Happy Mountain Day from JNC! If you’ve never heard of Mountain Day, a national holiday in Japan, don’t feel bad. Over a third of actual Japanese people have no idea it exists either. To be fair, it’s a new holiday — so new, in fact, that this year is its first passing. As many JNCers know, Japan is 70 percent mountainous, which creates an abundance of incredible touge roads. We’ve visited a few, and these are some of our favorites.
The image above, as well as the lead photo, were from Skorj’s trip to Nagano Prefecture published in 2012. The sign in the lead photo is the actual Japanese kanji for the word “mountain”. It also makes up part of the word 峠, better known to English speakers as touge.
After the 2011 tsunami and earthquake, Skorj headed into the Tohoku region and showed us a country recovering from one of its biggest natural disasters.
Sometimes drivers need to beware of monkeys, as when Skorj took his Honda S800 coupe into the hills of Boso Hanto.
Inspired by Japan’s incredible driver’s roads, in 2015 we decided to bring the experience to the US with our inaugural Touge California.
The Manza Highway in Gunma Prefecture is a bit more barren in foliage, but no less breathtaking.
Touge roads are of course, popular with bikers and skilled sanitora drivers, as we discovered on a tour of Yamagata Prefecture‘s onsen.
The Ise-Shima Sky-Line offered spectacular views, seaside villages, and delicious food.
More recently, we tackled one of the three birthplaces of underground drifting, Mazda Hakone Turnpike, on a trip to the Izu Skyline.
For a full list of our travels, see the JNC Grand Touring series. That’s a lot of roads, but we still haven’t seen the half of them. Then go out and find your own touge road to celebrate Mountain Day!