As such, larger numbers imply you are further from the centre.Try to look drivers in the eye as they approach and perhaps even make a small bow of appreciation, especially if they slow down to take a better look at you or, better yet, loop back for a second look.If not, you have been left at a service area not listed for a good reason.Japan has its fair share of perverts and predators and a lone hitchhiker in a foreign country is a vulnerable target.
It is almost impossible to hitch out of Tokyo or any large Japanese city by waving your thumb on the Ginza.Going South West for Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima: Take a train to Ogaki Station and change for Mino Takada station and walk for about 30 minutes, one of my best spots so far!All the suburban streets are lengthy dead ends.Going East towards Tokyo, take a train to Otsu.Shinjuku station is also nearby.
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The IC and PA listed above are unexplored possibilities.From a service area with decent traffic, you are very likely to get a ride within minutes.The gate may be locked, but the fence is low and jumping over it is no problem.Do not allow your driver to drop you off outside a service area.And persevere: you may get picked up by the first car, or you may have to wait a while, but you will be picked up sooner or later.The same bus runs to Hino station so you can catch it from there too.The driver may also try to drop you off at a tollbooth or at an interchange, which will either get you in hot water from the authorities or dead from being hit by a car.
This has a fair few advantages in that the duration of the ride is made very clear.Other traditional favorites include the offramps of roadside gas stations and convenience stores.The busiest rest stop in the region is not a service area.ICs do tend to be a bit closer to town, but in Tokyo they are usually in the middle of very heavy traffic and with few, if any, places where hitching is even remotely possible, so getting rides also takes considerably longer.Connecting to: Tōhoku, JōbanShuto S1 becomes C2 and merges briefly with 6 before splitting off again and heading off to Tokyo Bay.
Again, just go inside and they will offer you drinks and food.You will be picked up by young couples, grizzled old farmers, families with small children, traveling salesmen, single women, yakuza mobsters, Buddhist monks.Please only write it down if you can speak a little, otherwise it will be an awkward ride for the both of you.Alternately, you could try departing from the expressway bypass onramp about 500 m from the station, but the walk is usually worth the effort.Except for the occasional impoverished student in the wide expanses of Hokkaido, there is very little tradition of hitchhiking in Japan, and you will more likely than not be the first hitchhiker that your driver has ever even seen, much less picked up.
Furthermore, if you happen to be starting from Kitakyushu or Shimonoseki, both areas are an easy saunter up a well marked path: follow the backstreets uphill from the fish market for Dannoura, take the stone steps besides near the Kanmon tunnel pedestrian elevator under the bridge for Mekari.It is wise to ask in the service area if they can drop you off at the next major service area.Otherwise take a taxi.The keys are visibility and accessibility: drivers have to be able to spot you in advance, and they have to be able to stop and pick you up without endangering themselves or others.Hatsukaichi, stuck halfway between the urban centres of Hiroshima and Iwakuni.Tsukuba express plus a 3 km walk.
Access: Nobori onlyLast verified: NeverLocated at the very beginning of the Shuto, in Setagaya.Once in the car they will ask you where you are going and you will ask them and so you can ride along until you want to get out.Remember, north side to go east, south side to go west.Access: Kudari onlyLocated beside a highway entrance spiral, this one may actually be accessible from the ground.Western style: left hand extended straight, thumb up, facing traffic and a winning smile on your face.When its colder, become friendlier, so stay in the service area with a nice hot drink and just approach the people.
The least of three evils is thus getting dropped off at a service area.Warning: If you get on at Mukōjima IC, the road soon joins Shuto C2, after which C2 branches off again towards the Tōhoku Expressway.When undertaking this last step, being very slow and methodic using a rather thin pen can be quite advantageous because the very act of seeing a foreigner actually writing kanji on a sign themselves, from memory will attract more than a couple of viewers and potential rides.View from Dannoura PA on Honshu across to Kyushu.Furthermore, the toilet and restaurant entry are along a single undercover path so your posing position is obvious and sheltered.It is generally preferable to sit on a local for an extra half an hour and maybe even pay a few yen for the privilege of not having to choke on exhaust for an hour.Access: Both directionsSmall.
Many of the longest rides are available early in the morning, and your hitchhiking day will come to an end when the sun goes down.The bus will deposit you on the wrong side of the parking area, cross the bridge to get to the side going away from Tokyo.Dannoura even has its own dedicated motel.Yokohama via Tokyu Toyoko, Shinjuku to Machida via Odakyu, etc.Ask if they go to Kōhoku PA or Ebina service area.
Once the car does stop, a window will roll down and you will almost always be asked a simple question: Doko made?Kyoto and every express train stops there.If the service area is one of those listed in the Tokyo section above, you know how to get back.But try to distinguish between offers of genuine goodwill and interest and offers out of duty or perceived obligation, as your driver is likely to feel that he is a host and he must treat you as an honored guest, despite any inconvenience or even financial expense that this might cause.Do not make the mistake of giving your final destination, as the driver may assume that you will insist on going all the way.Does he know how to behave?
