BumblebeeMum
Central Japan Self-Drive in December
Central Japan Self-Drive in December

Hi BumbleBeeMum,

Happen to chance upon your blog while trying to dig for more info for a self drive trip in Japan.

My family of 4 (with 2 teens) will be visiting Japan this December. We had been to Japan, but only moving around cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto in public transport when kids were younger.

With more time to spend this year, we were thinking of doing a self drive tour around central Japan, starting and ending in Tokyo.

Places to visit include Matsumoto, Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazawa, etc.

Do you think it is safe for us to drive to those places in early December?

Hoping to hear your comments.

By Shirlene on October 9, 2015

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8 Comments

  • Shirlene says:

    Hi BumbleBeeMum,

    Happen to chance upon your blog while trying to dig for more info for a self drive trip in Japan.

    My family of 4 (with 2 teens) will be visiting Japan this December. We had been to Japan, but only moving around cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto in public transport when kids were younger.

    With more time to spend this year, we were thinking of doing a self drive tour around central Japan, starting and ending in Tokyo.

    Places to visit include Matsumoto, Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazawa, etc.

    Do you think it is safe for us to drive to those places in early December?

    Hoping to hear your comments.

    • bumblebeemum says:

      The route you mentioned sounds pretty safe and it is very well-travelled. I doubt you would encounter heavy snow if you don’t venture further North of Matsumoto towards the ski areas. Maybe a little snow on the road if you go to places like Shin Hotaka. If you encounter snow, just drive real snow. And request for snow tyres just in case. Keep to the expressways as the smaller roads may have road closures in winter. You may want to consider the Central Japan Expressway Pass.

  • Hi,

    Im planning a trip to Tokyo, Yamanashi (Lake Kawaguchiko) and Takayama/Tateyame area with my wife, 2 kids, and in laws. I just want to find out whether self driving is good option compared to travelling via train, and what things should I be looking out for when driving in those areas?

    Thank you so much!

    • bumblebeemum says:

      I think self-driving is good for the Mount Fuji region. As for Takayama and Tateyama, they are pretty easy and faster to reach by shinkansen since there is the Hokuriku shinkansen now. However with the number of people you have, it may be more economical to drive. If you plan to visit the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, you will have to look into a vehicle forwarding service. Not sure how much that would cost.

  • Michelle says:

    Hi, is the parking expensive in area like Takayama, Shirakawa and Hakone? Would like to try self-drive trip to Central Japan.
    Many thanks!

  • Yong Tian Chee says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum,

    Thks for all your wonderful sharing of experience. U are truly amazing!

    My family (4 adults n 1 kid) will visit Japan this Dec. I am thinking to do self drive from Yokohama till Mt Fuji then back to Tokyo (tentatively from Dec 6 to Dec 10 or 11). Would be grateful if u can advise scenic route that we can view autumn foliage along the way and Mt Fuji too!

    Many thanks in advance.

    Best regards,
    TC from Malaysia

  • Grace says:

    Hi Bumblebeemum,
    This Blog has been a great help when I’m planning self driving trip in central Japan in February with my 3 young kids. The route is from Narita,Mother’s farm/illumination, mt fuji/hakone area, takayama,shirakawago, kanazawa, Hakuba for skiing then back to narita.for 10 days
    I tried booking with toccoo, but I can only choose 1 plan, If I try to book the one with TEC card then I cannot choose the snow driving option with the chain. how to get all the options in the reservation?I checked and toccoo is cheaper than Times.
    where can I get the central japan expressway pass that you mentioned?is it worth it to get it for the routes that I take,or better to just get the TEC card?

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