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Talk:Hitchhiking in Japan

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I just Hitchhiked across Europe to Croatia from England through 10 different countries, then Hitchhiked over land to Russia, and then onto Monolgia via the Transiberian! I had to come to Japan by a flight because my Visa for China was screwed! I can say for certain that this is the best country I have ever Hitchhiked in, I have been in the country for 3 days and managed to get from Narita, to Tokyo and then to Nagooya and then to Osaka! I have stayed with Japanese families whose hospitality was just incredible. I'm now gonna hitchhike to the south soon. I would recommend this country to anyone! Especially hitchhiking, use common sense and you will have the time of your life!

If anyone needs advice, my email is [email protected]

Hope it's helpful![edit]


I'm going to Japan in less than a month and hope this site's resources will help me through. Thanks for the info. How can I get the kanji that is posted here? It doesn't come up and I'd like to know what to write on the signs. I'll let you know how the whole thing goes.

Nice article! :) Guaka 06:27, 11 Nov 2004 (EST)

Not as nice as actually hitching in Japan =). I was thinking though that maybe the "hitching out of Tokyo" part should be moved onto its own page? It's too large to integrate in the main Tokyo article, but isn't relevant for all of Japan either. Jpatokal 06:30, 11 Nov 2004 (EST)
I thought it was a great article too! Thanks! Lionfish 00:10, 04 Apr 2005 (BST)

Great resource & just came back from hitchhiking[edit]

I just came back from hitchhiking from Tokyo to Soyamisaki and back. With resource from wikitravel and Will Ferguson's book - The Hitchhiker's Guide to Japan, and a Road Atlas Japan published by Shobunsha (its my orange hitchhiking bible).

It is my first hitchhiking experience and its amazing one too.

Good article, one suggestion[edit]

Perhaps the section "Getting off in Tokyo" should be renamed... -- 00:18, 18 March 2006 (EST)

  • Good call. Changed to "Getting out in Tokyo" -- bulliver 00:46, 18 March 2006 (EST)
I just changed it to "getting into tokyo"... I hope I wasn't misunderstanding the intention of that section. I actually kinda like "getting off in tokyo", we aren't shy about humor here – cacahuate talk 14:42, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
No, it is specifically about how to leave the city as a hitchhiker, which is quite difficult. Getting into the city is far easier, as your driver will come off the expressway at some point and then you can just head to the nearest station. Jpatokal 23:51, 15 October 2007 (EDT)
Never mind, you were talking about the 2nd section, not the first, and I'm an idiot. Changed back to "Getting into Tokyo". Jpatokal 00:23, 16 October 2007 (EDT)

Hard to get to the Kohoku PA![edit]

Really a good article, I hope it inspires some people to hitchhike in this great country! Just getting out of Tokyo is really hard! The Kohoku PA is very easy to find with the desciption given in the text- but there are fences all over the place. Probably you can find your way at night, but in the daytime there is even a guard at the backdoor to the street.. about 500 Meters from there is an interchange, where I got a lift to Kyoto after 2 hours waiting.

Hmm, I had no problem jumping the fence, but it's been quite a few years. I've also found Japanese highway officials fairly sympathetic to hitchhikers, although I too would have hesitated to approach an actual guard.... Jpatokal 10:22, 30 October 2006 (EST)
Did it a few days ago (Feb 2007), it's pretty simple. The gate is only 1.5m or so, easy to jump over. We didn't come across any guards or anything like that, we just hopped over in broad daylight. Got a few funny looks, but nothing more. Make sure you aim for the right side of the road. One side (going into Tokyo) is near impossible to get into, but if you cross below the expressway and find the other PA then you're sorted, maybe this was the issue...?
I went to this PA today (Nov 2008), and either things have changed or nobody has tried walking along the back of the PA to find... a permanently open entrance for the public for people catching the highway buses! No need to jump a fence, no overzealous rubbish collectors-cum-security guards... I've updated the article, and if you are keen the new Google Street View of Tokyo area includes a shot of the entrance along the back of the PA.

hitching to Nagoya[edit]

I just hitched from the chuo route (why I choose that one I have no idea) and neither gate was locked. I suffered a few long waits when either nobody stopped, or everyone was going not very far up the road. Eventually I made it after getting picked up by a bus. Yes, a bus. At a service station place I was standing at the entrance holding a sign saying Nagoya and I was invited onto a bus filled with...penshioners returning from a weekend in the mountains. They kept giving me alcohol and stuff. Really random. Tomorrowboy 07:56, 8 October 2007 (EDT)

That's hitchhiking in Japan for you! Jpatokal 12:28, 8 October 2007 (EDT)

Tokyo to Niigata & Sado Island, Highways #17 & #8[edit]

The main article here is good with a lot of good pointers, but I never hitch-hiked on an expressway or at a rest area.

Looking at a Google map of Japan, I'm surprised at how little has changed over the past 20 years. January of 1990, living in Ikebukuro, I took a JR train to Omiya vicinity, and walked over to highway #17. I walked north along the highway, with my thumb out as I walked. When a car passed, I turned so they could see my Gaijin face and thumbed with my left hand while I walked backwards a few steps. After a few cars passed, one stopped and took me as far as Maebashi. I stayed at a ryokan that night (cost me about 4,000 yen as I remember) and started out the next morning. I remember thumbing near Maebashi and a guy stopped who didn't want to give me a ride because his van was full with several other passengers, but he handed me a 10,000 yen bill. I took it, but I really didn't expect or need anything like that!

Back on highway 17 (Mikuni highway) I caught a ride most of the way to Niigata, but had to thumb once more on highway #8 in pretty cold and snowy weather. Somebody finally stopped who would take me into Niigata, near the Sado Island Ferry terminal. (No way I know to beat the Ferry.) After visiting Sado Island, I got back on #8 and caught a ride with a young guy who took me to his family's house in the mountains to eat baked mochi (it was still close to New Year's) and stay overnight. In the morning, he drove me down to the highway where I caught a ride with a businessman who got on an expressway (Kanetsu?) and took me all the way back into northern Tokyo. (I can't remember exactly where I got out, but we covered a lot of ground very fast, and it was simple to get home to Ikebukuro from that point.)

After checking the price of a JR railpass, I'm thinking about hitch-hiking again if I visit Japan this summer. I'm 63, but a Gaijin is still a Gaijin.

West Japan[edit]

Added a tonne of info on West Japan hitching. Im pretty new to Wikitravel, so please feel free to do all the stylising editing on it as Im not 100% down with the conventions yet. :D Snave 00:36, 11 July 2010 (EDT)


Used the tips on this guide to hitchhike all the way from the northernmost to the southernmost tip. Everybody who contributed to this guide, thanks! Uploaded three videos onto youtube about my experience, starting here: Unfortunately it's all in Dutch but I'm sure you all will get the idea. Anybody considering hitchhiking in Japan: DO IT! ~Sado —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 09:38, 26 September 2010