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Whenever possible, aim for SAs instead of PAs: not only do they have handy things like restaurants, maps and info counters, but they are much busier and thus much easier to hitchhike from.Basically all service areas and the aforementioned special parking areas in Kyushu provide formal back entrances and auxiliary parking to allow farmers or tourists use of the restaurant or viewing platform facilities so if you can identify one close to a train station on Google Earth or Yahoo!Maps, expect easy and legal entry.Japanese map to get your bearings.Tokyo or to a part of Tokyo extremely far from your part of Tokyo.Tips for hitchhiking for general hitchhiking tips applicable everywhere.Most English highway signs will not distinguish short and long vowels, but your driver will, so pronounce it right!
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With this you will have really sealed a wonderful human interchange, and you may even make a friend for life.Note that it is illegal to stop a car or walk on foot anywhere on the expressway itself, including tollbooths, and you will be rapidly picked up by the highway police if you try.The parking areas are omitted from most maps, only specialty maps will usually show them.In Japan, as everywhere else, your gender matters when hitchhiking.Second on the agenda is appearance.Moriya station on the Tsukuba Express.Gifu via Nagoya, ideally on a Friday night.
If possible, explain the drivers that you simply wish to go to a service area at the highway.Hitching in the summer risks sunburn and dehydration, while winter is simply too cold.This is easiest along the Northern edge of the raised expressway.PAs, the second way to get on the expressway is to hitch outside an interchange.Will Ferguson has written two informative and entertaining books about hitchhiking in Japan.Naturally, once you reach the final service area before your destination, flip the sign over and scrawl your actual destination on the back to get off the expressway itself.Generally just make your way uphill and left using major roads only, towards the highschool up on the hill.
With about 900 scattered all around Japan, these are excellent places to get dropped off, fuel up, consult maps and grab rides.Use this area even if eastbound because the next closest is quite the trek, practically in Okayama.Japan, official regulations go unenforced or downright ignored.There is a small overpass very close to the PA, cross over it and walk down the slight hill.All three regions have expensive local transport but plenty of unhurried tourists driving about, always a good combination for the hitchhiker.
There will be more.Make sure you know where your driver is going!Nagoya or even to Osaka.The top worries of a Japanese driver when they see a hitchhiking gaijin are: Can he communicate?An excellent method to make it to the expressway is simple transporting yourself to a gas station which lies on a road heading to the expressway.If you have a Japanese friend or some skills, producing a sign with your destination in Japanese from a piece of cardboard is a good way to inform drivers of your destination and it might increase your chances of finding drivers that can take you longer distances.Locals will claim that on weekends, every last Japanese tourist stops at these areas without fail.
The Shuto network is an indecipherable tangle that looks vaguely similar to the Tokyo subway system, except that most stations are accessible only when going in one direction and you have 5 seconds to decide whether to exit.PAs are located as inconveniently as possible, and entrance to them from outside on foot is officially prohibited.Go to the Ebina service area.The key to hitchhiking is thus to assuage these fears and look as harmless and friendly as possible.Yamanote train line is in fact circle 5 or 6 or something.Eastern end of the PA and go in the open entrance for highway bus passengers.
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What does that mean?Mito and start there.The very end of a merging lane after a crossing is also OK, as long as you are more than 5 meters away from the crossing itself.Cute emoji on your hitching sign, or smiles in the gaps in your kanji characters can be a surprisingly effective addition in Japan.The ramp in front of the restaurant is for the Tōmei Expressway direction south.ETC entry points around Kobe.My suggestion here would be to hitch in front of the shops or at the end, close to the toilets.
As you can therefore imagine, they see an insane amount of traffic.Update: Toll fares have been reduced significantly on weekends and nullified in a few places on weekdays.Ikebukuro to Tsuruse station.Japanese all that well to use such a sign, as long as you can communicate.The doors along the route may, or may not, be locked.
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Tokyo, not out of it, the Shuto splits into about 17 different directions soon after the PA, and the PA deservedly gets little enough traffic as it is.As a guest, you will not be allowed to pay any of the expenses, and even efforts to contribute something for gas and toll fares will most likely be delightfully refused.Note: Chuo branches a few times, be sure you know what branch you want to go to and what branch your driver will go to.Reason for this is A: most people go to the toilet and B: you can talk to them so they will see you are a nice person as Japanese can be very suspicious.Neat trousers, clean shirt, a hat to protect you from the sun instead of sunglasses.
Tokyo to Kyoto in one day.Chiyoda subway line is about half a kilometer to the east along the large road that crosses under the highway between the entrances.You truly get what you pay for here, but it makes a stop around sunrise at a major service area just east of Nagoya.
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