Explore the highlights of northern Kansai on a self-drive tour, and discover Toyooka, Wakasa Bay, and the area known as "Kyoto by the Sea," in smooth comfort. Enjoy a driving course of sparkling blue coastlines, magnificent nature, and hidden cultural delights.
• Off-peak, mid-peak, or high-peak price settings vary daily • Your hotel for day 1 will be either Onishiya Suishoen or Sennen no Yu Koman, depending on availability • This experience requires at least 2 participants. At least 1 person must be able to drive, with a valid license for driving in Japan • The following driver’s licenses are valid: Japanese Driver’s License; SOFA Driver's License; International Driving Permit based on the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic; driver's license from Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Monaco, Slovenia, Switzerland, or Taiwan with an approved official translation. You will be asked to present your license upon collecting the rental car • Your rental car will be provided by Orix; you must return the car to the same Orix branch you collected it from • The soba-making workshop at Izushi is the only experience that’s included in the price; other activities and admission to other facilities will be at your own expense • Fees for refueling, tolls, and parking are not included in the price • This product is sold under contract by Rakuten Group, Inc. This tour is conducted in accordance with the terms and conditions of the planning and implementation company
On this four-day, three-night self-drive car tour, explore the highlights of northern Kansai at your own pace — avoiding crowded buses and trains, and reaching those off-the-radar highlights that most travelers relying on public transport never reach. Along the coast of the Sea of Japan, many of the area’s hidden gems are best reached by car, which makes a free-wheeling road trip all the more perfect. With your car and accommodation all taken care of, plus recommended activities along the way to deepen the experience, explore northern Kansai’s beautiful nature and historic townscapes away from the crowds that fill Japan’s big cities. Below are some highlights of what you can find along the way, on this self-guided car tour. Day One: Izushi and Kinosaki Onsen • Izushi This is a quaint castle town known for its nostalgic, Edo-period vibe. Stroll through the “Jokamachi” area, see the Eirakukan theater and the Shinkuro clock tower, and visit the shop of a respected local artisan. Here, you’ll make a local specialty, Izushi soba, and enjoy your lunch at Izushi Shiroyama Garden (this is the only activity included in your tour price). • Kinosaki Onsen This is one of Japan’s most iconic hot spring resort towns. Check in to one of the ryokan (traditional inns), and go onsen-hopping — the town has seven hot spring spas. Accommodation will be at Onishiya Suishoen or Sennen no Yu Koman. Day Two: Kumihama, Amino, and Amanohashidate • Kumihama Kumihama Bay is a beautiful lagoon separated from the Sea of Japan by a sandbank, creating calm waters perfect for oyster farming. The bay is designated a Cultural Landscape of Kyoto Prefecture, and you can take it all in from the Mt. Kabuto Observation Deck nearby. Or, at Gosho Inaba Honke, see a reproduction of a wealthy merchant’s home dating back to 130 years ago. • Amino This charming town is known for snow crab and onsen, but there’s much more to it than that. Stop here for souvenir shopping at Kanihan, or take a Tango chirimen factory tour to see how the very best Japanese silk is made (reservations required). For lunch, try a local specialty: “barazushi,” made with layers of thin omelet and minced mackerel. Don’t miss Kotobikihama, a beach famous for its “singing sand!” • Amanohashidate Lastly, head to the scenic Amanohashidate area for dinner and a rest. Accommodation will be at the Amanohashidate Hotel, with its ocean views and hot-spring baths. Day Three: Ine, Amanohashidate, and Maizuru • Ine Town Head to the fishing town of Ine, famous for its “funaya” boathouses that line the shores of Ine Bay. You can choose to stroll around town and then continue on our recommended course, or perhaps stay for lunch at a restaurant in one of the boathouses. You may even have the chance to try out an interesting local fishing technique: “mondori” uses fish offal as bait and large baskets dangling into the bay to catch an easy dinner! • Amanohashidate Stroll along Amanohashidate and its pine-clad shores, or even rent a bicycle and cruise from end to end of the famous sandbar. Find somewhere to stop for a tasty bite, or even visit Amanohashidate Viewland for its unbeatable views of the celebrated panorama. • Maizuru On the road east to Obama, you’ll find Maizuru Red Brick Park. These European-looking brick buildings were once naval storehouses, but are now designated Important Cultural Properties that house a cafe, exhibition space, and all manner of events. Accommodation on day three will be at Obama Machiya Stay in Obama, Fukui Prefecture. Dine nearby at a recommended restaurant. Day Four: Obama, Mihama, Wakasa • Obama After breakfast, visit the Miketsukuni Wakasa Obama Food Culture Museum for a deep dive into this central aspect of Japanese life. If you want to spend more time here, there’s also the Wakasa Workshop, where you can learn more about local specialty crafts, and try your hand at making chopsticks or Japanese paper. Before a tasty seafood lunch, join a 50-minute Sotomo cruise to see coastal scenery of oddly shaped rocks and cliffs, including the Sotomo Gate sea cave. • Mihama One of the best sightseeing spots of the region is here, at the Rainbow Line Summit Park. From this vantage point, you’ll enjoy views of the colorful lakes known as Mikatagoko, while indulging in a relaxing foot bath. • Wakasa Drop in at Wakasa to see Kumagawa-juku, a historic post town. Here, traditional buildings of various styles are a quaint reminder of the town’s importance in feudal times — a charming last stop on your way back to Osaka or Kyoto.
1) When booking, choose your preferred start date to check if it’s a low-peak, mid-peak, or high-peak price period 2) Proceed with booking to choose the number of twin or triple rooms (1 rental car per room; 1 car fits 2–3 people) and the pickup point at Kansai International Airport or Kyoto Station 3) Once your booking is confirmed, we will send you all maps and schedules by email along with your booking confirmation 4) Collect your rental car at either of the following Orix branches: Kansai International Airport or JR Kyoto Station 5) Join a hands-on soba-making activity on day 1 in Izushi 6) Choose how closely you follow the rest of the suggested daily itineraries, and check in each night at the designated hotel 7) Drop off the car by the end of day 4 from wherever you collected it