Transportation, michi-no-eki, part two, Road Trippin' Japan (Part One)

Matsumoto Castle

Transportation, michi-no-eki, part two, Road Trippin' Japan (Part One)

Toyota Noah

Transportation, michi-no-eki, part two, Road Trippin' Japan (Part One)

Michi-no-eki road station near Nagoya

Breathtakingly beautiful, Japan is filled with mountains, covered with forests and anywhere is rarely more than an hour or two from the ocean. With its mix of peace and noise, old and new, Japan's incredible variety and depth of culture means it pretty much has it all. And while train may be the easiest way to see the country driving allows you to discover just that little bit more.

Here is part one of our short campervan trip through the middle of the country.

Driving in Japan

You'll need an international driving permit so please check your home country's international driving permit websites for more information. Driving in Japan is on the left-hand side of the road and some roads, especially in urban areas, can be quite narrow. Speed limits are generally low – around 20-40 km/h in cities, up to 80 km/h on smaller roads and up to 120 km/h on expressways.

Choose your vehicle so that it suits you

Travelling by campervan is becoming increasingly popular. Many places offer good campervan deals so a quick search online is a good way to start. In our case, we went with a Toyota Noah which, for two people, was perfect. Be sure you have the basic gear all sorted out with gas cookers, cutlery, pillows, blankets and so on.

Transportation, michi-no-eki, part two, Road Trippin' Japan (Part One)

Toyota Noah


When there are no camping sites around, your best bet is a michi-no-eki (道の駅) or roadside station. These are free resting areas for travellers by vehicle and are well equipped with shops, restaurants, clean toilets and depending on the station, an onsen (温泉).

Transportation, michi-no-eki, part two, Road Trippin' Japan (Part One)

Michi-no-eki road station near Nagoya


Though a tad expensive, expressways are convenient. Make sure your vehicle comes with a prepaid electronic toll collection (ETC) card. The ETC allows for smooth passage through the toll gates. Small change is handy though for some gates in rural ares that are manually operated and require cash.

Transportation, michi-no-eki, part two, Road Trippin' Japan (Part One)

Toll gate outside of Tokyo


You can safely leave your vehicle in one of many parking lots, especially in the city. Prices start at around ¥200. Make sure you know, though, whether the price is per hour or per day.

Value for money

Japan doesn't have to be expensive. Vending machine tea or coffee is a bargain at ¥100-200. A couple of stops on the train in Tokyo is around ¥300. A bowl of ramen costs around ¥700 while a proper lunch set with tea, miso soup, fish and rice can be had for around ¥1000. Temple and museum entrance fees range between ¥300 and ¥1000.

Continue reading part two


Enjoying the Sakura, underground!

Sakura Dori line subway. The new Sakara Dori subway tunnel. Red denotes the Sakura Dori line, with station name and number included Sakura Dori line subway. (Photo: PPF) Running 19.1 Kilometers under and across the city of Nagoya is the Nagoya City Rapid Line number six, better known as the…

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Higashiyama Subway

The yellow striped Higashiyama Subway KC Jones at the wheel Nagoya‘s subways are clean and comfortable. The yellow striped Higashiyama Subway (Photo: PPF) Of Nagoya’s four subway systems, the Higashiyama Line is the city’s oldest, having opened in November of 1957 and connecting Nagoya Station with Fushimi and Sakae stations,…

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Riding the Kintetsu to Ise

The Urban Liner The Shima liner Forward View Fields on a cloudy day from the Kintetsu interior of the Shima liner Kintetsu Nagoya station The Urban Liner There are many private train lines in Japan. From Nagoya there is the Nagoya Rairoad (Meitetsu) and the Kinki Regional Railroad (Kintetsu), the…

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New Smart Travel IC Card

For anyone coming to Japan and planning to rely on public transport for travel, having an IC card, sometimes referred to as a smart card, is essential for a seamless journey. These smart cards are excellent time savers when riding the national rails and local subways and can go far…

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Akita Airport to Akita City

Sparkling blue water for diving or swimming in the Oga Peninsula, with a door to door service from Akita Airport on the Airport Taxi Van service Wash all your worries away at the Kuroyu Onsen. The Airport Taxi Van provides door to door access to the Onsens in the Nyuto area…

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Akita City by Bus and Foot

The all-day unlimited rides bus pass may be more convenient and cheaper for multiple (>4) long distance trips to places like Port Selion Tower/ Cruise Ship Terminal and the Lady of Akita Church. Waiting for the Totoro I mean City Bus at JR Akita West Exit Bus Terminal The Youthpal…

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Akita to Aomori by Resort Shirakami

The train pulls into Akita Station on winter's day. Extra large viewing windows line the sides of the train. Even the regular class seats feature great views and spacious walkways with plenty of leg room. Separate booths are also available for those who desire more privacy. Rural village scenery. Great…

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JR Kakunodate Station Akita

Kakunodate Station in Japanese Kanji Script rest area with wooden interior JR Kakunodate cherry blossom painting on the wall Kakunodate Press rickshaw on display The gateway to the Samurai village, JR Kakunodate Station is located on the Akita Shinkansen Line. It takes around 2 hours to get to Kakunodate from Tokyo…

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JR Omagari Station, Akita

Tazawako Station

The Akita Nairiku Line in Winter

Tokyo to Akita by Super Komachi

Yamagata to Akita by Train

Aomori Airport

JR East Aomori Station

Hirosaki Station