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Self drive Tohoku region in mid November 2019/4/15 02:08
We are 2 families each with an 8 year old, and in the very initial stage of planning a self drive trip to Tohoku during mid to end November.
I understand itfs in between season and not popular time to visit this region, but itfs the only period when we can go. I also googled a lot and canft find much info on driving in November period.

Our intentions is to fly to Aomori and drive downwards to Tokyo in 10 days.
My question is, is it feasible to drive during this period? We hope to see snow but not keen to drive if it snows heavily, or if there will be road closures during this time. We want to do a slow paced and explore the region even in the off peak season.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated!!
by Karin lien (guest)  

Re: Self drive Tohoku region in mid November 2019/4/15 10:48
Others will know better - but here is my knowledge.

Snow is not guaranteed at this time and more kicks in around December. As such, being very flexible with your locations is important.

Driving on the main roads is something that you should consider if it snows (I hate driving in snow so move away from it like the plague!)

There might also be some beautiful fall colours in lower Tohoku as well in late November (or at least in Tokyo). Also note that apart from major roads, Japanese country roads are not always the best for large cars as they can be quite narrow. Just giving you the heads up.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Self drive Tohoku region in mid November 2019/4/15 12:42
I live in Tohoku.
It is possible that it is snowing late November. Especially in Aomori Prefecture.

Some roads are blocked during the winter season, but if you don't try to go over the mountain there will be little impact.

This site will surely help you.
by LinaLisa (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Self drive Tohoku region in mid November 2019/4/16 08:19
Hi guys

Base on both your replies, we most likely will scrap the idea of going Tohoku in November. Maybe do Chubu area or Izu peninsular during that time to see the awesome autumn views. Will continue with my research.

Lina, I will keep the Tohoku link for future use!

Thanks so much for both your valuable inputs!!
by Karin lien (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Self drive Tohoku region in mid November 2019/4/16 13:33
Have you thought about Chugoku which is quite pretty and much less built up? Plus - there will be some absolutely amazing fall colours as well??

If interested - I could put together a suggested schedule based on what stuff you like and knowing a starting and finishing location.....
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Self drive Tohoku region in mid November 2019/4/16 23:24
Hi M Fedley (hope I got your name right), I did some search about Chugoku and it does look like a really nice place for self drive and some off the beaten tracks (we donft really like touristy places and want to experience the real Japan)
We are into Japanese food definitely!! And like nature, some trekking, some onsen Ryokan...
Your recommendations on Chugoku will be most valuable to us since we are undecided on which area yet. Thanks in advance!
by Karin lien (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Self drive Tohoku region in mid November 2019/4/17 00:01

Since Chugoku is so large, it's pretty difficult to pinpoint a couple of specific areas.

There is 10 days worth of stuff on the south coast alone but the north coast has some fantastic areas.

My highlights for the north coast include: Hagi, Matsue + surrounds


On the south coast - I quite like Okayama and surrounds but many other people also like Hiroshima but it's not my favorite. There are also some really nice art islands in the Seto sea which are also worth a visit. Note that the south has much more traffic....


I was going to suggest what exactly to do - but there is too much to choose from. Note that Kyushu is also nice around this time as well....
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Self drive Tohoku region in mid November 2019/4/20 18:02
Thanks M Fedley
Your links are very detailed and extremely helpful. Saves us tons of efforts!
Really appreciate!
by Karin Lien (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Self drive Tohoku region in mid November 2019/5/15 17:08
Hi, in researching information for my trip later this year, I run into this post and notice that my to-be-planned trip, a self-drive in Tohoku starting from Aomori down to Tokyo in the last two weeks in November, is the same as what Karin planned initially - albeit Karin seemed to have scrapped the idea.
My questions though to the fellow users in this site, are:
(1) Will the last 2 weeks in November still reasonably driveable without much snow, especially in the Aomori region. Definitely not prefer to drive in the snow for me.
(2) Will the weather be very cold? What sort of day range will be like? Some weather forecast sites are very varied.
(3) We want to go/hike say, the Oirase Gorge and The Shirakami Forest Walking Trail. Are the roads still open and the two places are accessible?
(4) While the time will certainly be passed the peak Autumn forage, I wonder if all the leaves would have fallen already by then and the places are fairly barren? What do I expect to see, nature-wise - other than less crowded, I presume?
We have 4 adults and want a relaxing trip, seeing nature - a lot of it, trekking (not extensively), lots of food and onsen.
Any advice/ insights will be grateful!
by wmt01 rate this post as useful

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