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Driving Nagoya-Tokyo 2007/10/30 16:26

We will be on a 12 days driving trip from:
The problem is we can't seem to find any English road maps. Can anyone help us out on the driving route?
Now I am even worried about getting from Centrair airport to Sakae, Naka-ku where our hotel is located since we are picking the car up from the airport.
1. Which expressway/route/exits do we take from Centrair to Sakae?
2. From Sakae/Nagoya, how do we get on to Takayama?
3. From Takayama, which route to take to Shirakawago?
4. From Shirakawago, do we have to go back to Takayama to make our way to Hakuba? and which route do we take?
5. From Hakuba, how do we make our way to Shinjuku, Tokyo?

Thank you so much for any help we cn get.
by EM74  

maps 2007/10/31 04:54
I live in North America and we can easily get maps of Japan and of the major Japanese cities in English showing the major roads etc. you can also get local maps on the internet but it is much harder..How about asking your local Auto club or/ and writing either the Japanese embassy in you country or JNTO?. see www.jnto.go.jp/eng/ and www.seejapan.co.uk/whatis/
globaloff.ht. they will send you maps as they want to promote tourism in Japan.
I don't want to sound sarcastic or condescending but shouldn't you have looked for maps before planning your trip? driving on major roads isn't too hard as destinations are posted in the Roman alphabet. the main problem is parking as in major towns it is very hard to find a spot and Japanese drivers, even more so than European ones, park in the tighest spots possible. They also have automated parking machines that are rather scary to use...
also what look like normal parking lots have devices that spring out under or in front of a car to prevent it from beeing driven out without paying and of course all the instructions on the tickets machines are in Japanese only..
by Sensei 2 rate this post as useful

driving Nagoya to Tokyo 2007/10/31 06:06
There is a bilingual road atlas with an orange cover - Road Atlas Japan 1:250,000 - which you can buy from Amazon.com (through one of their sellers, not from amazon.com itself). That's the book I use to drive all over the place. It's a little pricey but it can get you where you want to go.
I think the best place to go to find out how to get to your hotel in Nagoya is the hotel itself, can you ask them for detailed directions? be sure they know you have a car & they probably have parking.
Takayama to Shirakawa-go is a simple drive, follow 158 out of town and then turn north on 156 - there will be signs, though if I remember right there will be a couple places on 156 where the signs are in kanji - might be good to have the kanji for 'Shirakawa-go' ready.
From Shirakawa-go you don't necessarily have to go back to Takayama to get to Hakuba, you can go north to the Hokoriku Expwy, go along the Sea of Japan coast, then head south again into Nagano. I'm not sure which is faster but that way you have more Expwy - faster but more expensive.
I recommend the book, it'll get you there, but have some patience (sometimes it's not as detailed as I'd like). Most hotels & ryokans have maps on their websites, see if you can find them - even if they are in japanese, route numbers are route numbers, and you can figure them out.
Parking should no be a problem except in Nagoya; I've never had a problem in Takayama or Shirakawa-go. Your hotel should be able to provide parking though.
It also works out pretty well if you flip-flop Shirakawa-go and Takayama.
by Spendthrift rate this post as useful

me again 2007/10/31 14:27
I've been thinking about it and unless you have specific dates you're working with in each location, it makes more send to me to go Nagoya-Shirakawa-go - Takayama - Hakuba.
From Nagoya then you could take the Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway to 156 to Shirakawa-go. It's pretty straight until the last bit, then just watch the signs for Shirakawa-go.
Then backtrack a little bit on 156 to find 158 which you can then take to Takayama.
From Takayama you take 158 across to the Nagano Expwy, then up to Hakuba.
It's not all that hard, although I have written it more simply that it will actually be.
by Spendthrift rate this post as useful

more driving questions 2007/10/31 16:41

Sorry to hijack this thread, but I have some similar questions about driving through the Gifu area. I'm considering renting a car to drive from Kanazawa-Shirakawago-Takayama-Matsumoto stopping at each location to stay for the night. Would this be a feasible drive? I'm assuming it would be quicker than the bus, which would be good since I've only scheduled one night at each location.
This would also be during Winter, around December 20th this year, so would snow or winter conditions be a problem on the road? Would it be difficult to navigate?

by jackie rate this post as useful

driving Gifu 2007/10/31 17:21
I don't know about driving from Kanazawa to Shirakawa-go; I've never been to Kanazawa. It looks close and pretty easy. But not having tried it....
The drive from Shirakawa-go to Takayama is not hard. It's possible that there could be snow by December 20; hard to say. The last time I drove there in winter it was December 23rd and there was patchy packed snow on the last stretch of the road, which winds around a bit. I was nervous, but it turned out okay. Shirakawa-go itself, having just received quite a bit of snow, was gorgeous, but we couldn't get up to the famous viewpoint to see the village from up high. We had the misfortune/fortune to arrive there just after a very big snowstorm - it may be that usually there isn't snow on the road at all. I remember hearing that it had snowed in Kyoto that day as well, who knows how usual that is.
Anyway, the drive to Takayama is straightforward, the only interesting part is navigating back to the highway and that's not bad. 158, again, can have snow, but Dec 20 is early I'd think. 158 is well-travelled in any case so stays pretty clear...we found, still, on that trip, that on 158 from Shirakawa-go to Takayama there were patches here & there of snow. From Takayama to Matsumoto, though, it was completely clear sailing, though quite snowy in town.
You can get from each of those towns to the other in plenty of time to spend a night in each. Takayama to Matsumoto is tiring, though, because you are on 158 the whole way, and while it's not that narrow a road (it has two lanes all the way), it does have a lot of curves, so you have to pay attention. You can hardly get lost though, there are not that many places to turn off and the road is well-marked.
I think it's a fairly easy area to navigate. Signs are frequent and in English. The only spot I remember having to work a bit was near Shirakawa-go, and still we made it with no wrong turns so anyone can.
If you want to splurge I recommend the Ryokan Nagase in Takayama, it's lovely.
by Spendthrift rate this post as useful

Thanks! 2007/10/31 21:47
Thank you so much Spendthrift! We will be following your directions and fingers crossed, we get to all the places!

Actually this road trip is a last minute thing, a bunch of us girls just wanted to take the scenic route and within a day, managed to get all the places and car booked.

So wish us luck!

PS: we cant do the flip flop coz all the ryokans have been booked :-( now wish have posted first b4 reserving on impulse, oh never mind, lets see where this trip lead us...
by EM74 rate this post as useful

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