Category Archives: Grand Touring

GRAND TOURING: Chubu and Kinki, Part 02

Part 01 of our grand tour through central Japan took us to Toyoma, a city that revealed not only castles but a trove of classic Toyotas. After prying ourselves away, we headed inland. 

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GRAND TOURING: Chubu and Kinki, Part 01

After a longer than usual break between our tours, we decided to take a full week off and continue our Western Coast explorations through the Chubu and Kinki regions. As we embarked, the outer bands of a seasonal typhoon loomed over Japan. … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Mazda Hakone Turnpike and Izu Skyline

While living in Tokyo has many problems, finding a place to go for a drive is not one of them. There are countless skylines, touge, and turnpikes, all challenging and spectacular roads within a short distance of the capital. For this … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Driving across Japan in a JNC, Day 10

On the final day of our cross-Japan trip, we woke up in Okayama with a decision to make. If we stuck to the back roads, we’d end up having to travel straight through the heart of Kobe and Osaka. On … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Driving across Japan in a JNC, Day 09

With just two more days to go, our trip was winding to a close. We had just crossed from the southern island of Kyushu to Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s four main islands. Now were were headed back onto the … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Driving across Japan in a JNC, Day 08

In the previous installment of our cross-Japan trip, we began the northeasterly journey back home, but on a different route that would hug the southern coast of Japan. As such, we’d voyage from Kyushu to Shikoku, two of the four islands that … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Driving across Japan in a JNC, Day 07

In the last installment of our cross-Japan trip, a life-long personal goal was achieved. I had driven from the northern Hokkaido on one end of Japan to southern Kyushu on the other. However, the journey was far from over. We and our … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Driving across Japan in a JNC, Day 06

As our compatriots in California enjoy themselves on the Touge California this weekend, we do a little driving of our own, in the sixth installment of our cross-Japan tour. On Day 05, we stowed our 1978 Isuzu 117 Coupé to explore Nagasaki on … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Godzilla invades New York — Behind the scenes of the NY Auto Show with a Hakosuka GT-R

There is no US city more hostile to the automobile than New York. Most of its 8.5 million residents don’t own cars. Here, they are nothing more than 3,000-pound accumulators of parking tickets and dents. Some of the city’s roads aren’t even paved. Then we … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Driving across Japan in a JNC, Day 04

By the end of Day 03 we’d arrived at Shimonoseki, the southernmost point of Honshu, Japan’s main landmass. As the island on which most of the nation’s major cities — Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima — are located, Honshu contains about 60 percent of … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Driving across Japan in a JNC, Day 03

During Day 01 and Day 02 of our road trip across Japan, it rained constantly. On the morning of Day 03, the weather finally broke. As the clouds departed to the north, we were headed south, and that meant nothing but … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Tohoku, Part 02

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the twin disasters — a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and devastating tsunami — that struck Japan off the coast of Tohoku in 2011. In remembrance, we are re-running a series of stories that relate to the event’s aftermath. This … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Tohoku, Part 01

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the twin disasters — a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and devastating tsunami — that struck Japan off the coast of Tohoku in 2011. In remembrance, we are re-running a series of stories that relate to the event’s aftermath. This … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Driving across Japan in a JNC, Day 02

In Part 01 of our once-in-a-lifetime road trip, we set out from Nagoya and headed to Maizuru City via Lake Biwa. Our car was an Isuzu fresh off of a head gasket change, and while Day Two was yet another day of … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: Driving across Japan in a JNC, Day 01

In 2015 we took a once-in-a-lifetime road trip across Japan behind the wheel of a proper Showa Era icon. The chariot of choice was an Isuzu 117 Coupé, and it would serve as our trusty steed for 10 days and over 2,400 kilometers before … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: A Miura Hanto Sunday Drive

For most, the term “Sunday drive” means a leisurely excursion, to no place in particular, just a way to exercise the family car. In Japan, it can include a number of things — blissfully empty touge, kohi (coffee) and kuruma (car) … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: The Onsens of Yamagata Prefecture

Having toured Aomori and Iwate Prefectures previously and discovered many interesting sights along the way, we decided to again return to the northern coasts, this time to explore the Prefecture of Yamagata and the Sea of Japan Coast Road. 

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GRAND TOURING: Lake Okutama Getaway

In the far western outskirts of Tokyo, Okutama-ko (Lake Okutama) has been a popular weekend destination for many years.  The scenic touge on the north and south sides of the lake provide a popular destination for weekend motorcyclists and kyuusha drivers … Continue reading

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GRAND TOURING: New use for a Toyota Hiace

The Honda S800 has been a great steed for Grand Touring, but it’s going off to get a tear down to look at some possible valve clearance issues. Who needs a flatbed?

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GRAND TOURING: Boso Hanto, Day 02

On Day 01 of our Boso Hanto tour we visited visited hallowed ground, a Skyline specialist shop, and stopped for the night with some curry and a bit of Honda tourism. Welcome to Day 02, where we continued through the peninsula in the … Continue reading

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