Exploring Chubu by Campervan

A self-guided driving tour of central Japan

 By Mandy Bartok   Dec 8, 2015

The Chubu region of central Japan is an ideal place for a campervan adventure, with excellent facilities and a host of historical and natural sites.

Start your three-day adventure in the castle town of Gifu, where the old fortress still remains. Famed samurai and Japan unifier Nobunaga Oda called this castle home during the Waring States Period in the 1500s. The hilltop castle can be reached by the Kinkasan ropeway. From the top level of the restored main keep, visitors can enjoy sweeping views of the Kiso Mountains and the Nagara River. If you feel like stretching your legs a bit, there are numerous trails that run from the castle to the valley below. In the evening, park your campervan at Kokindenju no Sato Yamato, a rest area with a natural onsen on-site.

Spend your second day exploring the fascinating streets of Takayama, a castle town in the mountains of Gifu that still retains much of its Edo-era feel. The town’s restored merchants’ quarter makes for an enjoyable place to wander and window shop, while museums focusing on subjects like local festivals and mechanical puppets are great diversions. Don’t miss out on sampling the region’s Hida beef at one of the many fine restaurants. In the afternoon venture deeper into the region to relax at one of the many hidden onsen in the Okuhida area. Spend the night at the roadside station Sakura no Sato Shokawa, where a special regional soba would make an ideal dinner.

The highlight of the third day is a trip to Shirakawa-go, a village of thatched roof houses that has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can see the interior of these unique structures at the folk park on the edge of the village or get an impressive panorama of the entire collection of thatched houses from the lookout on the ridge outside town. Enjoy one final dip in Shirakawa-go Onsen before making the return journey to Chubu Centrair International Airport.

Example/Sample Itinerary

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Chubu Centrair International Airport Roadside station Kokindenju no Sato Yamato Roadside station Sakurano-sato Shokawa
↓ 1 hr (picking up) 1 hr 10 min via highway 40 min
Collect campervan
(Fuji Cars Japan, Gifu)
Takayama Shirakawa-go
↓ 30 min 10 min ↓ 20 min
Kinkasan / Gifu castle Village of Hida Return campervan
(Fuji Cars Japan Gifu)
↓ 50 min  40 mins via highway
Roadside station Kokindenju no Sato Yamato (overnight) Roadside station Sakurano-sato Shokawa (overnight)

Prices

Camper van Camper truck Peak season Options
3 days: ¥53,500 3 days: ¥80,200 Sat and holidays price: +¥5,000 per day Pickup: one way ¥7,000
5 days: ¥87,100 5 days: ¥131,500 High season price: +¥3,000 per day Bedding set: ¥5,500 per person
7 days: ¥120,700

7 days: ¥182,900

*High season: April 29th – May 10th, July and August *Bedding set includes: a set of Japanese quilts and mattresses, blanket, sheet.

Normal set (included in rental fee)
Kitchen set, a chair for outdoor, table and chair set, lantern and portable flash light, cooler box, Collision Damage Waiver and laundry charge.

Written by Mandy Bartok
Japan Travel Partner

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