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Top 4 Places to Drive to For Autumn Foliage

Japan has spectacular sights of nature, many of which can be seen from behind the wheel of a car - bonus if it is a convertible! Autumn in Japan is the season when all the leaves turn spectacular shades of yellow, orange and red. Fall foliage can be observed in some places in central Tokyo, however it is best to head out into the countryside. We put together a list of four places to visit this autumn.

#1 Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Avenue (Tokyo) - this avenue is located in central Tokyo, about a 5 minute drive from Harajuku. The Ginkgo Avenue is about 300 meters long and features 146 ginkgo trees all planted 9 meters apart, creating a bright yellow tunnel of trees at the peak of the autumn season. Parking is hard to come by here, but it is not necessary. It is very fun to drive in circles around the area, and it is possible to stop by on the side of the road for a short period of time.

Bonus - Jingu Gaien Ginkgo Avenue is also a hotspot for supercars all year round - to see supercars gathering in the area, visit on a Sunday just after lunch time.

#2 Hakone Turnpike (Kanagawa) - A private piece of mountain road that winds through the heart of the Hakone region, featuring curves and corners which are great for feeling a supercar's nimble handling, the Turnpike is a supercar owner’s favorite. During autumn, visitors can enjoy the nature of Hakone with its colorful foliage and the field of pampas grass. The Hakone Turnpike is about a 90 minute drive from Tokyo, however be prepared to leave quite early to escape the notorious traffic jams of the Tomei Expressway. Also, as the turnpike is a private road, there is a separate toll charged which can only be paid by cash.

Bonus - Be sure to visit Mt. Mikuni - about a 20 minute drive from the Hakone Turnpike on the Ashinoko Skyline - to get a clear picture with your car and Mt. Fuji.

#3 Fuji Five Lakes (Yamanashi) - Japan’s version of the Great Lakes, it comprises Yamanaka, Kawaguchi, Saiko, Shōji and Motosu Lakes, all located in Yamanashi Prefecture. The closest lake from Tokyo is Kawagichi, only an 80 minute drive from Tokyo, though we suggest heading to Lake Yamanaka first (90 minutes) then working your way to the other lakes in order. The lakes are separated between 10 - 20 minutes of each other.

Bonus - The banks of Lake Saiko are accessible by car right up to the shore of the lake. Line up your car to get a perfect photo of the lake, the autumn foliage, as well as Mt. Fuji in the background.

#4 Irohazaka Winding Road (Tochigi) - A road featured in the popular Japanese car racing comic book and animated series Initial D, deep in the Nikko region of Tochigi prefecture lies a twisty mountain patch called Irohazaka Winding Road. The road runs through a mountain that turns yellow and orange at the peak of autumn, providing perhaps the most sensational experience Japan has to offer for car enthusiasts in the fall.

Which of these places would you like to visit?


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