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driving from Tsumago to Kanazawa 2007/9/21 13:12
in a few weeks I will be in Japan and intend to hire a car in Matsumoto and drive to Tsumago/Magome and then Kanazawa then Shirakawago and Takayama and back to Matsumoto. Any suggestions on which roads to take from Tsumago to Kanazawa. I think I should go via Toyama.....the rest seems straightforward....
by Lindsay  

... 2007/9/23 10:42
The fastest way from Tsumago to Kanazawa would be to travel via Nagoya and Shirakawago, using the Chuo and Tokai-Hokuriku Expressways and a 35 kilometer section along national route 156. It takes about 3.5 hours.
by Uji rate this post as useful

tolls 2007/9/23 11:29
that sounds great but are the expressways toll roads? - I was hoping to avoid paying too many tolls as I hear they are expensive and I would rather take a little longer and see more along the way anyway
by Lindsay rate this post as useful

driving from Tsumago to Kanazawa 2007/9/23 13:48
The expressways are toll roads and they can be expensive, but you save a lot of time.

If you are determined to stay off the expressways, one way to drive to Kanazawa is to go via National Road 256...it kind of zig-zags across to Gujo Hachiman, at which point if you are sick of the local roads, you can hop on the Tokai Hokuriku Expressway. If not, you can continue north on 156, which basically parallels the expressway.

Then once past Shirakawago you have the option again of staying on local roads or hopping on the expressway before turning west to Kanazawa. I have not been north past Shirakawago but last month I drove the stretch of 256 across Gifu - the other way, from Gujo Hachiman to the Kiso Valley.

256 calls itself 'National Road' but there are places where is a single lane and you have to watch out for oncoming traffic. There are many pullover spots and there is very little traffic...it's quite rural and scenic, mostly along river valleys, although the road does climb here & there and also it's quite winding. The last stretch to Gujo climbs quite a bit. Coming back down you start to see the castle of Gujo through the trees but don't get too distracted.

Signage is good although there are intersections where you have to be alert - and one stretch where you pick up 41 for a while, then turn off again. It was quite tricky going the other direction, don't know how that spot looks going east to west.

You go through tiny towns and past beautiful rice fields. I enjoyed it quite a bit. It will take you longer than the expressway. But like I said, when you get to Gujo Hachiman you have the option of taking the toll road if you're falling behind on time. Expressways take major credit cards, if you're in a bind for cash.

Have a good map.

From Shirakawago you could also head west on 360, although part of that is a toll road. Then take 157 north. You'll pass something...I don't know what...but my map book has a note where 360 and 157 come together, that says, 'drive- in served dishes of bear'. 15 years ago a friend and I tried to find this - restaurant? - and never did. Go, and tell me what you find!
by Spendthrift rate this post as useful

... 2007/9/23 13:51
Tolls for a regular car will be about 6000 Yen. On regular roads, the journey probably takes about twice as long or longer. Then I would also consider the route via Gero, Takayama and Shirakawago.
by Uji rate this post as useful

... 2007/9/23 14:35
thank you both very much - as I want to go to Takayama and Shirakawago I think I will go via one route to Kanazawa and another coming back - I'm looking forward to that bear sandwich (maybe not so much....)
by Lindsay rate this post as useful

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