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Kyoto to Koyasan by rental car

Madrid, Spain
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Kyoto to Koyasan by rental car

Hi! Has anyone experienced car driving in the kansei area? How much time does it take to get from Kyoto to Koyasan? (I was expecting less than 2-2 and a half hours) How can we manage to calculate the time as in google maps or Michelin guide? Any helpful link? Thanks!

Kurashiki, Japan
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1. Re: Kyoto to Koyasan by rental car

All I can say is "Oh NO!" if you plan on driving in Japan, especially in the Kansai area! Take the train there!!! The public transportation system is more economical, faster, safer and the besides, the view from the train is nice, and you can RELAX! I live here and do have a car, but never, ever use it except when I have to commute to work. Ghastly traffic, aggressive drivers, high parking fees, road tolls and gas prices. Cheers!

Honolulu, Hawaii
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2. Re: Kyoto to Koyasan by rental car

In Kyoto, it is very busy traffic. sometimes it takes an hour by car/bus -> 15 minutes by train. Can you read Japanese letter (Kanji)? if Not, i never recommend you to drive in Japan.

Madrid, Spain
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3. Re: Kyoto to Koyasan by rental car

Thanks a lot for your replies! No I don´t read kanji, and I will not drive "inside" Kyoto, our plan was to drive to Koyasan, then to Shirahama and back to Kyoto. I´ll try to get a car with english GPS (I have a second-backup GPS in my celular (Nokia Maps) plus a roadmap, maybe we won´t get lost! I´ll let you know...☻

Kurashiki, Japan
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4. Re: Kyoto to Koyasan by rental car

PLA2

Please come back here after your trip and post your driving experience in Japan, so others will see what they're up against or how useful for you it turns out to be.

Incidentally, I was late for work yesterday as traffic was slowed due to an accident. As I approached, I noticed a medium sized passenger car, UPSIDE-DOWN, facing me, and pretty crunched up.(The ambulance had just pulled away) I had never seen anything like that! Please be very careful driving here, Asians have very different ideas of how to operate cars than we do in the west! Cheers!

Madrid, Spain
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5. Re: Kyoto to Koyasan by rental car

Hi! I´m back from Japan. Amazing Country, and, as said in this topic, hard to drive in there! It is quite curious how one of the biggest car magnufacturers in the world is such a "Car Enemy": expensive tolls (70 euros Tokyo to Kyoto), expesive car parking 3 Euros/hour all around, narrow roads, too many trucks in highways occupying all the lines, and traffic lights all around with 40 to 60 Km/h speed limit in conventional roads. I guess too many people in a narrow space...

Anyways! the car experience, from my point of view was worthy because we travelled with big suitcases and collecting gifts troughtout the trip wouldn´t had helped. Good we had a japanese GPS.

Tokyo to Kyoto was about 6 hous by highway (510 km) so 85 Km/h was the average. AND Kyoto to Koyasan, 138 Km took us 2h 45 minutes, that´s a 40-45 km/h average, a long journey trhough traffic lights and curvy mountain roads, but not so bad. It is true in Spain we are used to 80-100 km/h average in national roads, but there´s always two rows and the speed limit is higher.

Anyway if you want to deal with agressive drivers, come to Madrid in rush hour!!!

BR

Kurashiki, Japan
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6. Re: Kyoto to Koyasan by rental car

Glad you had a nice trip and returned safely! Thanks for posting your impressions on the road in Japan!

The reason why driving is so expensive here is that the government was hoping to keep people off the roads with these high fees, but that has not deterred them from relying on their automobiles. Japan has become as much of an auto-oriented society as the United States!(It wasn't this way 20 years ago here) In addition to the parking costs and road/bridge tolls, drivers must pay an average of $400 annually for auto tax and in addition to mandatory automobile inspection every two years. This is known as "shaken" and is calculated by the weight of the chasses. I have a mini 4WD and I pay about $950. Definitley not cheap.

I have to drive 5 days a week for work, but on the weekend you will not catch me near a car! I love taking the train and using my bicycle!

Nara, Japan
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7. Re: Kyoto to Koyasan by rental car

Granted, it look as if "the government was hoping to keep people off the roads with these high fees," but actually, they do want us to help pay the debt by driving on them. Maybe there's gotta be a law stipulating that, when horrendous expenses on a highway become redeemable, it has to be toll-free. Yet, it seems government officials in charge have reiterated that money amassed on a specific busy expressway that reaches a break-even point needs to be directed to helping finance the ones in the red. A common grudge borne among the nation is, what reason is there to assume that a driver has to help pay up the debt on another road he /she doesn't use?? Yes, in a way, you too, an overseas traveler at the steering wheel, would have to join them if you drove on the expressway. Besides, it looks as though the sky is the limit, price-wise, on gas these days: 7-8bucks a gallon; can you BELIEVE that??? Totally insane... Yep, I saw on CNN truck drivers somewhere else driving ultra slow in protest. It makes me drive up on the wall, you know, having to pay up to 13000yens for my clunker to fill up. Good old days are gone obviously...

Nashville, TN
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8. Re: Kyoto to Koyasan by rental car

I'm usually in the minority when it comes to driving in Japan, but I personally don't think it's that big of a deal. Avoid driving on weekends and holidays and you'll be fine. Sure, it's a pain at times; the speed limits are very low (expect 50 KPH most of the time on freeways, sometimes as high as 80), and you can really get on some tiny roads, so rent something fairly small if you can. Also, there are no shoulders; not sure if you have that in Spain or not, but coming from the US to Japan it's a bit disconcerting to have no space between you and the wall, house, etc.

The drive from Kyoto to Koya isn't that bad; I can't remember the exact route, but I've done portions of it before. You should be able to get a rental with a GPS; make sure someobody shows you how to use it. You can drive without knowing kanji; it'll be a challenge in smaller areas, but, again, I don't think you'll have that hard of a time.

And if you're driving anyway, you might look at some of the places in Wakayama; many are accessible only by car/bus, but they're really cool (Nachi Waterfall, for example)

John W.

Kanazawa, Japan
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9. Re: Kyoto to Koyasan by rental car

We tend to drive whenever feasible, as it is much cheaper for 3 of us to use the car, even taking into account tolls and gas. To Osaka, roundtrip ¥12,000 in tolls and 1/2 tank of gas at yesterdays price of ¥5000 (fill up was ¥10,000) for three of us is only ¥17,000. Train for the 3 of us would be ¥14,000 each roundtrip or ¥42,000...quite a savings by driving.

10. Re: Kyoto to Koyasan by rental car

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