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Japan’s Dragon Route

Take the road less travelled to discover the beauty of Japan- follow the Dragon!

The Dragon Route is the alternative tourist path to the well-worn “Golden Route” which covers Tokyo from Kyoto. Known in Japanese as “Shoryudo” the Dragon Route cuts across the main Japanese island from north to south – an area that is shaped like a dragon who ascends into the sky from Nagoya.

Assuming you are not an actual dragon it`s more likely you will descend into Nagoya- through the airport. Note- the airport is also referred to as Chubu Centrair International!

In any case you start your journey in the middle of Japan`s main island- the “Chubu” region. Stretching from the Pacific to the Sea of Japan with mountains in the middle expect stunning scenery with oodles of variety. With excellent access to Mt. Fuji, Hot springs such as Gero & Wakura onsens & even Tokyo & Kyoto you don’t have to be with – or far from the maddening crowds!

Getting Around The Dragon Route

While you might be disappointed that dragons don’t fly you won’t be disappointed with the Dragon Bus Pass- known as the “Shoryudo Highway Bus Ticket”! It’s another heavily discounted ticket only available to foreign tourists with unlimited use of designated buses in the region- with rail transport included to/from Nagoya Airport (ok, Chubu Centrair) !

Which Dragon Pass is For You?

If you are a Welsh dragon- or for that matter a Georgian dragon (or from South Africa, New Zealand or Italy) you might be visiting the Toyota Stadium for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in which case you will become quite familiar with the area around Nagoya. In any case it’s good to become familiar with the main attractions some of which should be one every visitor’s list when visiting Japan!

Take a Look at What`s on The Dragon Route

Takayama: Japan’s most beautiful rural town. Old shops, coffee houses & sake breweries dating back to the 1600’s

Shirakawago: a Unesco World Heritage site with historic farmhouse famed for their steep thatched roofs

Kanazawa: Japan’s best preserved samurai & geisha district. Also the site of one of Japan’s best 3 traditional gardens- Kenroku-en

Matsumoto: Location of the famous/beautiful Matsumoto Castle and access point for the Japanese Alps.

Magome: A staging point for visitors of old travelling between Tokyo & Kyoto the town still retains its stone walkways as part of the Magome-Tsumago trail

Komagane: A quiet city of 30,000 inhabitants & a good starting place for hikes in the Central Japanese Alps

The 3-Day Pass (Takayama, Shirakawago, Kanazawa): 8,500 yen

If you make it this far & you have the time make it your mission to visit all 3 x listed major destinations. The 3-Day Pass doesn`t give you to time to pause & rest but when in Japan do as the Japanese do 😉

You can only buy this ticket online in advance of travel & exchange your ticket for an actual pass on arrival in Japan. In addition there are no options to book in advance online. However the 3-day Pass is fabulous value covering;

  • Unlimited use of Highway & Local Buses
  • Return set of tickets to/from Nagoya (Chubu Centrair) Airport
  • Valid for 3 days – each day is based on a calendar day (midnight to midnight)
  • Must be used by the Pass holder in conjunction with holder’s passport

The  3-Day Pass (Matsumoto, Magome, Komagome): 7,000 yen

For a real off the beaten track (yet following in historical footsteps) this is an excellent value pass. As a seasoned Japan traveller and a Tokyo metropolite in need of a break from it all- this ticket is just the tonic!

You can only buy this ticket online in advance of travel & exchange your ticket for an actual pass on arrival in Japan. In addition there are no options to book in advance online. Again this 3-day Pass is fabulous value and covers;

  • Unlimited use of Highway & Local Buses
  • Return set of tickets to/from Nagoya (Chubu Centrair) Airport
  • Valid for 3 days – each day is based on a calendar day (midnight to midnight)

The 5-day Area Wide Pass- 14,000 yen

By know you know these passes offer amazing value. When you consider that a bus from Nagoya to Takayama alone costs 4,000 yen this is really a good deal. If you’ve got the time and are happy to book your itinerary on arrival and play it all by ear- this is the ticket for you. Visit all the above- add some hot springs & enjoy your own Japan.

More Info- Have Ticket, Will Travel!

Got your ticket ? Now get to know your destination well. Save these valuable English-language resources and enjoy the hospitality of Japan while enjoying significant savings too!

Dragon Route Leaflet

Toyota Stadium

Author: Declan Somers

Thanks to the people of Japan and the efforts of a UK-based telecoms company Mobell/Mobal am happy to assist in providing a hot school meal daily for kids in Malawi, Africa through a Japanese registered NGO- Seibo.







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