The most scenic roads in Japan

Take a leisurely drive through the rice fields, the tea fields and the pine forests. Find your way between the mountains and along the valleys to the most remote spa towns. The car takes you to the heart of the most spectacular scenery of the archipelago. Here is a small sample of the roads not to be missed.

For more scenic roads, read our article on the 7 regions to visit by car in Japan



The Nakasendo Road

A trip from Tokyo to Kyoto via Mount Fuji and the Japanese Alps, in the footsteps of olden-day postal workers.

From Tokyo, head to the town of Kawaguchiko for a night in the refinement of  a ryokan-onsen in the shadow of the sacred Mount Fuji. Then head towards the town of Tsumago, nestled in the Kiso Valley, where the river of the same name flows and sets the pace of life of its inhabitants –that has remained almost unchanged for millennia.

The town of Tsumago has retained the architecture of the times when it was a relay station on the road to Nakasendo. Spend a timeless night in this unique setting in a ryokan in the city and in the morning, go on foot to explore the famous hiking trail between Magome and Tsumago. 8 km long, it follows the ancient route used by travelers in the Edo period.

Finally, end your journey by returning to Kyoto, and making a stop at Inuyama Castle, one of the twelve Japanese castles dating from the Edo period that is still standing.


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Sado Island

45 km off the coast of Niigata, in the Sea of Japan, Sado satisfies nature and hiking lovers with its beautiful rugged coastline, two mountain ranges and vast central plain.

Two and a half hours by ferry from Niigata, the harbour town of Ryotsu is the main gateway to the island. This large resort has many hotels and ryokans to spend the night in and several car rental agencies to help you find a vehicle to visit the island.

A ten-minute drive from Ryotsu, Shiizaki Onsen invites you to bathe in hot thermal pools overlooking Kamo Lake and the surrounding mountains.

Then continue your journey to Senkaku-Wan Yuen Natural Park, an hour's drive from Ryotsu. This unspoilt location connects the land to Ageshima island by a 54-meter long bridge. An observatory at the top of the island offers beautiful views of the coastal landscape with rock formations, cliffs and white sandy beaches. In the park, there is also an aquarium and seafood restaurants.

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For all our detailed itineraries, visit our dedicated page. 





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