.

During our trip to Yamagata, we rented the NISSAN SERENA. 
This series is still really popular for not only us 
but travelers and other renters in Japan.
Super easy to use, 
just input the map code and the GPS will take you to where you want to go🗺🚘

*NISSAN Rent A Car

Komatsu Airport Outlet
164-1 Ha, Ukiyanagimachi, Komatsu, Ishikawa 923-0993 Japan

 Chirihama Beach Driveway 

 Chirihama Beach Driveway is the only beach in Japan 
where you can drive your car.

The beach stretches out to almost 5 miles (8km) and is along the Sea of Japan.
Access and dring along the beach is totally free,
making this a prime spot for parking your car 

and having a beach BBQs while enjoying the water.

★Chirihama Beach Driveway (千里浜なぎさドライブウェイ Chiri Hama Nagisa Driveway)
Chiri-Hama Machi, Hakui District, Ishikawa Prefecture, 925 0054
Google Maps
Map Code: 135182759*02

 Kenroku Garden (兼六園 Kenroku-en) 

Known as one of the 3 most beautiful gardens in Japan, 
Kenrokuen has a wide variety of trees, flowers, and plants 
(cherry blossom, autumn trees, plum blossoms, etc) giving this park 
many looks every season regardless spring, summer, fall, or winter. 
Which is something rare at many gardens.

Kinrokuen was first opened to the public on May 7, 1874.
It was in 1922, it was named as one of the National Site of Scenic Beauty, 
and in 1985 it was selected as the most honorable rank 
equivalent to a National Treasure.

Aside from being a beautiful garden,
there are many traditional things to check out in and around Kenrokuen!
For instance, 
there are many traditional Japanese style teahouses in Kenrokuen. 
You can just walk by and window shop, buy some souvenirs,
or just sit on a bench and enjoy some green tea 
and a Japanese rice cake (mochi)🍵

The garden is also the outer garden of Kanazawa Castle, 
which means you can also go to Kanazawa Castle within minutes!
There is a pass which allows you to visit both 
Kanazawa Castle and Kenrokuen for 500 yen,so we recommend you getting that if you'd like to check out both! 

Free admission for an early visit is available. 
Please check out the date and time here.

★Kenroku Garden (兼六園)
1 Kenrokumachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture
Google Maps
Map Code: 41 529 085 * 12
07:00 - 18:00 (March 1 to October 15)
08:00 - 17:00 (October 16 to 28 February)
💴Admission: 310 yen for adults, 100 yen for children


Gold leaf is essential for Japanese traditional crafts. 
Crafts that use this technique 
are mostly made in the cultural city of Kanazawa in the Hokuriku region.
Which is why it's known by the name of "Kanazawa leaf". 

You can buy Kanazawa leaf products in Tokyo
but if you're actually in Kanazawa, 
why not take a gold leaf bath!?! 

Above pictures:
1. Gold Leaf Face Mask
It is said that it has an anti-aging effect.

2. Gold Leaf Ice Cream🍦
Gold leaf wrapped around a vanilla ice cream cone.

3. Gold Leaf Pound Cake🍞
Both green tea and red beans pound cake and 

chocolate pound cake are topped with gold foil.

4. Gold Leaf Japanese Wine🍷
Specks of gold leaf added to wine.

特上海鮮丼 Special Seafood Rice Bowl; 2,000yen
This special rice bowl has appeared on TV and in many magazines in Japan. 
It's a big rice bow that contains sweet shrimp, salmon roe, minced tuna with leaks, Japanese yellowtail (amberjack), salmon, squid, octopus, crab, sea urchin, and mackerel!
All of the seafood is caught from a nearby peninsula,

enforcing its "freshness" appeal.
If you wanna try the limited menu, it's best to make a reservation in advance!

★Sawanoya (澤ノ屋)
Address: 3-2-21 Higashiyama, Kanazawa, Ishikawa
Google Maps
Map Code: 41560334*82

🏖For more info on Yamagata travel⇩🏖



Yamanashi Prefecture

Yamanashi Prefecture (山梨県, Yamanashi-ken) is located immediately west of Tokyo surrounded by natural beauty such as 
mountains and mountain ranges that designated as national parks.
The beautiful symbol of Japan, Mount Fuji is separated 
between Yamanashi Prefecture and Shizuoka Prefecture.
The northern part and the Mt. Fuji Five Lakes are located in Yamanashi.


There are hundreds of Nissan Rent-a-Car chain stores all around Tokyo,
so there's no need to go to a specific one just whatever is most convenient! 

For camping, we got that NISSAN X-TRAIL,
which has been recommended for 
driving through nature

 Camping at Mt. Fuji's Five Lakes (富士五湖) 

▲ A nice place for photography!

Because the Lake Shoji is narrow and we can see Mount Fuji from the front,
so it has attracted many photographers to come here to record this majestic Mountain.
In Japan, Mount Fuji reflected on the lake is called "Reverse Fuji"
This is a rare spectacle to see!!
Good luck!!!
 Fantastic Mountain

If it is good weather, you can see the view at midnight like the photo above.
Can't you imagine your eyes???
Mount Fuji, what a holy mountain!!!

Camping at Lake Shoji!
Lake Shoji is the smallest one among the Five Lakes,
but it also has the most beautiful scenery!!
If luck is on your side,
the weather will be nice and you'll be able to see Mount Fuji from the front!
So this is where we decided to camp💖🗻
There's a camping site, Shojiko Camping Cottage,
that allows you to camp in the area for between 800yen~1000yen/person
(which is roughly $7~$9).
You can even rent a tent here if you don't have one of your own!
Glamping has started making its way to Japan,
so for you glamping lovers you can also do that here at Lake Shoji🌟

Shojiko Camping Cottage (精進湖キャンピングコテージ)
495 Shoji, Fujikawaguchiko, Minamitsuru, Yamanashi Prefecture 401-0336
⏰Information desk hours: Weekdays 9:00am〜9:00pm

Then from there it just becomes a great camping night!

If you need some camping or outdoor gear,
there are 2 really good stores in Tokyo:
Victoria in Akihabara

Odakyu HALC in Shinjuku

🏕For more info on camping at Mt Fuji Five Lakes⇩🏕

🌟More interesting articles on road trips in Japan🌟


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