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Yamanami Highway (Kumamoto) やまなみハイウェイ

Yamanami Highway Yamanami Highway
Yamanami Highway Yamanami Highway

Rolling vistas on the Yamanami Highway

Japan is not a land of wide open spaces. From shoe-box apartments to cramped subway compartments, and mountains fencing in towns and cities, space is limited. So while visiting a highway in Japan doesn't sound like a top tourist attraction, the reason why Yamanami Highway is popular is its vast, rolling views and open landscapes, akin to roads in America or New Zealand.

How to Get There

Seeing the views of the Yamanami Highway is best by car, where you can stop and look at places of interest. If you don't have a car, check out tour bus trips.

Top hot springs in Kyushu

Prefectural road #11 is only really known as the Yamanami Highway by tourists. It passes through the area around Yufuin , Beppu , Kokonoe , Kuju, Oita , and Nagayu , which are also some of the best places to find hot springs in Japan, with Beppu's waters being particularly famous. Driving along the highway not only offers great views and hot springs, but attractions such as national parks, waterfalls, hiking, and steaming mountains.

The best driving course

The Aso-Kuju National Park and mountain range are of particular note for stunning views, therapeutic waters and local dairy products. In the area around Kuju Highland area, you can cross a pedestrian suspension bridge, which spans the ravine and the sky. The Ministry of the Environment suggests a 14-kilometer driving course from Kuju to Aso , encompassing the best views.

When to visit

Any time of year will offer commanding views, but spring and autumn are top seasons. Verdant summer views and crisp winter scenes are also well worth seeing. For foreign tourists, you can rent a car cheaply and easily in Japan with an international driver's license, or depending on your nationality, a Japanese translation of your home country's license.

The latest information may differ, so please check the official website

* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.

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