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Driving from Nikko to Takayama or train it?????

Perth, Australia
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Driving from Nikko to Takayama or train it?????

We are considering driving from Nikko to Takayama next April and have a few questions that I have not been able to get answers from threads on this subject.

Can anyone help me with these questions please:

* Can we pick up a hire car at Nikko and return it in Takayama?

* Are there any toll roads and if so does anyone know the amount for the tolls?

* What is the price of petrol currently?

* How long would it take?

* We are Australians so are use to driving on the left side of the road but is it dangerous driving on this route????????

Thanks

Pam

Narooma, Australia
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1. Re: Driving from Nikko to Takayama or train it?????

I suggest you read Lonely Planet's advice on driving in Japan, so you know what to expect. They suggest if you are simply travelling from A to B (Nikko to Takayama), you are usually better off going by train or bus. One way hires, they also suggest, can be expensive.

Kanazawa, Japan
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2. Re: Driving from Nikko to Takayama or train it?????

According to the Japanese navigation website http://www.navitime.co.jp/

Nikko to Takayama by using toll roads is 397 km, takes 8 1/2 hours and costs ¥6,600. Avoid the toll and the distance is only 312 km but it takes just under 12 hours.

Regular unleaded gasoline today in Kanazawa is ¥114/liter.

Dangerous? No more I would guess than any other trip driven on unfamiliar roads in an unfamiliar vehicle.

Rental cars can usually be dropped off at other location, but there is a fee, which will vary from company to company and probably rate by rate. Be aware that the cheaper rentals are tiny cars of 1000 cc, and are pretty unpleasant for long trips.

Hong Kong, China
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for Hong Kong, Osaka
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3. Re: Driving from Nikko to Takayama or train it?????

I don't think the route is particularly dangerous. Drop-off charge may well exceed 25,000 Yen. Add the 6,600 toll charge and then gasoline charge, and then gasoline plus the rental car fee itself. You may have a bill that exceeds 50,000 Yen easily.

Taking the train is sort of a pain though as it requires at least 4 transfers and 15,000 to 17,000 Yen per person. You just have to do the math and decide.

Palo Alto...
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4. Re: Driving from Nikko to Takayama or train it?????

You shouldn't do this drive within one day, assuming your route is to traverse from the east side of the Japanese Alps to the west side. This drive is called the "Romantic Road." Takayama is not on the Romantic Road proper but you can drive from Ueda to Takayama via Matsumoto. Along the RR, you'll find some of the very best onsen ryokans and mountain towns in the country. To completely enjoy what the region has to offer, this drive should take 3-4 full days. (There are discussions about the Romantic Road in this forum--do a search.)

In fact, there is no direct train lines connecting Nikko to the mountain towns in Gunma and Nagano Prefectures.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e7450.html

Roads are well maintained in Japan and thus you don't have to worry about safety. There are lots of turns and descends/ascends in the Alps, but they are ok if you don't fall asleep when you drive.

Perth, Australia
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5. Re: Driving from Nikko to Takayama or train it?????

Thanks Guys

Looks like we will give the driving a miss due to the costs.

If we take the train with our JR rail pass can you recommend a town to stop in overnight between Nikko & Takayama to enjoy the mountain area?

I believe there will not be much snow about when we plan to be there about 9 April. My husband would love to ski but I read from these forums it is not really possible in Honshu at this time.

Palo Alto...
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6. Re: Driving from Nikko to Takayama or train it?????

How many do you have in your party?

In fact, if you have 2+ ppl, then driving is not that expensive. Perhaps you can do further research to see if what the cost should be.

Many of the scenic spots and nice ryokans in the Alps are painful to reach by trains (you'll have to transfer from trains to buses anyway). Time is money too.

Anyway, if you insist on using trains, then consider the JR East Pass (covers only the east side of Honshu up to Matsumoto). It covers the Tobu trains connecting Tokyo to Nikko. I believe the nationwide JR Rail Pass does not cover the Tobu trains to Nikko and within the Nikko area.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2361_02.html

http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/eastpass/index.html

From Matsumoto, you can take a bus to Takayama.

Perth, Australia
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7. Re: Driving from Nikko to Takayama or train it?????

Thanks Doggieluver

There is 2 of us and we also plan to go to Hiroshima so need the JR rail pass that covers from Nikko to Hiroshima.

Hiring a car would be more convenient but is sounds complicated and expensive. I also worry about us getting lost as we do not read or speak Japanese.

Thanks for your thoughts anyway.

Pam

8. Re: Driving from Nikko to Takayama or train it?????

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