The vast wilderness that can be encountered only by road travel.
The main peak of the Nasu Plateau, which can be seen from in front of Nasu-shiobara Station, is Mount Chausu. The Nasu Plateau line, which stretches out from the center of the city up to the Mount Chausu hillside, is the representative scenic driving route of this area. Also known as “the Nasu Highway”, it is a popular route that offers a view of the Nasu mountain range including Mount Chausu while you drive along scenic roads. The best time of the year to visit is from spring to autumn. The view that comes in through your front window greatly differs according to season. The scenery is ablaze with blooming flowers in the fresh green season of spring, the refreshing air that can only be experienced in the plateau is pleasant in the summer, and a grand panorama of the fall foliage spreads out before your eyes in the fall. The observations decks that appear everywhere you go command views of the Nasu-shiobara cityscape, and the lovely night views are especially recommended sights.
When reaching farthest end of the Nasu Plateau line, you start to see the Nasu Ropeway, which stretches up to just below the top of Mount Chausu. Once you reach this spot, you can enjoy a stroll up in the sky. The end of the ropeway is at the 9th stage of Mount Chausu. Here, you can enjoy scenery that you normally cannot see spreading out in front of you because the altitude suddenly increases. Clear days are recommended because of the landscape spreading out far into the distance, but a fantastic sea of clouds can be seen on cloudy and rainy days if you are lucky. Those who enjoy mountain climbing should definitely walk the trails that lead to the top of Mount Chausu. It is an easy course that takes only three hours even if you leave your car at the parking lot and walk to and from the mountaintop. The beautiful landscape and vast natural scenery of Mount Chausu are sure to leave you with an unforgettable experience.
Address:Nasudake 215, Yumoto, Nasu-machi, Nasu-gun, Tochigi-ken
Access:About 30 mins. from the Nasu Interchange on the Tohoku Expressway
Spots to drop by to make your drive in Nasu even more enjoyable.
When entering the fork in the road on the way to the Nasu Plateau line, there is a hot spring inn that may be little-known, but is very popular among its visitors, called the Omaru Onsen Ryokan（Hot Spring Inn）. It is a hot spring that has been known as a “hot spring for beauty” for ages. The inn is registered with the Japan Association of Secluded Hot Spring Inns, which is a private group that evaluates hot springs with their own standards, and is highly regarded by hot spring lovers. There are three indoor baths – for men, for women, and mixed. The five outdoor baths each offer their own distinct and pleasant atmospheres. It is also very dignified as a lodging facility and the dishes are full of local Nasu ingredients, making them one of the main attractions of this inn.
The Sessho-seki and One Thousand Jizo Statues are recommended for those who want to see striking Japanese scenery on their driving trips in Nasu. They can easily be fit into your scenic driving plans as they are located in the same premises right before entering the mountains as the Nasu Plateau line gets steep.
The fully-exposed rocks in the area around Sessho-seki were believed to have spirits of their own as there are no signs of life or vegetation whatsoever among them. This legend of specters became part of their folklore until they became known as rocks of terror. Today, however, science tells us that this happens in hot spring areas due to the spouting of toxic fumes such as hydrogen sulfide.
The One Thousand Jizo Statues started off with a legend where a misbehaved priest received divine punishment near Sessho-seki a long time ago. Jizo statues are small stone statues that are very common in Japan, and there was only one at first, but they started to grow in numbers as time passed. They are still increasing today as local volunteers are striving to reach a thousand for praying for peace while all these jizo statues continue to give off a mystifying sight for all those who come.
Here, visitors can see two sightseeing spots along with a glimpse of ancient Japanese religious faith.
Stop by at a roadside station when you need a break from your driving. Roadside stations are rest areas for drivers that offer specialty products of the regions that they are located in, ranging from food to crafts, and are spreading throughout Japan. There are three roadside stations in the Nasu area and “Nasu Highland Yuai no Mori”, which serves particularly delicious lunches, is a recommended spot. The “Nasutaurant” restaurant on the premises has a menu called “Nasuben (Boxed Nasu Lunches)”, which is filled with the appeals of Nasu.
