Itinerary - Western Japan Driving Tour

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Benji Sun
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Itinerary - Western Japan Driving Tour

Post by Benji Sun » Sun Jul 10, 2016 4:39 am

This is the detailed itinerary of our 11 day journey in Western Japan. We started out in Osaka, and ended in Tokyo, but we took one hell of a detour across 10 different prefectures and along the way, a great array of beautiful vistas, some of which can only be seen in this area of Japan. We were a party of 6 with 3 to a car, and although the itinerary looks rather full, it was actually rather relaxing as we weren’t much of a fan of the night life, we had very full daylight time for sightseeing and taking the scenic route while driving. The options are there for those of you interested in the route but have different tastes, and i’m sure there are places i’ve left out along the route which could be someone else’s cup of tea, like the Dinosaur museum in Fukui and the Snow museum near Kaga Onsen, or due to seasonal reasons like the Kurobe-Tateyama route that’s closed during the winter months. I really like the colder currents of the Sea of Japan and the bounties it brings along the West coastline of Japan. I also edited the original itinerary to reflect on where we ended up visiting.

On car rental: i highly recommend using Tocoo for car rental in Japan. Their pricing is very competitive and they have deals from all the major rental companies which means a wide selection of pick up and drop off locations, and a huge choice of Japanese cars. (also, try to get the phone numbers for as many locations as possible, because you can use the phone numbers as codes for the GPS in the car.)

options have * in front.

For those of you traveling from other destinations, alter the beginning and end schedule as you see fit.

some links may not have English websites.

2013年1月25日 - Day 0
  • Meet at Hong Kong International Airport at around 11pm
2013年1月26日 - Day 1
2013年1月27日 - Day 2
2013年1月28日 - Day 3

This day was originally supposed to be two routes, one staying back in Kanazawa to relax and have more time to see Kenrokuen, but everyone wanted to see the Aviation Plaza, so we went there and came back early to cram more sights in.
  • Breakfast - hotel buffet
  • Drive to Komatsu
  • Visit Ishikawa Aviation Plaza next to Komatsu Airport
    (Photo 1)
  • * Lunch (DEUX et DEUX, a nice little japanese-italian pasta restaurant)
  • Drive back to Kanazawa (we left early and ended up eating lunch at a generic Japanese restaurant in Kohrinbo mall)
  • Parking below 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art
  • * Visit 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (closed Mondays, unfortunately)
    (Photo 1)
  • * Lunch at Kenrokuen Tea Street, bit expensive (1500yen+)
  • * Visit Kanazawa Castle Ruins
    (Photo 1)
  • Visit Kenrokuen (suggest at least 2-3hrs here, we were here for about 3hrs)
    (Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3)
  • Visit Omicho Market
  • Dinner - we ended up seeing some really great foods at the basement supermarket deli in Daiwa mall
  • * Dinner choice 1 (Kanazawa Yakiniku Shishimaru, a great little yakiniku place)
  • * Dinner choice 2 (Negiyaki Kona, a spring onion based okonomiyaki restaurant)
  • * Dinner choice 3 (could buy some sushi takeout and other foods from Omicho Market, park at a nice spot and eat)
  • 2nd night stay in Kanazawa Miyako Hotel
2013年1月29日 - Day 4 2013年1月30日 - Day 5

