Having a car in Japan doesn’t just entitle you to travel around this wonderful country, but also in-the-city convenience.
It’s certain that one of the real benefits of car ownership in Tokyo is the ability to get out of the city to find a bargain. Space in Tokyo is scarce, so many of major companies set up shop slightly outside the city and particularly those companies who are looking for warehouse space.
Costco is one of many American companies that has proved to be a real success in Tokyo. Since moving to Japan, Costco has expanded all over the country and in Kanto alone Costco has founded 11 stores.
One of my favorite ways to spend a weekend is to jump in the car and get out of the city and a visit to Costco is no different. If you’ve got space in your car, you will even be able to pick up some cheaper electronic equipment to take home.
Searching for your closest Costco in Tokyo is surprisingly something that’s not that easy to find online, with Google Maps currently not able to find all of the different stores within your local vicinity and therefore I have published this map.
On the map above you will find a numbered list of all of the stores and therefore should be able to clearly identify where your closest Costco is.
3) Kanazawa Seaside
8) Chiba New Town
One of the best journeys out of Tokyo and to the surrounding prefectures is a two day tour of Shizuoka. The prefecture hosts much natural beauty, including the stunning Izu region. A little bit farther than Izu is some of Japan’s most rural countryside and one weekend we enjoyed a lovely drive into Tamagawa.
The drive out of Shizuoka can be a beautiful journey, traveling through Tokyo’s rainbow bridge and through the central areas of the region; before heading onto the Shizuoka Prefectural Road 64 all the way into the countryside.
One of my favourite parts of this journey is the countryside roads off of the highways. The journey is often littered with small hamlets built around winding, thin streets; thus as we noticed we did not see or hit a convenience store for at least 10km at times.
Once in Tamakawa, we stayed at the excellent camping centre owned by the prefectural government. This is approximately 40 minutes away by car from the Shizuoka central area.
The journey will take at least 2 and a half hours from Tokyo, traveling 180km of beautiful countryside along the way.
The journey from Tokyo to Chiba can be a nice and quick one, over the famous Tokyo Aqualine; or for those who feel like being a bit more adventurous, travellers can travel around the whole Tokyo Bay before reaching Chiba.
One Saturday in the summer, we decided to head off for the Tateyama area, using the Tokyo Aqualine to get there. The Aqualine is a wonder of modern engineering. The first part of the Aqualine sees you go up a small bridge, before heading down into the sea for a 10km tunnel, which is straight and is indeed a lot of fun. It’s also incredibly convenient. Once you come out at the other end, you’ve the option of stopping off at the outlet store in Kisarazu, which is a popular one for the ladies looking to do a bit of shopping.
As you’ll see from the route above, there are multiple ways to get to Tateyama. The shortest route can be achieved in 1 hour and 35 minutes, whilst the long route around the bay can take about 2 hours and 5 minutes. All depends if you want to go scenic and country, whilst also being a little easier on the pocket with less tolls; or if you want to go for the big boy route over the Aqualine.
Once in Tateyama, there is plenty to see. Being at the very southern tip of Chiba, there is an excellent array of beaches and the weather has a very humid tropical climate, which means the summer can be incredibly hot.
For those who just want a nice day trip out of Tokyo, this is a great way to experience some good driving and good sights. The fish in Chiba is also highly recommended, with some delicious sushi at numerous service areas along the way.