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Self drive or public transport 2019/5/19 23:24
Hi, we (family of 4) planning to go to Chubu area in 2nd half of Nov. We're flying into Kanazawa, will be going to Toyama, Nagano, Matsumoto, Takayama and Shirakawa-go, will be flying out from Nagoya. I'm thinking to rent a car start from Toyama since the place of interest in Kanazawa are all within the city.

Need your advice on whether self drive is a good idea?

Any website to check on the toll charges?

Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.
by hping  

Re: Self drive or public transport 2019/5/20 15:18
Unless there are places off to the sides of your itinerary, going from Toyama to Nagano and to Matsumoto are all easily covered by train. You wouldn't have to drive, put up with traffic or look for a place to park.

Going from Matsumoto to Takayama and the Shirakawa-go area is nice by car if you cross the mountains going by Kamikochi and Norikura. Getting to Ogimachi and Ainokura and the whole Shirakawa-go area is most easily done by car. You could rent the car in Matsumoto and turn the car in at Takayama after Shirakawa-go and take the train to Nagoya.

Here's a start on tolls:

They aren't cheap but they're not as expensive as they used to be. There are also passes available for tourists.
by Anaguma (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Self drive or public transport 2019/5/20 17:54
No reason for self driving. All places suggested have great public transport options.
by hakata14 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Self drive or public transport 2019/5/20 21:28
The bigger problem vs. tolls are the huge drop off fees. I looked into renting a car in 2017 from Takayama to Matsumoto for 1 day with drop-off in Matsumoto and I believe the fees were 10,000 yen.

There are a lot of buses and bus passes that cover Matsumoto to Takayama. You also can not drive into Kamikochi and some of Norikura is also only accessible via public transport.

Good luck!
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: Self drive or public transport 2019/5/20 21:59

In general, I tend to suggest that people catch public transport in Japan (specifically on Honshu) but where you are traveling and how many people you have changes things quite a bit.

The area where you are focusing on is reasonably mountainous which means that driving is a lot different than what you will find on Singapore. Also don't expect to travel faster by can than train in general (train is often faster in Japan).

It's possible to travel by car and can potentially cost a similar amount as there are 4 of you in total. Your also traveling during fall colors which is one of the busier times in this area but in general driving should be reasonable in the areas you are looking to visit.

One option that is rarely mentioned is catching public transport to your main locations and hiring a car on the odd day you want to get off the beaten track. Your day trip to Shirakawago is a good example of this. My knowledge of parking here is limited though.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Self drive or public transport 2019/5/20 23:31
I donft know about parking in Shirakawa but in Ainokura and Gokayama there is a big parking lot. I donft remember if it was free or not, but if you rent a car, skip Shirakawa and go to Ainokura (and maybe Gokayama). They are considerable nicer.
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

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