Monday, August 9, 2010

Sports Road Trips in Japan

One of the reasons I started road tripping in the States is that I missed driving. Living in Tokyo, there is no reason to drive anywhere. Owning a car is prohibitively expensive, and highways are crowded and have high toll charges. For me, it was much nicer to fly back to North America, rent a car, and spend a couple of weeks on the highways and byways, checking out a variety of sporting events.

My few "road trip" experiences in Japan were on trains. Although it's convenient, you lose control of your situation, relying on schedules and often unable to make it to every event you would like. Furthermore, trains are not cheap, a return ticket on the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Osaka is around $300. The only solution if I am to stay in Japan any longer was to give in and start driving. So after 14 years, I finally got a Japanese driver's license. For Canadians, the process is simple: you just need to show your license from home, its translation, and a few other documents. Three hours later, presto - I can drive in Japan.

So I'm going to start trying to plan road trips in Japan. This will involve finding somewhere with two or three diverse sports events on a weekend and renting a car and driving there. This is only going to work in areas reasonably close to Tokyo; it's 10 hours to Hiroshima for example, so you'd spend the whole weekend on the road. But I'll try some closer places to see how economical it is compared to train travel. Check back for a trip to be posted here soon.



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