Car A plan - Early risers
  • Drive to Wajima (Park neat the pier where they make wave breakers, if not snow, you can see workers making them)
    (Photo 1)
  • Visit Wajima Morning Market (close at 12pm)
  • Brunch (Wajima Morning Market)
  • * Enjoy free footbath at Ashiyu Yurari
  • * We ended up walking around that area a bit because the morning market was really lacking that day, and ate lunch at Go Go Curry near the bus terminal
  • Visit Wajima Laquer Museum (don’t break anything, extremely expensive)
  • * Visit Wajima Port (great place to photograph fishermen, fishing boats and sea birds)
    (Photo 1)
  • * Visit Kamogaura point (very slippery and dangerous here)
    (Photo 1)
  • Wajima drive Senmaida- Senmaida photo-op & evening Senmaida lightup
    (Photo 1)
  • * We ended up having more time and drove all the way to Noroshi and back, many amazing stops along the way like a waterfall next to a collapsed tunnel, a few small villages, and a few vantage points along the rugged coastline, and we visited Noroshi Light House, which is the northern tip of Noto Peninsula and the center point on the longitude of Japan.
    (Photo 1, Photo 2)
  • Drive back to Wakura
Car B plan - Laid back Both group meet up at hotel
  • Dinner - traditional kaiseki dinner at hotel
  • * night sky shoot, weather permitting
  • Enjoy onsen
  • 2nd night stay in Yukemurinoyado Biwanso
2013年1月31日 - Day 6
2013年2月1日 - Day 7
  • Breakfast - traditional kaiseki breakfast at hotel
  • Drive to Matsumoto
  • Parking at Shoukouotemon (good parking building in between the castle and Nawate-dori)
  • Visit Matsumoto Castle, gorgeous any time of year.
  • Visit Nawate-dori and Yohashira Shrine, pay 50yen for a pack of pigeon food and pigeons here will climb all over you, remember to take a photo
  • Lunch soba noodles at Suisya (20 minutes drive out and same back in to city)
  • Parking near Matsumoto Station (overnight)
  • Take Hotel-bus to Utukushigahara Peak’s Ougatou Hotel and Check-in (during winter, the road up to hotel is closed to public traffic, remember keep camera close, you can see deer along the road)
    (Enroute: Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3)(At Hotel: Photo 1)
  • Dinner - traditional kaiseki dinner at hotel
  • * night sky shoot, weather permitting (our weather when we arrived at the hotel was horrendous until we left the mountain the next day)
  • * the hotel has some astrophotography seminars (in Japanese), and many people hang out at the lobby cafe with a glass or wine or cup of coffee and chat.
  • Enjoy onsen
2013年2月2日 - Day 8
  • Breakfast - traditional kaiseki breakfast at hotel
  • Short playtime outside in snow (2000m mountain top)
  • Hotel-bus back down to Matsumoto Stn
  • Drive to Tokyo:
Some Sightseeing Location Along This Path:
Suwa Kofu Fuji Five Lakes Near Tokyo
  • * Highway pitstop at Dangouzaka SA
  • * by the time you're here, there's about nothing that's still open so might as well take your time in the traffic jam going into Tokyo.
We ended up visiting Suwa-ko SA and took panorama photos there, and realizing you can’t buy sake at any highway service areas. Then we headed down and missed the Kofu exit. We then visited the mostly melted frozen tree event at Nishi-ko due to a warm weather front, and ate a really late lunch at a Gust Family Restaurant(one of the large chain restaurants, like Jonathan or Denny’s). The best part was seeing Mt. Fuji from the Kawaguchi-ko vantage point before heading back to Tokyo.
  • Check-in at Hotel MyStays Asakusabashi
  • Drivers drop off people and luggage and go return car
  • Return rental car (Akihabara Ekimae UDX – close 8pm) and walk back to hotel
  • Dinner - Sushizanmai Honten at Tsukiji, still my preferred sushiya for good variety, great food at great price.
2013年2月3日 星期日 to 2013年2月5日 - Day 9 to 11

Various people went back to Hong Kong on different days depending on their schedule, the last of us left on the 5th, spending time walking around in Tokyo shopping(almost exclusively in Akihabara) and visiting Sky Tree and other various sights. That’s it. For the most part, weather was great, although this year we were here during a really warm week and a lot of places that should have snow, were somewhat disappointing, while the mountain top night, which shouldn’t be snowing so heavily, did. On the whole, it was an amazing trip filled with great sights and even better food, and being the 2nd time in this area, I really recommend the trip to anyone who wants to see a different Japan than they’re used to along the east coast. There are some areas here where we went for hours without seeing more than a few people, and for a city dweller, it’s great to relax and drive though many towns with most buildings no more than 2 stories high. I wish we had more time to explore the areas around Matsumoto and Mt. Fuji though, especially Suwa, what a beautiful little city we only saw a glimpse of from the SA.

see more photos from each region here
(https://www.facebook.com/moxff/photos_s ... tos_albums)

thwysg
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Re: Itinerary - Western Japan Driving Tour

Post by thwysg » Tue Nov 22, 2016 2:09 pm

Envious. You went to the light-up event in Senmaida and Notojima! Well you did self-drive. We can't, no experience in winter driving. Too bad for us, but there'll still be a chance to go if we decided to stay in Wajima for at least 2 nights.

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Benji Sun
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Re: Itinerary - Western Japan Driving Tour

Post by Benji Sun » Tue Nov 22, 2016 6:52 pm

it's difficult not to drive in that area and just take the bus. the bus schedules are far apart, more so during winter because roads are slippery so they drive slower, and sunset is very early.

last bus on the Machino line will arrive at Senmaida at 6:35pm and reach Wajima Ekimae(front of station) at 6:55pm. any later and there's absolutely no transportation, Senmaida being in the middle of nowhere.

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Re: Itinerary - Western Japan Driving Tour

Post by Benji Sun » Thu Nov 24, 2016 7:32 pm

oh awesome. the shops at Senmaida is selling these pink taiyaki.


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credits: https://www.facebook.com/shiroyonesenma ... 0200105877

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