Mar 7, 2024
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Hakone Hill Turnpike Road, a Driver’s Paradise in Japan

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Japan is a haven for car enthusiasts, boasting scenic mountain roads that draw drivers from all over the world. One such road is the legendary Hakone Turnpike Road. With breathtaking views, smooth curves, and a rich history, it’s easy to see why this toll road has stolen the hearts of drivers for decades.

Hakone Turnpike Road is a tourist toll road with a length of 15 kilometers (9 miles) running from Odawara through Hakone City to Yugawara City, in Kanagawa Prefecture. It is a private highway with a gradient of approximately 1,000 meters (3280 ft) with some restrictions on vehicle traffic: motorcycles under 125 cc, light vehicles, miniature cars , and pedestrians are prohibited.

Because it is a private road, the entire line can be reserved for private use and is often used for commercial filming as well as test drives of new cars before their official launch. Racing vehicles have also been used during charters, including the Porsche 962C, the Porsche 919 tribute and the Honda RC213V. Since 2017, the entire line has been rented to celebrate the “Fastest Hill Championship”.

A Brief History

The Hakone Turnpike was opened in 1955, creating a more manageable alternative to the demanding Hakone Shindo section of the National Route 1. Over time, it gained notoriety within Japan’s car culture, becoming synonymous with “touge” racing – a thrilling style of driving on winding mountain roads. Today, it’s officially known as the Mazda Turnpike, reflecting Mazda’s sponsorship of this iconic route.

What Makes the Hakone Turnpike Special

Scenery: Picture this – you’re cruising along the 15 km stretch of pristine road, and on a clear day, the majestic Mount Fuji comes into view. Add in Lake Ashi and the lush Hakone landscape, and you’ve got a postcard-worthy scene at every turn.

The Driving Experience: The Hakone Turnpike is a driver’s delight. Smooth surfaces, flowing bends, and elevation shifts make it a joy to navigate behind the wheel (or handlebars of a motorcycle!).

The minimum curve radius is 100 meters, which is gentle, and the slope is relatively gentle, but there is a note urging you to use the engine brake on the descent, and there is a sand mound ( emergency shelter ) to that you can crash. enter and stop in case of an emergency.

Business hours

In the past, business hours were different for the Hakone-Odawara main line and the Hakone-Izu connecting line, but now they are all open from 5:30 to 22:30 (last entry at 22:00). At night, outside of business hours, the entire line is completely closed and impassable.

Important Notes

  • It’s a Toll Road: Keep in mind, enjoying this incredible drive comes with a fee.
  • Be Mindful of Traffic: The road can become quite popular, especially on weekends and holidays.
  • Speed Limits Exist: This is a road to savor, not a racetrack. Drive responsibly and enjoy the journey.

Whether you’re a seasoned car enthusiast or simply love a good scenic drive, the Hakone Turnpike delivers an unforgettable Japanese road trip experience. Have you experienced the Hakone Turnpike, or are you adding it to your bucket list? Let me know in the comments below!

Hakone Hill Turnpike Road in Google Maps

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