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Old March 22nd, 2010, 04:12 PM   #241
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It's an electronic sign used to show the traffic jams and so on.

The "normal" sign before the same junction is here
image hosted on flickr
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Old March 30th, 2010, 08:53 AM   #242
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Yamate Tunnel (Nishi-Shinjuku JCT to Ōhashi JCT) opens

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Old April 7th, 2010, 09:02 PM   #243
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Old April 9th, 2010, 09:50 PM   #244
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Cebuano Exultor View Post
That's because Japan is largely a rail-based society. I'm not saying that their car market is small. It's huge by raw standards (third largest in the world, after China and the U.S.) but Japan's expressway network aren't as crucially important to the Japanese the way the interstate or even the German Autobahn does for the U.S. and Germany, respectively. Japan, especially around the three main urban clusters in Greater Tokyo Area (Kanto), Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto (Kansai), and Greater Nagoya, has ,above all, an excellent railway system. Mass-transit in the form of intricate meshes of subways, light-rail, suburban lines, monorails, and high-speed rail compensates for the relatively small Japanese expressway network (with a total mileage of just under 8,000 kilometers). Moreover, Japanese rarely take the expressway when they go on long inter-city or cross-country excursions. They'd rather take the plane or the Shinkansen. Most of the car traffic action happens in the wide urban roads and side streets, which tend to be very congested during the rush hours.
I've heard that in Hokkaido, they are almost like America; everyone uses cars instead of rail. Their expressways aren't much bigger, but they're so sparsely populated up there that the car is the best way to get around. Has anyone been there that can confirm this?
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Old April 9th, 2010, 09:57 PM   #245
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Most of rural Japan is like that, in fact, almost the entire developed rural world is like that.
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Old April 9th, 2010, 10:10 PM   #246
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Most of rural Japan is like that, in fact, almost the entire developed rural world is like that.
Well now I just feel stupid.
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Old April 9th, 2010, 10:20 PM   #247
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Quote:
Originally Posted by verum View Post
I've heard that in Hokkaido, they are almost like America; everyone uses cars instead of rail. Their expressways aren't much bigger, but they're so sparsely populated up there that the car is the best way to get around. Has anyone been there that can confirm this?
Well it depends how rural. Most rural areas at least have some kind of bus service and at least a train station SOMEWHERE near by to get to a bigger city. Now super super rural farm places yeah it's totally car dependant.
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Old April 9th, 2010, 10:23 PM   #248
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Driving japanese countryside
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Old April 9th, 2010, 11:35 PM   #249
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Quote:
Originally Posted by verum View Post
Well now I just feel stupid.
That ain't necessary, but somehow people have this weird image that almost nobody in Japan uses a car... On the nationwide average, the car is still the dominant form of transportation. This goes from low in the cities to dependent in the rural areas. Granted, rural areas are served by some kind of public transportation (buses and maybe a local train station), but you're still dependent on your car, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
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Old April 9th, 2010, 11:42 PM   #250
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At the same time Japan has the lowest car usage among G8 countries with only 50% of all distance travelled in Japan being with Cars
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Old June 2nd, 2010, 11:47 PM   #251
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If you have some (actually, some is an understatement, it's A LOT) of time to kill, you can always watch kou6629 channel on Youtube.

He has currently 3,791 full-length road videos of Japanese roads online.

http://www.youtube.com/user/kou6629

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Old June 3rd, 2010, 03:09 AM   #252
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
If you have some (actually, some is an understatement, it's A LOT) of time to kill, you can always watch kou6629 channel on Youtube.

He has currently 3,791 full-length road videos of Japanese roads online.

