This route offers a leisurely-paced tour around the sightseeing spots in Central Japan. You are sure to make surprising discoveries as you take your time looking at nature and culture, tasting the local specialties and enjoying hands-on experiences. Enjoy an unforgettable tour around Central Japan.

Day 1
Shirakawa-go and Gokayama Shirakawa-go no Yu
Day 2
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route Unazuki Hot spring
Day 3
Takaoka Daibutsu 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa Kanazawa Castle Park Higashi Chaya District Kenrokuen Garden
Day 4
Yunokuni no Mori Museum of Snow and Ice Kutani Art Museum Kaga Hot spring
Day 5
Tojinbo Hikone Castle The Castle Town of Hikone Castle
Day 6
Omihachiman (Hachiman-bori canal sightseeing) The Museum Meiji-Mura National Treasure Inuyama Castle
Day 7
Mitsui Outlet Park Jazz Dream Nagashima Nagashima Spaland Nabana no Sato
Shirakawa-go and Gokayama
The villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are still home to historic Gassho-style houses traditionally constructed in areas of Japan with heavy snowfall. The Gassho-style architecture, characterized by a thatched and steeply slanting roof allowing snow to fall straight off, resembles two hands joined in prayer which is said to be the origin of the name Gassho, meaning “prayer hands” in Japanese. With some houses built over 300 years ago, the villages received UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 1995. Japan’s rural landscapes which showcase the beauty of the four seasons are an immensely valuable asset.
◎Shirakawa Village Office (official website)
◎Gokayama Tourism (official website)
◎Shirakawa-go Tourist Association (official website) Japanese only
Shirakawa-go no Yu
Shirakawa-go no Yu is a natural hot spring facility located in the historic village of World Heritage Site, Shirakawa-go. The open-air bath offers a panoramic view of the Gassho-style houses, Shogawa river and other scenes of the great outdoors.
Shirakawa-go no Yu (official website) Japanese only
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route
The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is an extensive mountain sightseeing route that connects the Tateyama Station on the Toyama Regional Railway line to Ougizawa Station on the Kanden Tunnel Trolley Bus line. The straight-line distance between the two points is only about 25 km but due to the maximum elevation difference of 1,975 m, the area offers stunning vistas including from the Tateyama Ropeway. In early spring after the snow is removed from the roads exclusive to buses, both sides of the road are flanked with a wall of snow over 10 m high. For a limited time period, the snow corridor is opened to pedestrians.
◎Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route (official website)
Kurobe Dam
With a bank height of 186 m, Kurobe Dam is the tallest of its kind in Japan. You can get a full view of Kurobe Dam from the observation deck which is also one of the best spots to observe the awesome display of gushing water when the floodgates of the dam are opened during tourist season.
◎Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route (official website)
◎Kurobe Dam (official website) Japanese only
Kurobe Gorge
The Torokko trolley train that moves around the Kurobe Gorge at the slow pace of a bicycle operates from mid-April to November.
◎Kurobe Gorge Railway (official website)
Unazuki Hot spring
Unazaki Hot spring is a resort within the expansive natural environment of the magnificent Kurobe Gorge. The colorless, clear hot spring waters that bubble forth in abundance is soft on the skin and known for its skin-beautifying effects.
◎Toyama Prefectural Tourism Association (official website)
Takaoka Daibutsu
Takaoka Daibutsu which took local copper smiths 26 years to complete starting in 1907 is considered one of the three great Buddha statues in Japan.
◎Takaoka City Tourism Association (official website)
21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa
Located in the center of Kanazawa city, the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa is a well-known museum in Japan with 1.5 million people visiting every year.
◎21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (official website)
Kanazawa Castle Park
Kanazawa Castle was founded in 1583, and the Ishikawa Gate and other structures that have remained standing since 1788 have been designated Important Cultural Assets. Most of the building was destroyed in a series of fires but the castle, restored to its original form in 2001 based on old drawings and documents, has become a new symbol of the old castle town of Kanazawa. The castle was reconstructed according to traditional construction methods and without using a single nail.
◎Kanazawa City Tourism Association (official website)
Higashi Chaya District
Higashi Chaya District is one of the districts in Kanazawa that still retains the atmosphere of an old castle town. Of the 140 buildings in the district, two thirds are in the traditional Japanese architectural style.
◎Kanazawa City Tourism Association (official website)
Kenrokuen Garden
Kenrokuen Garden is a Japanese garden built outside the gates of Kanazawa Castle. It is regarded as one of the three most famous gardens in Japan and has been designated a national site of special scenic beauty. Walk the path around the large pond located in the center of the park. From the multitude of flowers planted inside the expansive park, to the fresh greenery, fall foliage and yukizurirope work to protect the trees against heavy snow, each of the four seasons bring a different form of beauty to the park. Please treat yourself to some tea and manju (steamed buns) at the many teahouses located inside the park.
◎Kanazawa City Tourism Association (official website)
Yunokuni no Mori
Yunokuni no Mori is a traditional handicrafts village on a hill consisting of old houses with thatched roofs that have been moved from their original sites and reconstructed in the village. At this theme park dedicated to traditional handicrafts in Ishikawa prefecture, you can see almost all the different types of traditional handicrafts from the area.
◎Traditional Handicrafts Village Yunokuni no mori (official website)
Museum of Snow and Ice
Museum of Snow and Ice is a science museum dedicated to the memory of Dr. Ukichiro Nakaya (physicist) who was the first scientist to succeed in making artificial snow and leader in the science of snow and ice.
