When deciding to travel Japan, do you think Tokyo or Kyoto are the only options? Japan is abundant in diversity, offering numerous places rich in profound culture and heritage. Especially within the Kanto region surrounding Tokyo, there are plenty of enticing spots to explore. While the train network is well-developed, embarking on a road trip with a campervan can elevate the experience to be more memorable and thrilling. In the world’s safest environment, enjoying a highly flexible journey with detours and spontaneous itinerary changes becomes easily feasible.

Within Kanto, there are numerous mountains, hot spring resorts, and places to relish nature and leisure activities. Abundant in historical landmarks and cultural attractions, one can truly immerse in authentic Japanese experiences.

Particularly, the Kanto region offers an ideal opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of Tokyo and indulge in Japan’s serene beauty. Visiting quaint towns with ancient temples, shrines, lush nature, and local cuisine is truly worthwhile. Moreover, with excellent transportation access, the Kanto region is perfect for time-constrained travelers, as day trips from Tokyo are easily manageable, making it optimal. Additionally, there are plenty of auto camping sites nearby, facilitating convenient accommodation with a campervan.

Hence, in this article, I’d like to introduce a Japan roadtrip itinerary to visit five cities surrounding Tokyo over five days. Besides what I present, these cities hold many other charming spots, so if interested, along with the names of the regions I introduce, consider conducting your own research about the destinations. Exploring the Kanto region is a splendid opportunity to discover Japan’s diversity and beauty.

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Festivals Worth Visiting in Japan

 

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637km trip distance

5 day roadtrip

Camper Van recommended

road trip map

Ibaragi Area

Stop 1 (Day 1)
Mt.Tsukuba Japan

For those interested in road trips or campervan itineraries, Tsukuba presents an excellent starting point or a serene stopover. The area is surrounded by rich natural beauty, including Mount Tsukuba, known for its twin peaks and breathtaking views of the Kanto Plain. Hiking, cable car rides, and enjoying the local onsens (hot springs) are popular activities.

Culturally, Tsukuba offers a mix of modern and traditional experiences. Visitors can explore the Tsukuba Expo Center, with its planetarium and interactive science exhibits, or delve into Japanese tradition at one of the many local shrines and temples. The Tsukuba Botanical Garden is another must-visit for nature enthusiasts, showcasing a vast array of plant species.

For those planning a road trip or campervan journey, Tsukuba’s location makes it an ideal gateway to explore the rest of Ibaraki Prefecture and its coastal areas, including the stunning Hitachi Seaside Park. With its unique blend of science, nature, and culture, Tsukuba offers a diverse and enriching experience for every traveler.

In addition to the mountain passes, there are also places around the area where you can enjoy the forest while riding a horse.

Places where you can get in touch with nature by fishing.

Places where you can ride a bicycle with Local Guide.

It will be a day to enjoy nature, mountain passes, and leisure activities.

Tochigi Area (Nikko Tosho Gu)

Stop 2(Day 2)
ToShoGu Tochigi Japan

Nikko, located in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan, is a splendid blend of natural beauty, history, and culture, making it a must-visit destination for travelers. It’s well-known for its breathtaking landscapes, including waterfalls, lakes, and mountains, which offer stunning views throughout the year. The area is particularly famous for its autumn colors, drawing visitors from all over the world.

One of Nikko’s most iconic sites is the Toshogu Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This lavishly decorated shrine is the final resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. Its intricate carvings, including the famous “hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil” monkeys, are a testament to the craftsmanship of the Edo period.

For those interested in a road trip or traveling by campervan, Nikko presents an ideal itinerary with its scenic drives through the mountains and around Lake Chuzenji. The area is also popular for camping, offering numerous sites where visitors can enjoy the natural surroundings.

Whether you’re interested in exploring Japan’s rich history and culture at its ancient temples and shrines, or you’re looking to immerse yourself in nature through hikes, hot springs, and waterfalls, Nikko offers a diverse range of attractions that cater to all kinds of travelers.

Tochigi Area (Nikko Iroha Slope)

Stop 3(Day 2)
Iroha slope Japan

Nikko’s Irohazaka slopes are a pair of winding roads connecting the town of Nikko to the mountains of Okunikko. These roads are especially famous for their scenic beauty, particularly during the autumn when the surrounding mountains are ablaze with colorful foliage. The name “Irohazaka” is derived from the old Japanese alphabet, where each of the 48 curves corresponds to one of the 48 characters in the alphabet.

