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Self Drive from Osaka or Tokoyo

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Maumelle, Arkansas
posts: 972
reviews: 34
Self Drive from Osaka or Tokoyo

My wife and I want to do a 3-4 day stopover in Japan on the way home from China. We have been to Koyoto before. The JR cost is $130 USDs pp each way from NRT to Takayama. We are considering renting a car and self drive. Is that practical and would parking be an issue in Takayama? The costs for self drive appears to be considerably less? Are they any drawbacks to going this way?

Tokyo, Japan
posts: 1,545
1. Re: Self Drive from Osaka or Tokoyo


posts: 3,298
reviews: 7
2. Re: Self Drive from Osaka or Tokoyo

Someone who's more knowledgeable about driving in Japan (it never occurred to me to drive there) may give you exact figures, but it seems to me that your tolls could be around 10,000 yen (about US$100), and gas somewhere around 5000 yen each way from Narita Airport. I see a parking lot near the Takayama train station that is (or was) 1200 yen a day. http://goo.gl/maps/VVmOR

For the train (comfy and convenient), I see fares around ¥ 17,000 each way from Narita Airport (about US$170), but you could buy JR Rail Passes for 28,300 yen each: http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361.html You could leave the airport as late as 4:18 PM and get to Takayama that night. Returning directly to the airport, you could leave Takayama at 06:47 AM and get to the airport at 12:58 PM. Check schedules here: http://www.hyperdia.com At the bottom of the Results page, uncheck "NOZOMI" and "Private Railway" to just show the trains that the JR Pass covers.

Nara, Japan
Destination Expert
for Nara, Kamikochi
posts: 6,632
reviews: 1
3. Re: Self Drive from Osaka or Tokoyo

Oh, you beat me to this, Hiromi, but let me paste here again: http://www.nouhibus.co.jp/english/tokyo.html

Nohi Bus will be a godsend when you think of the cost involved, OP. Five and a half hours could be reduced to four (or possibly three and a half during nighttime), should you drive yourself, but like Roger says train/bus wins hands down, cost-wise: tolls, gas and rental charge. One thing really nice about driving is, you could enjoy the alpine feel when at the Matsumoto-Takayama leg. But if in winter then you need due care driving in that area...

Edited: 3:52 pm, October 14, 2013
Tokyo, Japan
posts: 14,601
reviews: 90
4. Re: Self Drive from Osaka or Tokoyo

Driving is nice in Spring, Summer, Autumn in the mountains. Not so when you are not used to snow in Winter. Driving is never really cost-effective in Japan in contrast to bus or train.

Driving in/out of big cities like Tokyo and Osaka is one of a heavy burden that my parents and I refuse to do (we are locals; my brother likes silly adventures so he drives, but complains about the magic of highways in Osaka which must have been designed to create congestion). So I can never recommend it to foreign tourist visitors.

Edited: 4:04 pm, October 14, 2013
Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
posts: 34,661
reviews: 77
5. Re: Self Drive from Osaka or Tokoyo

Estimated driving Tokyo to Takayama:

Time: around 6 hours one-way once you fight through Tokyo traffic and allow for time to get lost

Car cost: around 7,000 Yen per day, assume 3 days = 21,000 Yen

Running cost roundtrip: 13,000 Yen tolls, 8,000 Yen gas = 21,000 Yen

Therefore, if you want to economize, take Nohi bus as suggested. If you want to see the smaller towns in the Hida area, you can then just hop on trains and buses from Takayama, or rent a car there for a couple of days which would make sense.

Congleton, United...
posts: 1
reviews: 45
6. Re: Self Drive from Osaka or Tokoyo

No competition, get a JR pass which is only available to tourists. Has to be bought outside Japan though.

posts: 3,298
reviews: 7
7. Re: Self Drive from Osaka or Tokoyo

Another thought: Since you have only a few days, you could stay in Tokyo and look for glimpses of old Japan in and around the city. Here's a relevant discussion: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g298184-i861-k6914…

My choices (all but one have pages at http://www.japan-guide.com/ ) would be:

Nihon Minkaen, a nice collection of old houses not far from Tokyo; this is a half-day excursion.

Kamakura, even if you saw all the temples in Kyoto. I'd start with the three temples around Kitakamakura station, then Diabutsu (the great Buddha).

Edo-Tokyo Museum. It does a great job of telling the extraordinary history of the city. Kiyosumi Teien, a lovely garden is two stops (or so) further on on the Oedo subway line. Near the garden is tiny Fukagawa Edo Museum (not in Japan Guide--see here: tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1066449-d… ) is a contrast to Edo-Tokyo Museum. Here, you wander through an 19th century neighborhood, peering in shops and houses.

8. Re: Self Drive from Osaka or Tokoyo

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