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[ Steve’s   Japan   Road   Trip ]

( スティーブの日本海外旅行 で 平成 二十八年)

From the 7th-25th November 2016 )

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Setting off from Leeds-Bradford Airport on the 7th of November 2016, a brief over night stop was made at London’s Heathrow Terminal 5 Thistle Hotel.  Making use of the driverless pods which were directly linked to the hotel made this  a pleasurable experience.

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The road trip entailed driving for 3 weeks over 2,000 kilometers from Kyōto (京都) in Southern Japan to the Islands of Kyūshū (九州) and Shikoku (四国) in a Nissan March (Micra) hire car, taking in the “nostalgic car collection” of ‘Mr. Hideki Matsuzaki‘ (秀樹 松崎) along the way.

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Landing at Tōkyō Haneda Airport after a 12 hour flight from London (6,183 miles), a room in the nearby Royal Park Hotel provided a fine view of Mount Fuji in the distance.

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The next day we took the short but exciting Monorail journey into Tōkyō.

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Then Tōkyō > Kyōto Station (3 hrsRelated image by Bullet train (474 kilometres).

In Kyōto, the Nissan March Related image hire car is picked up.

October time in Japan (Autumn)    (The Fall)is called kōyō (紅葉).

The trip aims to take in the turning of the Autumn leaves and to explore a part of Japan not very often seen by overseas visitors, taking a few shots of kei-cars along the way that we don’t normally get to see in the UK.

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Kyōto (Honshū) > Shikoku Island < Honshū

The road trip finally gets underway on the 10th  November from Kyōto > Naruto (鳴門) then on to > Imabari (今治) arriving in > Miyajima (宮島) via a short ferry ride (10 minutes) on the 12th November (536 kilometres).

 Nissan Dayz Highway Star! ] 

Spotted . . .

 [ Honda N Box Custom ] 

on the way . . .

 A local scrapyard !! ] 

        ( 宮島 鳥居 と 厳島 神社)

The Miyajimatorii‘ and ‘Itsukushima Shrine‘ (above) is famously under water at high tide but can be walked out to at low tide.  There were huge crowds there as it was a public holiday.

Honshū > Kyūshū

From Miyajima we travelled to > Mojiko (門司港) then on to Karatsu (唐津) and arrived in > Nagasaki (長崎) on the 16th (432 kilometres).


[ Various means of transport were employed !! ]

On arrival at Nagasaki, we went straight to the Peace Park which commemorates the atomic bombing of the city on August 9th 1945 during World War II.  The atmospheric site hosts many visitors from around Japan and the World, there were also many organised school parties.

[ Nagasaki Memorial Peace Park ]  


[ The Sepia Nostalgic Car Collection ]

The next day we set off to see the ‘Sepia Car Collection‘ of Mr. Hideki Matsuzaki (pictured below) at Kurume in Fukuoka Prefecture which houses a collection of over 120 classic cars.  We had pre-arranged a private viewing and the cars we’d asked to see had had their covers removed.   A couple of the cars were parked outside.  Both the cars outside were in working order and Mr. Matsuzaki took us for a quick spin round the local streets.  Most exhilarating !!


The 1947 Auto Sandal (below) is one of two in Mr. Matsuzaki’s collection.  There are only 3 examples left in the world !!  After kick starting the car, the throttle is adjusted by a control knob on the dashboard !!  The friction drive is shown in one of the three short videos below as well as a short run out in the local streets.

 [ The 1947 Auto Sandal

 [ The 1955 NJ Go

 [ The 1957 Daihatsu Midget] 

 [ Big cars !!

[ 1967 Wankel-engined Mazda Cosmo & a 1967 Datsun Fairlady 2000 ]



[ G a l l e r y ]



[ The Robot Hotel ]

From there we headed for ‘Huis Ten Bosch‘ a theme park  in Sasebo, Nagasaki, which recreates the Netherlands by displaying real size copies of old Dutch buildings and also houses the ‘Henna Hotel‘ better known as the Robot Hotel.

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At Reception & Churi-chan who sings and turns the lights on !! ]

We then set off for > Saga (佐賀) and then on to > Beppu (別府) arriving on the 19th November (262 kilometres).


[ All the cars in this car park were kei cars !! ]


[ A Daihatsu Opti Classic & ‘mini look-alike Daihatsu Mira Gino ]

 [ A Post Office Van

KyūshūShikokuKyōto (Honshū)

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The Beppu to Matsuyama ferry (3 hrs 41 mins) goes from Beppu in Oita Prefecture (Kyūshū) to Matsuyama in Ehime Prefecture (Shikoku).

Seen round and about . . .  

On the 20th we went from Beppu to > Matsuyama (松山) then on to Ono (小野) via Okayama (岡山) then finally returning to Kyōto on the 23rd November (567 kilometres) with just enough time to visit the world famous ‘Kiyomizu Temple‘ (below).


Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera (音羽 山 清水 寺) World Heritage Site ]

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On the 24th we took the Bullet Train (Shinkansen) back to Tōkyō (474 kilometres) and then flew back to the UK on the 25th another (6,183 miles) finally reaching home on the 26th November needing a well earned holiday !!

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During the trip I managed to buy some hard to get bits from Goo.net for the Copen . . .


Yellow headlight covers & carbon-fibre effect tailpipe trim !!

Sayōnara (さようなら) TTFN !!

***** (終) *****