With including nine types of local specialties as a rule for these boxed Nasu lunches, establishments and restaurants in eight locations within Nasu Town serve unique lunch menus that can only be found in Nasu. “Nasuben” at the “Nasutaurant” are limited to fifteen meals per day. The hearty lunches filled with the flavors of Nasu including the main dishes made with Nasu beef and the soups that contain plenty of vegetables from the Nasu Plateau cost 1,300 yen. Please be sure to try a dish as they are fulfilling both in appearance and flavor.
Omaru Onsen Ryokan（Hot Spring Inn）
Address:Yumoto 269, Nasu-machi, Nasu-gun, Tochigi-ken
Access:About 30 mins. from the Nasu Interchange on the Tohoku Expressway
Sessho-seki / One Thousand Jizo Statues
Address:Yumoto 182, Nasu-machi, Nasu-gun, Tochigi-ken
Access:About 20 mins. from the Nasu Interchange on the Tohoku Expressway
Nasu Highland Road Station – Yuai no Mori
Address:Takakuotsu 593-8, Nasu-machi, Nasu-gun, Tochigi-ken
Hours:[Shops] 09:00 to 16:00
[Restaurants] 11:00 to 15:00
Access:About 25 mins. by car from Nasu-shiobara Station
A driving trip in the Nasu Plateau that the whole family can enjoy!
Nasu Highland Park, which is a thirty-minute drive from Nasu-shiobara Station, is a particularly popular amusement facility among those travelling with their families. This park is filled with many unique attractions that the entire family can enjoy, ranging from attractions for small children to full-scale roller coasters for adults.
A popular attraction with children is the two-tiered merry-go-round, the “Carousel”, which is the largest in the world, standing at thirty-eight meters tall. Inside the structure that resembles a fairyland castle is an entirely different world of fantasy.
Popular with adults here is the great number of roller coasters. When making a sudden drop down a ride such as the Big Boom Coaster with its steepest slope at an angle of 75 degrees or the F2, which takes you for a ride with your feet hanging in the air, it feels as if you are taking a jump into the grand Nasu Plateau.
After driving fifty minutes north from Nasu-shiobara Station, you will reach Nasu Animal Kingdom, where animals are raised on the spacious land of the grand Nasu Plateau. The road along the way is on a charm-filled scenic route surrounded by nature where drivers can enjoy their driving and those who enjoy the scenery forget the time passing simply by staring out through the window.
Nasu Animal Kingdom is not just a zoo where visitors only get to look at the animals. Its greatest feature is that it is an interactive zoo where visitors can feed, touch, and walk with the animals. Enjoy taking commemorative photos while petting some of the over six hundred animals that have been gathered from all around the world. There are also events that can only be seen here such as the Parrots show, which is performed by various parakeets and parrots of the world.
Renting a car and traveling freely lets you have encounters with all kinds of people and things on your driving route in addition to these sightseeing spots. By getting to know these regions better, your memories of the Nasu Plateau are sure to be even more special.
Nasu Highland Park
Address:Takakuotsu 3375, Nasu-machi, Nasu-gun, Tochigi-ken
Access:About 30 mins. from Nasu-shiobara Station
Nasu Animal Kingdom
Address:Ooshima Midorigaoka, Nasu-machi, Nasu-gun, Tochigi-ken
Access:About 50 mins. from Nasushiobara Station
Rent that Japanese Car You Have Been Wanting to Drive
One major appeal of rent-a-cars is that they let you drive Japanese cars that are hard to find in the country you are from, such as the luxury sedans and sports cars, and light motor vehicles. Making reservations is becoming easier every year. For example, you can now make reservations on the NISSAN Rent a Car website in English, traditional Chinese, or Korean. One thing to watch out for when driving on Japanese roads is traffic jams. It is a good idea to return your car with time to spare as the roads may be crowded during long holiday seasons, Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays. Please be especially careful until you get used to the transportation conditions when driving in Japan as traffic here is on the left side of the road and, excluding some areas of the world such as Hong Kong and Britain, the driver’s seat and direction of travel are on the opposite side. Some rent-a-car companies have car navigation systems that give guidance in multiple languages so it may be a good idea to check this out when reserving a car.
NISSAN Rent a Car Nasushiobara Ekimae
Address:1-1-5 Oharamanishi, Nasushiobara, Tochigi
Tel:0287-67-1523 (8:00 – 20:00)
Access:1 min on foot from West Exit of JR Nasu-Shiobara Station.