Drive Japan Autumn ’16., is an account of a three month road trip trip from Kyushu to Hokkaido during the autumn of 2016. We hope to provide useful information for others considering such a trip.

This is a “Shachuhaku” journey. That is “sleeping in the car” making use of Japan’s extensive “Michi no eki” network. The michi no eki, or road station system, provides free overnight parking and 24 hour toilets. These facilities make such travel easy and affordable.

The michi no eki network renders expensive camper vans unnecessary, most mini vans will suffice. Not all these vehicles allow the rear seats to fold to a full flat position which is an important factor to be considered. Weekenders, of course, use all manner of vehicles.

For this Drive Japan Autumn ’16, we avoided highways almost entirely. This cut the cost and is a better way to see the country.

We hope to provide some insight into places to stay the night. Some michi no eki are noisy or the facilities are poor. Others, on the other hand are excellent, even welcoming.

We introduce some lesser known temples, shrines, places of interest or natural beauty. And provide a frank, personal assessments of well known tourist locations.

As it is a journey in Japan during autumn, you will find information concerning the Koyo, or colourful autumn leaves. We suggest some  places where you can enjoy spectacular annual show.

You will also find hiking information, notably Shiretoko in Hokkaido, Mount Hakkoda and Kumano Kodo, among others.

Some campsites, especially in Hokkaido where campsites are often free, we describe and perhaps recommend. Though by late October many are closed or closing.

Even if you are not considering a long trip, the information on lesser known places we hope is useful.