The Irohazaka slopes are divided into two roads: the ascending and descending. The ascending road was built in 1954, and the descending road was added in 1965 to accommodate the increasing traffic. These roads are not only a vital link to the Lake Chuzenji area and the Kegon Falls but also a popular destination for road trip enthusiasts and campervan travelers seeking a picturesque route.

Traveling the Irohazaka slopes offers a unique driving experience with its sharp curves and steep inclines, providing breathtaking views of the natural landscape. It’s an essential part of any itinerary for those exploring the Nikko area, combining the thrill of a mountain road trip with the tranquil beauty of Japan’s countryside. Whether you’re a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, the Irohazaka slopes are sure to captivate your heart.

Tochigi Area (Kegon waterfall)

Stop 4 (Day 2)
kegon Waterfall

Kegon waterfall is one of the three most famous waterfalls in Japan.

The sight of 30 tons of water falling from a height of 97 meters per minute will surely make you forget your fatigue from the Iroha slope and leave you in awe of nature.

In summer, visitors can see Kegon Warter Falls surrounded by fresh green foliage, and in autumn, they can see Kegon Warter Falls surrounded by autumn leaves.

Gunma Area (Gunma Safari Park)

Stop 5(Day 3)
Gunma Safari park

In Ibaraki, I recommended leisure activities such as horseback riding, fishing, and cycling that bring you in touch with nature.

In Tochigi, I also introduced you to Japanese shrines and spectacular waterfalls.

Perhaps you will be a little tired by this point, so here’s a soothing itinerary for you!

Gunma is famous for its hot springs, but there are other places to enjoy them as well.

How about getting in touch with animals before taking a dip in the hot tub to refresh your mind and body?

At Gunma Safari Park, you can not only listen to the guide’s explanation while riding in the car, but you can also approach the animals and feed them. Since you can feed not only herbivores but also carnivores, you will be able to see animals that you would not normally expect to see.

In addiion to them, you can feel a powerful experience in which you cut the meat yourself and feed it to the animals from the back of the animal house, where only the keepers are usually allowed to enter.

Contact with animals is said to have a healing effect in psychology, so please take this opportunity to experience it.

Gunma Area (Hot Spring)

Stop 6(Day 3)
Gunma Hot spring japan

Gunma Prefecture, located in the heart of Japan, is renowned for its abundant and diverse hot springs, making it a must-visit destination for those looking to experience the quintessential Japanese onsen culture. The region is home to several famous hot spring towns, each offering a unique experience surrounded by nature’s serenity.

Kusatsu Onsen is perhaps the most celebrated, known for its high-quality sulfuric waters that are believed to have healing properties. The town features a picturesque Yubatake (‘hot water field’) at its center, where steaming water flows through wooden channels, providing a stunning view and a relaxing atmosphere.

Ikaho Onsen, set on the slopes of Mount Haruna, is famous for its stone steps lined with traditional inns and shops, leading up to the historic Ikaho Shrine. The onsen town is known for its two distinct types of mineral-rich waters, offering a unique bathing experience.

Shima Onsen, nestled in a scenic valley, is ideal for those seeking tranquility and a retreat into nature. It’s said that its waters are so pure and healing that they can “cure 40,000 ailments.”

 

Among them, Sainokawara Rotenburo is an open-air bath that exists in the midst of nature and has no roof to block the sky, a spot where you can expose yourself entirely to the great outdoors and become one with nature.

For those planning a road trip or a campervan journey, incorporating Gunma into your itinerary promises a blend of relaxation, cultural immersion, and natural beauty. The region’s hot springs, coupled with its lush landscapes and welcoming towns, offer a rejuvenating escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Saitama Area (going down Nagatoro River stream)

Stop 7(Day 4)
Nagatoro river going down stream

I hope you were able to experience mountains, shrines, hot springs, animals, and many other things in the three days you were there.

Now, how about taking a small boat ride down the river?

You can enjoy the view of the Arakawa River as it winds its way between the beautiful mountains of Nagatoro.

If you do not like boats, you do not need to take one.

There are campgrounds and fishing spots nearby, so you can spend the day purifying your body and soul while coming into contact with the water.

Japan is a country of water and mountains.

Chiba Area (Boso Village)

Stop 8(Day 5)
Boso Village

On your last day, we would like you to go back in time to Japan in the late Edo period.

This Boso no Mura recreates the streets of the late Edo period.

In the Edo period, there was a class system in Japan, and people were divided into four classes: samurai, farmers, artisans, and merchants.

The Boso no Mura is a place where you can see the houses of all four classes of people at the same time.

 

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