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Driving around Fuji Five Lakes/Hakone 2022/2/24 18:34
Hi Guys,

I posted in here a while ago about a planned trip to Japan in April. We have now delayed that to November (again hopefully it will be fine by then!)

We are going for around 25 days, and visiting Kyoto, Nara, Koyasan, Osaka, Kanazawa, Shirakawa-Go, Takayama, Fuji Five Lakes and Hakone, and finally Tokyo.

For the Fuji Five Lakes section, I was planning to get the bus from Takayama to Kawaguchiko Station and then rent a car for 3/4 days.

I have never driven in Japan before, but looking on google maps the area around the Five Lakes and to Hakone don't seem like massive inner-city roads. Do you think this is a reasonable plan?

Thanks in advance :)
by chrissimmons21  

Re: Driving around Fuji Five Lakes/Hakone 2022/2/25 07:27
Driving in Japan isn't anywhere as complicated as it may seem, even inner city drives don't compare to let's say driving in any typical medieval town in Italy or Spain.
All cars I ever rented in Japan were automatic, so you dont need to worry that you need to change gears with the "wrong hand" (assuming you come from a country driving on the right). Being automatic all the cars also tend to be slowish. And as the steering wheel is on the right side of the car, it is quite easy not to forget on which side of the road you are supposed to drive. (I have a much harder time to remember that when riding on my bicycle... specially when I return back to Europe)
Streets might be a bit less wide than in other countries, but traffic is generally quite slow and no abrupt speed changes. So just take it easy, go with the flow, and you shall be fine.
by LikeBike (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Driving around Fuji Five Lakes/Hakone 2022/2/25 08:01
Light traffic in most areas. Good roads. Doubtful you will have issues driving.
by H (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Driving around Fuji Five Lakes/Hakone 2022/2/25 09:46
Due to light traffic, you might drive on the right side, especially after making a right turn.
narrow roads has no center lines. you may lose your positions.
heavy traffic may help you to keep your left positions.
by ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Driving around Fuji Five Lakes/Hakone 2022/2/25 12:22
Driving in less busy areas in Japan is one of the things I like to do.

In general - you will find that some areas will be very quiet (drive between Hakone to Fuji Five Lakes) but some may be busy (driving around main sections of Hakone during a weekend in autumn).

Possibly getting a train to Odawara and hiring a car there (which is where you will return it) could possibly be a good idea.

One thing that others may be able to talk about is - what's the parking like in the main sites around Hakone? Is there plenty of parking? Is it free or is it paid parking? Others on the forum will know this better than I.

The reason I bring this up - is some locations charge 500 yen for parking and if you stop at 4 places that day it adds up to $20 USD. If you are traveling as a single - this quickly adds up.

Do note that both Fuji Five Lakes and Hakone has good public transport links for regional areas of Japan but I can also see the benefit of hiring a car here - specifically when driving between the two towns.

Also have a good look on Google Maps and Trip Advisor for things to do between the two locations - as these sites often can be great. Do note that Hakone is nice but attraction prices here are often much higher than other locations so it's not the best place for people on a tight budget if they want to visit lots of museums and galleries.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Driving around Fuji Five Lakes/Hakone 2022/2/25 20:19
Thanks all!

Fortunately for me, I live in the UK where we drive on the left anyway! I was more worried about signage etc, but I suppose Google Maps takes a lot of the problems out of that.

by chrissimmons21 rate this post as useful

Re: Driving around Fuji Five Lakes/Hakone 2022/2/25 20:29
Ups. Yeah if you are from the UK it should be totally fine. Most Sings now are bilingual plus you have Google maps. Or- I would suggest to rent a car with a build in navigation system, so you donft need to use your internet while on the road.
Enjoy!

Do some research though on the driving license you need. I donft know for UJ, but for German driving license I needed to go to an office in Tokyo, request a Japanese authorization. It took a few hours (actually I simply went back the the next day to pick it up ). Was easy enough but you need a morning or two days in Tokyo (or some other major city) to do it.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Driving around Fuji Five Lakes/Hakone 2022/2/25 20:53
Ouch likebike - that sucks. For Australia - they just need an international drivers license and their normal license. It might be the same for the UK - but a quick google search should spring an answer.

When it comes to renting a car- almost all cars have Car Navigation but it's a bit clunky when it's changed to English. However - I've found that finding the Japanese phone number and plugging it into the navigation often works a treat. It also gets rid of any problems on using a phone when you are driving (I don't know the exact rules for driving and using a phone in Japan). I often write down the locations I want to visit and their phone numbers before I go overseas as potential options before I travel for the fun of it. I've found it often works a treat
by mfedley rate this post as useful

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