◎Museum of Snow and Ice (official website)
Kutani Art Museum
Kutani Art Museum is a museum based on the theme of pottery. The exhibits of Ko-Kutani (old Kutani) works from the early Edo period and famous works of Kutani pottery are displayed according to the three different overglaze painting techniques of Aote, Iroe Gosaite and Akae Kinrande.
◎Kutani Art Museum (official website) Japanese only
Kaga Hot spring
Kaga Spa Village consists of the four hot springs: Awazu, Katayamazu, Yamashiro and Yamanaka. The waters of Awazu Hot spring is soft on the skin and has skin-beautifying effects. Katayamazu Hot spring’s water is rich in minerals and will help you recover from fatigue. Yamashiro Hot spring believed to have been discovered by a three-legged yatagarasu (crow) is known to bring longevity. Yamanaka Hot spring is famous for visits by many prominent figures who seek its soothing effects. All four of the unique hot springs is located within a radius of 8 km making it possible for visitors to try them all for comparison.
◎Kaga Hot spring (official website)
Tojinbo, a rugged cliff that extends 1 km along the coastline, is designated as a precious natural monument. The sight of the raging waves of the Sea of Japan hitting the precipitous cliff that rises to a height of over 20 m is truly awe-inspiring. Watch this dynamic spectacle and view natural formations such as the Lion Rock and Candle Rock from the ocean below on a 30-minute ride around the cliff in a sightseeing boat. You can also take a climb to the top of the 55 m-high Tojinbo Tower to see a different side of Tojinbo that spreads out below.
◎Mikuni Tourism Association (official website) Japanese only
Hikone Castle
Hikone Castle is one of four castles in Japan with a castle tower designated as a National Treasure. Built in 1604, the castle ruins is regarded as one of the more finely preserved in Japan with such features as a turret designated as an Important Cultural Asset still standing as if guarding the castle tower. At the base of Hikone-yama upon which the castle tower stands, you will find the very beautiful and famous gardens, Genkyu-en and Rakuraku-en. At the Hikone Castle Museum, you can see a display of daimyo tools, armor and other items that were used by the lord of the castle.
◎Hikone Sightseeing Association (official website)
The Castle Town of Hikone Castle
The castle town of National Treasure Hikone Castle has a history spanning more than 400 years since the construction of the castle. Many old buildings designated as national or municipal cultural properties still remain standing throughout the town.
◎Organization of Hikone Shopping Arcade (official website) Japanese only
Omihachiman (Hachiman-bori canal sightseeing)
The atmosphere of the flourishing bygone days of the old castle town of Hachiman-yama-jo Castle still lingers in the white-walled storehouses and old residences that stand along the banks of the canal. The leisurely rides back and forth through the Hachiman-bori canal in paddle boats are a popular activity.
◎Omihachiman Tourism Navi (official website) Japanese only
The Museum Meiji-Mura
The Museum Meiji-Mura is an open-air museum exhibiting historical records on Japanese architecture of the Meiji period (1868-1912).
◎The Museum Meiji-Mura (official website)
National Treasure Inuyama Castle
Inuyama Castle is one of four castles designated as a National Treasure of Japan. Known for having one the oldest surviving wooden castle towers in Japan, this castle was constructed in 1537 by Oda Nobuyasu who was the uncle of Oda Nobunaga, the great hero of the Warring States Period. Devoid of flamboyancy, the castle is appreciated for its vulgarity which is said to convey the tense atmosphere of the Warring States Period. Besides the many old merchant houses and historic residences that remain standing in the castle town, you will also find “Joan”, a teahouse designated as a National Treasure, nestled inside the peaceful and ancient atmosphere of the Urakuen Garden.
◎Inuyama Tourist Information (official website)
◎National Treasure Inuyama Castle (official website) Japanese only
Ukai (Cormorant Fishing) Period: May to mid-October
Ukai is a traditional fishing method in which fishermen use trained cormorants to fish in rivers. Enjoy the spectacle from sightseeing boats.
◎Tsumago Sightseeing Association (official website) Japanese only
Mitsui Outlet Park Jazz Dream Nagashima
Mitsui Outlet Park Jazz Dream Nagashima boasts 240 stores, the largest number of stores at any outlet in Japan. The stores specialize in a wide range of products from famous foreign luxury brands, to popular select shop items, popular kids’ fashion, men and women’s leather products and accessories, and sports and outdoor goods. Prices are 30 to 80 percent off the regular price at all times, and special sales are also held every season.
◎Mitsui Outlet Park Jazz Dream Nagashima (official website)
Nagashima Spaland
Nagashima Spaland boasts the highest number of roller coasters in Japan. One of the highlights is the 2,479 meter-long Steel Dragon which has been entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest rollercoaster in the world.
◎Nagashima Resort (official website)
Nabana no Sato
Nabana no Sato is a botanical garden with one of the largest flower fields in the Tokai area. In the winter, the park hosts one of the largest illumination events in the country.
◎Nagashima Resort (official website)
Expressway toll(the CEP, NEP and AIP) CEP + NEP + AIP fee 49%
Within the CEP area 21,680yen
Within the Optional Area(NEP)2,260yen
Within the Optional Area(AIP) 1,800yen
CEP fee 10,000yen
NEP fee 1,500yen
AIP fee 1,500yen

*If you would like to use a Central Nippon Expressway Pass, please tell the staff when you make your rental car reservation.