-Why not go for a drive, and travel to the hot springs, folk entertainments, and World Heritage sites of northeastern Japan? East Nippon Expressway Co., Ltd. proposes a fun, five-day drive for visitors to Japan, to take in the World Heritage sites, the local folk entertainments, and hot springs in northeastern Japan.
With Tohoku Expressway Pass, you will enjoy a less expensive and more efficient way to visit the natural beauties and the historic and culturally significant shrines and temples throughout Japan’s northeast.
Five Days to Visit World Heritage Sites in Northeastern Japan
DAY ONE: Enjoy hot springs and local folk entertainments in Akita Prefecture
Board the Akita Bullet Train at Tokyo Station and depart for Akita Station. Rent a car at the station and head for Oga Hot Springs, driving onto the Akita Expressway from Akita-Chuo Interchange to Showa-Ogahanto Interchange. Enjoy the live folklore demons dance to the beat of drums “Namahage drums”, and spend the night at a hot springs resort.
DAY TWO: Go hiking in Shirakami-sanchi, a World Heritage site
Depart from Oga Hot Springs, driving onto the Akita Expressway from Showa-Ogahanto Interchange to Futatsui Shirakami Interchange. Head to the Fujisato-kan, the Shirakami-sanchi World Heritage Conservation Center, and go hiking amid the untouched natural splendors of Shirakami-sanchi, a World Heritage site. Afterwards, drive to your next overnight destination, Hachimantai Hot Springs, via the Tohoku Expressway from Futatsui Tamanaka Interchange to the Matsuo Hachimantai Interchange.
DAY THREE: Inhale deeply ancient Japan’s glory at Hiraizumi Chusonji Temple, another World Heritage site, and then spend the night at the Matsushima Coast, taking in one of Japan’s Three Famous Views
Depart Hachimantai Hot Springs and head south from Matsuo Hachimantai Interchange. From Ichinoseki Interchange on the Tohoku Expressway, drive to Hiraizumi, another World Heritage site. Start with the depiction of nirvana that is the Golden Pavilion at Chusonji Temple, and then enjoy the Gardens of Heaven at Moutsuji Temple. End your day by driving via the Sanriku Expressway from Ichinoseki Interchange to Matsushima Kaigan Interchange to visit Matsushima, one of Japan’s Three Famous Views.
DAY FOUR: Shop at Sendai’s outlet malls and spend the night at Zao Hot Springs Resort
From Matsushima Kaigan Interchange, take the Sendai Tobu Road to Sendaiko Interchange, and on to Mitsui Outlet Park Sendai Port. Enjoy shopping for a variety of brand-name items, and then drive to Yamagata Zao on the Yamagata Expressway from Sendaiko Interchange, spending the night at Zao Hot Spring Resort.
DAY FIVE: Drive through the mountains of Yamagata, and return to Tokyo from Sendai
Drive to Sendai Station, taking the Tohoku Expressway from Yamagata Zao Interchange to Sendai Miyagi Interchange. Return your rental, and board the Tohoku Bullet Train, straight to Tokyo.
You will have traveled a total of 519.4 km while on expressway. Although expressway tolls would normally cost JPY 14,440, you will only pay JPY 7,500 with the Five-day Tohoku Expressway Pass, saving JPY 6,940 on tolls alone.
East Nippon Expressway Co., Ltd. constructs, manages and operates expressways in East Japan, and operates service areas as well as conduct other expressway-related businesses since 2005.