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Road Trip in Japan 2019/5/2 00:23

I have been looking at driving in Japan in June and I would like some advice on my best course of action.

My starting point is Tokyo and I am aiming to get as far as Sapporo and back in a 10 day trip with stops in Sandai, Matsushima Bay, Hakodate, Sapporo, Yonezawa and Mt Zao.

I am looking at the road tolls and all I can find is the Tohoku Expressway Pass and the Hokkaido Expressway Pass but I cannot find one for Kanto. Are there any tolls between Tokyo and Sendai before I get into the Tohoku region where the Expressway Pass will come into affect?

If there is, what are the toll roads costs?

Any other information will be much appreciated.

Kind Regards,

by Woodhouse  

Re: Road Trip in Japan 2019/5/2 10:41

I'm not sure of the cost of the tolls (you can do a google search to get to the website that helps you figure out how to calculate tolls, it's partially dependent on day of the week, time and type of car you are using) but if you plan to take expressways out of Tokyo to anywhere there are tolls. All expressways in Japan are toll roads.

Just be aware that the TEP Pass must be gotten at the location you rent your car. It won't automatically start just because you've crossed into an area covered by it. You need to specifically get a rental that has a special ETC card that includes the pass. If you start your rental in Tokyo you will not have a TEP pass. The same will hold true for the Hokkaido Pass. You must start the rental on Hokkaido in order to receive the correct ETC card which will cover the Pass.

The TEP pass starts at Shirakawa possibly Shin-Shirakawa on the shinkansen station, I'm not quite 100% sure.

It's counterintuitive, but you honestly might need to just get this pass:

And use it to get to Sendai and rent a car from there to go to Zao and Yonezawa. I would just pay out of pocket and take the train to Matsushima. It might be faster by car, but parking is going to be pretty miserable there from what I can remember, since the main sightseeing area seems designed to be car free. You can then take the train to Hakodate and rent a car from there for your explorations around Hokkaido and then return said car in Hakodate before taking the shinkansen back to Tokyo It will probably save you money since it is going to run you 8000 yen each way by shinkansen just to get from Tokyo to Koriyama where I know the TEP pass kicks in. If you take non-shinkansen trains it's still going to cost you 4000 yen and take over 4 hours to get from Tokyo to Koriyama.

This will also help with your travel between Aomori and Hokkaido, since you'd still be looking at the cost (and time) of a car ferry. This also solves any potential issues should your car rental contract preclude taking a car from Honshu to Hokkaido. I know one way rentals aren't allowed and it's possible they don't want even a round trip rental since if the car has a problem, it's then stuck on Hokkaido.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Road Trip in Japan 2019/5/2 14:43
Here is a link to a road toll calculator you might find useful.
by Stan Norrell rate this post as useful

Re: Road Trip in Japan 2019/5/2 15:33
Also need to factor in car ferry costs Aomori to Hakodate and back.

The fare for mini cars each way total combined is the samy as a 14 day JR East/Hokkaido pass.

Might be better off using the train, and just hire a car separately in Sapporo and Sendai.

by hakata14 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Road Trip in Japan 2019/5/2 15:36
Ferry costs 26000-30000 yen.

JR East-South Hokkaido pass is 19000 yen.
by hakata14 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Road Trip in Japan 2019/5/2 18:48
As a general advise. In Japan car makes sense for remote areas with little train connections, but not for those areas that are well covered by Shinkansen or express trains, as trains are so much faster.

So what PP said is a very good advise. Do the long distance travel by train and the rent in location a car for a day or two (or even just for a few hours) to get to that remote place you like to see.

Note, I have been driving in Japan but always only to / in remote locations.

Enjoy your trip to Japan!
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Road Trip in Japan 2019/5/3 04:04
I agree with LikeBike, itfs going to be much more expensive (and very inconvenient within cities). Unless youfre just dead-set in the idea of driving.
by Gregalor rate this post as useful

Re: Road Trip in Japan 2019/5/3 07:02
With the list of your destinations I would do:

Tokyo - Yonezawa: Shinkansen (per google maps 4:10 by car be 2:10 by Shinkansen)
Yonezawa - Mt Zao - Yamagata: car
Yamagata -Sendai: train (1:10 for both car and train, so if drop off fees and parking arenft too high you could keep the same car from Yonezawa to Furukawa)
Sendai - Matsushima bay - Furukawa or back to Sendai: rental car
Furukawa (or Sendai) - Hakodate: Shinkansen (here is the biggest difference by train Sendai Hakodate (not shin Hakodate but actual Hakodate is 2:54, by car 8:30!) if you opt for Furukawa it is 4h by train as you need to change from a slow Shinkansen to a fast one. So it depends on if it is faster to drive back to Sendai or not.
Hakodate- Sapporo: Train (3:50 by train, 4:20 by car, sorry no Shinkansen in Hokkaido after shin Hakodate)
Sapporo -Tokyo: flight (flight probably around 4 -5 h from city center to city center. Car 16h, so two days, while you can have teo full days in Sapporo and get an evening flight. )

Enjoy your trip to Japan!

by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

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