http://www.youtube.com/user/kou6629

Absolutely amazing videos. It would be great to do road trip Japan.
Does anyone rented car in Japan? I mean not Japanned people. What driving license do you need? International? Or is any European good? I have polish license. Is it expensive to rent a car for, let say, two weeks? How much does fuel cost?
Then, can you drive from Honshu to Hokkaido? I mean is there car ferry?
It would be great to take smaller roads from Tokyo through northern Honshu to rural Hokkaido and then back on western coast of Honshu.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 09:04 AM   #253
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IIRC, Sapporo and the rest of Hokkaido wasn't largely populated until the late 19th and early 20th centuries, so the development there is rather new. You can see this in the way Sapporo is laid out in a typical American grid system instead of the feudal maze of roads that dominates Tokyo. I've heard people say that Hokkaido is the Texas of Japan: a bit more individualistic, wild west mentality compared to the rest of the country.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 11:45 AM   #254
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rail Claimore View Post
IIRC, Sapporo and the rest of Hokkaido wasn't largely populated until the late 19th and early 20th centuries, so the development there is rather new. You can see this in the way Sapporo is laid out in a typical American grid system instead of the feudal maze of roads that dominates Tokyo. I've heard people say that Hokkaido is the Texas of Japan: a bit more individualistic, wild west mentality compared to the rest of the country.
That's what I've heard too. And would like to see it myself.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 04:18 PM   #255
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geogregor View Post
Does anyone rented car in Japan? I mean not Japanned people. What driving license do you need? International? Or is any European good? I have polish license. Is it expensive to rent a car for, let say, two weeks? How much does fuel cost?
Then, can you drive from Honshu to Hokkaido? I mean is there car ferry?
It would be great to take smaller roads from Tokyo through northern Honshu to rural Hokkaido and then back on western coast of Honshu.
Renting a car in Japan is not a problem. You need an international driving licence, BUT the one issued in Poland is not valid in Japan (Japan signed only one of two agreements on int. driving licences). However, it's not a problem to rent a car and drive it unless you have an accident (which rarely happens), because of the insurance companies' policy. The police wouldn't know that your licence is invalid, nor would the rent a car company (I asked many, many times, every time they said it's 100% ok ) You'd just need to get used to the way the Japanese drive cars (90% of them drive veeeeeeeery slowly comparing to what you're probably used to , which can be a pain, really)
It's not very expensive to rent a car, e.g. http://www.japan-guide.com/ad/coocom2.html
but you'll need to use the expressways which are very expensive if you don't use ETC (electronic toll collection) and you can't issue the ETC card being a foreign tourist.
The cost of fuel is not that high. Depending on the current exchange rate it's the same as in Poland or even cheaper.
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 07:59 PM   #256
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asahi View Post
Renting a car in Japan is not a problem. You need an international driving licence, BUT the one issued in Poland is not valid in Japan (Japan signed only one of two agreements on int. driving licences). However, it's not a problem to rent a car and drive it unless you have an accident (which rarely happens), because of the insurance companies' policy. The police wouldn't know that your licence is invalid, nor would the rent a car company (I asked many, many times, every time they said it's 100% ok ) You'd just need to get used to the way the Japanese drive cars (90% of them drive veeeeeeeery slowly comparing to what you're probably used to , which can be a pain, really)
It's not very expensive to rent a car, e.g. http://www.japan-guide.com/ad/coocom2.html
but you'll need to use the expressways which are very expensive if you don't use ETC (electronic toll collection) and you can't issue the ETC card being a foreign tourist.
The cost of fuel is not that high. Depending on the current exchange rate it's the same as in Poland or even cheaper.
Thanks for info.
How about UK driver's license? Is this one 100% legal?
How about transmission? Do Japanese use cars mostly with manual like Europeans or automatic transmission like Americans?
I prefer automatic especially when I drive on the left hand side
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Old June 3rd, 2010, 09:49 PM   #257
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geogregor View Post
Thanks for info.
How about UK driver's license? Is this one 100% legal?
How about transmission? Do Japanese use cars mostly with manual like Europeans or automatic transmission like Americans?
I prefer automatic especially when I drive on the left hand side
I'm not sure. I guess you'll still need an international permit. In Europe most, if not all, countries signed two agreements: for 1945 and 1968. The international permits are issued according to the more recent one.
Japan on the other hand signed only the first one and they don't recognise permits other than issued according to the 1945 agreement.

As for the transmission - yes, they only use automatic (at least car rent companies only offer this type).
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Old July 31st, 2010, 07:11 AM   #258
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Does anyone know the meaning of those rectangular or parallelogram shaped lane markings that appear on expressways on both sides of the lane? (shown in this picture)
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Old July 31st, 2010, 11:57 AM   #259
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Maybe to use optical illusion to reduce speed. I have to add the Japanese love excessive road markings, for example in fly-overs.
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Old August 1st, 2010, 05:43 PM   #260
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Maybe to use optical illusion to reduce speed. I have to add the Japanese love excessive road markings, for example in fly-overs.
That's what makes them unique.
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