GRAND TOURING: Mazda Hakone Turnpike and Izu Skyline

GR1-056s_Izu Skyline Honda S800 Coupe

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 drive, we decided to take a Friday off, start early and connect a number of them — the Odawara-Atsugi Toll Road, the Mazda Hakone Turnpike, and then the full length of the Izu Skyline. 

GR1-058s_Izu Skyline Honda S800 CoupeGR1-040s_Izu Skyline Porsche 911

With an estimated round trip time of six hours, we planned on being back in Tokyo for lunch. Meeting at one of Japan’s largest parking areas, Ebina PA, on the Tomei at 07:00, we parked the lightweight S800 and waited for a friend driving one of those funny arse-engined air-cooled things.

GR1-030s_Izu SkylineGR1-031s_Izu Skyline JSDF Toyota Mega Cruiser

We chose parking spot Hebi (snake) B27, next to some relief service SDF trucks — including several Toyota Mega Cruisers — and grabbed a cold can of coffee in the cool morning air.

GR1-032s_Izu Skyline Nissan GTR R35

Re-joining the Tomei Expressway for the quick run to the Odawara-Atsugi Toll Road, we were passed by an R35 GT-R at speed. Fitted with a big after-market exhaust of some sort, the Godzilla sounded nearly as good as the HiAce it was chasing.

GR1-045s_Izu Skyline Porsche 911GR1-060s_Izu Skyline Honda S800 Coupe

After a nearly 30 km straight-line run to Odawara city, we joined the Mazda Turnpike for the climb into the mist-shrouded mountains around Hakone. Opened in the late 1960s as the Tokyu Turnpike, it winds south to the shores of Ashinoko (Lake Ashi).

GR1-041s_Izu Skyline Honda S800 CoupeR3a-083s_Izu Skyline Honda S800 Coupe

Though called the Toyo Tires Turnpike between 2006 and 2014, the generally accepted unbranded name for this touge is simply the Hakone Turnpike. Like a few touge in the area, it has been featured in a number of fictitious portrayals due mainly to its spectacular views of Fuji-san and challenging curves.

GR1-067s_Izu Skyline Honda S800 Coupe

On previous drives we’ve turned north, taking the Ashinoko Skyline perhaps for a Moose Hills hamburger lunch, this time we headed south to add the 60 km run down the Izu Skyline.

GR1-037s_Izu Skyline Mazda RX7 FD3SR3a-076s_Izu Skyline Honda S800 CoupeGR1-061s_Izu Skyline Honda Civic TypeR FD2

Though we met another couple of drivers at a few parking areas — notably a bewinged FD RX-7, and a hot FD2 Civic Type R — for the rest of the 200 km round trip we had nothing but the booming of a Ruf full-stainless system and the wail of a 10,000-rpm Honda to keep us company.

R3a-067s_Izu Skyline R3a-071s_Izu Skyline Honda S800 Coupe

That, and of course the near endless series of twists, curves, short straights, crests, and dips as we went up and down, in and out of the tree line, all the way down to the coast and back.

GR1-036s_Izu SkylineR3a-091s_Izu Skyline Honda S800 Coupe

The journey back into Tokyo on nearly deserted roads was unremarkable, except perhaps for the illusion of a lovers-filled hotel steaming along merrily on the down side of the Tomei.

Skorj is co-founder of Filmwasters and you can find more of his work at Cars on Film and here on JNC

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10 Responses to GRAND TOURING: Mazda Hakone Turnpike and Izu Skyline

  1. SHC says:

    Loved the article and the photo’s of the S800 . I can practically hear the sweet exhaust notes echoing off the buildings in those pictures.

  2. GatewayZach says:

    Great content! I’d love to see the photos in higher resolution.

  3. Nigel says:

    Great article Skorj. Any other interesting sightings of the vintage kind ?

  4. Alan says:

    “Fitted with a big after-market exhaust of some sort, the Godzilla sounded nearly as good as the Hiace it was chasing.”

    Ha! Outstanding car of course, but yeah, not much of a sonic rewarded if ya know what I mean.

    I always look forward to these and am never disappointed.

  5. Ant says:

    Always enjoy these S800 trips. Seems like a wonderful little car whether up in the mountains or sneaking through Tokyo.

    • Skorj says:

      Thanks! It is a great car for just that; neat for small Tokyo streets, the Shuto too, and indeed great in the mountains through the twisty stuff. More than a few hours connecting the two on expressways, and the diff, exhaust, induction, wind, and road noise start to get tedious.

      I’ve stopped taking out the interior for further weight reductions, as not sure I want to wear ear muffs when driving…

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