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Autumn Road Trip

Autumn Road Trip

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Old Nov 2, 18, 4:06 am
  #1  
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Autumn Road Trip

Hi everyone,

I know I am very early. But I am a bit of a fanatic trip planer and love to make plans ahead of time. At the moment I read the autumn reports on Japan Guide carefully and came up with a rough plan for a 12 day trip next year.

I would love your feedback, especially regarding the amount of travel per day, choice of areas and most importantly feedback if the timing is right to make the most of the beautiful autumn colors.

Trip would be by car to be flexible in exploring the nature. Focus is on hiking and enjoying the countryside rather then the big city’s.

Day 1: Arrival in Tokio
Day 2: Drive to Ashinomaki
Day 3: Hiking in Aizuwakamatsu / Urabandai
Day 4: Drive to Minakami (Prefecture Gunma, Stay at the Hoshi Onsen Chojukan)
Day 5: Hiking on Mt Tanigawa
Day 6: Drive to Kanazawa
Day 7: Kanazawa
Day 8: Drive to Fuji / 5 Lakes Area
Day 9: 5 Lakes
Day 10: Drive to Tokyo
Day 11: Tokyo
Day 12: Departure

The right timing seems to be a bit tricky. The Aizuwakamatsu / Urabandai area demands a relatively early visit compared to Kanazawa and Fuj/ 5 Lakes. I think starting the trip between the middle and the end of October would be the best compromise. Do you agree?

The trip consists a fair amount of travel, between 200 to 400km (125-250miles) every second day. I thought of maybe skipping the Aizuwakamatsu / Urabandai area instead of something close to Minakami (but probably not as remote as the Hoshi Onsen Chojukan) where we could spend four days for example, to explore the area. Any ideas?

Any feedback and ideas are more then welcome! Thanks :-)
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Old Nov 2, 18, 7:24 am
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If you are talking about the foliage then it is mother nature, really cannot predict what you will get during your travel.

Only thing I can say is that if you happen to hit the place during the peak of the foliage and happened to be a weekend, then traffic will be very heavy and will take a lot longer to get to places (if weather of that day is nice). Wait for parking space can also be bad during a weekend at the peak of the foliage (again, especially if weather is nice that day).

Popular foliage locations can get very busy during the season, and can heavily dependent on the weather which you cannot predict in advance.
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Old Nov 2, 18, 7:44 am
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It looks okay for a road trip ... but I would find it a bit hectic for a nature-focused trip. I'd suggest making fewer stops and spending an extra day or two hiking in each area. From Kanazawa, for example, you can easily go north to the Noto peninsula or south to Hakusan National Park.

In terms of what to skip - You could look into bookending the trip with flights or trains rather than with driving from Tokyo and back to Tokyo. It's possible to fly Narita-Komatsu (near Kanazawa) for example. No doubt the one-way rental fees and rail/air fares would increase the cost of the trip somewhat, but it relieves you of the less interesting driving, and maximizes your time in the places you want to visit. I'd also skip the Fuji Five Lakes region - I think Lake Motosu and Lake Yamanaka are comparatively unspoiled but still developed compared to some other regions that you're going to. The development around Lake Kawaguchi just gives me a headache. YMMV.

(In Yamanashi, Shosenkyo is probably the famous foliage viewing spot. On peak days, it is exactly as AlwaysAisle described - chock full of cars, and very difficult to find parking).

Last edited by jib71; Nov 2, 18 at 4:49 pm Reason: Noto peninsula - not "Notoriously pensinsula"
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Old Nov 2, 18, 10:23 am
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Originally Posted by jib71 View Post
... go north to the Notoriously peninsula ....
Darned auto-correct!

Otherwise, I agree that this seems pretty ambitious. Crowds, traffic, fuel and parking will be more of a problem than many might think.
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