Japan may be known for its extensive public transportation network allowing travelers to get to the many sightseeing areas the country has to offer. However, there some areas you are better off dusting off the good ole driving gloves for. Here are some recommendations for your next road trip out of Tokyo.
Umihotaru is actually a parking area located on the Tokyo Bay Aqua-Line, but it isn’t just an ordinary parking area. It’s a rest stop located in the middle of the ocean, no really. The Aqua-Line is technically a bridge-tunnel which connects Kawasaki city in Kanagawa Prefecture and Kisarazu city in Chiba Prefecture. The bridge is 4.4 km long and the tunnel lasts for 9.6 km, with a total of 14 km. Umihotaru, an artificial island, allows drivers to rest, grab something to eat, or just gaze at the spectacular 360 degree panoramic view. If the skies are clear, you might even be able to see Mount Fuji! Continue on to Kisarazu for some shopping and enjoy the local delicacies.
About 80 km from Tokyo, Kujukuri is home to Japan’s second longest beach. Tanning enthusiasts and wave riders gather at this popular destination in Chiba to get their beach on or surf it out. For some fresh ocean air and sandy coastlines, head over to this beach located on the east-central area of the Boso Peninsula. Grab a bite to eat from the local restaurants while you’re in the area too, they offer some of the freshest sea creatures in the area. The drive out to the area is almost never congested and a cruise by the coastline makes you forget you’re still in Chiba.
If shopping is one of the top priorities on your things-to-do list in Japan, head over to the Gotemba Premium Outlet in Shizuoka Prefecture. Hop onto the Tomei Expressway and it’s a quick 100 km out to Gotemba from Tokyo. You get a great view of Mount Fuji while heading there so you never get bored. The outlet mall offers over 200 stores so it will definitely keep your window shopping mind busy. When you run out of money but still have some energy for some extracurricular activities, the base of Mount Fuji is only a short drive from the mall, so head on over for a closer view.
Mt. Tsukuba is popular with mountain climbers during the day and street racers who gather during the night. This 877 m high mountain offers a panoramic view of the Kanto plain, and offers visitors with fresh air from the natural habitat surrounding it. About a 90 km drive from Tokyo, drivers will surely not get bored of the many drive routes around and to the top of the mountain. Of course, in order to get to the summit, you will have to get out of the car and hike, but the rest stop by the cable car offers restaurants and places to buy souvenirs.
The Hakone Turnpike is a popular destination for automotive enthusiasts and motorcycle riders, both on the weekdays and weekends. The Turnpike is a toll road with a great combination of corners to test your driving technique, all the way up to the 1011 m high peak. At the top of the road is the “View Lounge” where you can find something to eat from the many restaurants in the vicinity while gazing at the beautiful views of Lake Ashinoko and Mount Fuji. Be prepared to allow your mind and body to just completely be free, because you certainly will be.
Here they were, a couple popular driving destinations from Tokyo. So next time you’re in town, don’t forget to prepare your international license because you’ll surely don’t want to miss out on these local favorites.