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Driving in Japan: The hazards

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Sandy, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Confirmed.
     
  2. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Cortina is a piece of piss compared to many access roads around the country.
     
  3. smackies

    smackies A Local

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    Think this is the first time I've quoted myself.

    The little beast has been on far more adventurous roads than Cortina.
     
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  4. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Lets just remember that MannyK asked us about a car for Nagano city and surrounds..ie the Big smoke.
    Not some far flung acess road in Niigata.
    Most of his driving will be on nice roads and freeways (ie snowmonkeys, Matsumoto, Zenkoji)
    Even if it snows in Nagano, it seldom settles
     
  5. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Have you slipped @smackies ?
     
  6. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    In that case 2WD likely perfectly fine. I was surprised by how awesome the roads were around there.

    But the 2WD v 4WD discussion is worth having. Then ppl can make their own informed decisions.
     
  7. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    2wd for small cars late feb in nagano and surrounds
    4wd for where it snows alot and in January. Also 4wd for Vans as they suffer from grip balance anyways.
     
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  8. smackies

    smackies A Local

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    Sure. Have also slipped in 4WD. Have slipped walking too.

    For my purposes, I have never had a problem with 2WD (front wheel). Those purposes have over the years included January driving, access roads, all around Hokkaido driving, all the way up Honshu driving. But as I've pointed out, I'm not a terrible Verm-type driver.

    4WD has its place. But can be overkill.
     
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  9. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ice can be more of a problem around Nagano City, after a cold night.
     
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  10. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Any road that has a highside bank/retaining wall and moisture... pretty common
     
  11. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Biggest issue I had was the hill outside @skichanger s place. I thought we might slip heading up to a few resorts but momentum was my friend. Car was also heavily loaded though - when it was just driver and gear it was much easier to get up the hill - the extra 5 bodies had an impact.

    Had one small wheel slip on ice while driving on flat deserted road in Hokkaido, not enough to even concern me, but enough to remind you there is ICE under that powder and to be extra cautious.
     
  12. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    This is probably why a driver, inexperienced with driving on snowy roads in Japan, should probably get 4WD if possible.
     
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  13. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    For me it's the rubber that's more important. If you've driven a 4WD rental in North America with all season tyres then a 2WD with proper winter tyres in Japan is a step up.

     
  14. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    It's just all extra points stacked in your favour. For the extra few bucks, for the little bit of improved road traction..

    But if it's rented from Nagano surely it'll have Winter tyres not All Season anyway. Definitely a point to consider if renting outside snowy areas in Japan then driving in though!
     
  15. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I agree.
     
  16. Beerman

    Beerman One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Somewhere in "driving in Canada" thread, is some advice to find a safe spot, (large quiet car parks work well) and throw your car around, intentionally loosing traction under braking, cornering, accelerating. Whatever you can throw at the car, in a semi controlled condition.
    This gives the driver genuine tactile feel for some of the cars capabilities and what's under foot, and what you could expect to come up against during controlled testing. Although road conditions change somewhat, having an idea of your vehicles behaviour in an unexpected event, is better than none at all. Ten minutes practice in a car park could save you and your family a lot of stress, not to mention $ and :headbang:.

    Plenty of time is spent on selecting the best tools for a given job, but not enough time assessing our own skills, and how we can improve them. Now tell me, the world does not need better drivers!!
     
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  17. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    How many days/weeks/months have you spent driving the same or very similar car though? It's OK when you're day in day out driving something you've driven before for a month or so, but for someone who's never driven in snow before in a different car to what they normally drive, i'm taking less rather than more chances. My bro had a 2WD kei car with snow tyres and im sure he'd get that to places I wouldnt with a 4WD with snow tyres, but I go to Japan for a couple of weeks, not permanently live there. I'd say guys like @Sandy and @skichanger would be a hell of a lot more capable in a 2WD with snow tyres that I would be in a 4WD in snow tyres, based purely on their time on the road in snow. Some times it's about minimizing risks, and this one is a fairly simple no-brainer to me.
     
  18. smackies

    smackies A Local

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    Yeah. Nah.

    You're just a terrible driver. 4WD can only help so much.
     
  19. mannyk

    mannyk One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    sounds like fun
     
  20. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Any help is welcome. If you had the choice between 4WD and 2WD im sure you're taking 4WD every time, why not? If you're hiring a car in Nagano then you're not paying extra for 4WD, or snow tyres, so I would be requesting it every time. If you get it great, if you dont then I guess you deal with it.
     
  21. Beerman

    Beerman One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I practice with every car I hire....:D
     
  22. Kumark55

    Kumark55 First Runs

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    Holy crap, driving in Sapporo was a bit crazy in the winter. They don't really plow the roads much, so be really cautious while driving especially at night! I have some fond memories of ripping off an un-intended 360 in the car late one night due to bad road conditions.

    Check out a few more stories from my Ski trip to Japan on my blog!
    http://www.beermountaineer.com/
     
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  23. argento

    argento Hard Yards

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    for those Hokkaido drivers out there, which is the easier drive from Furano: Kamui or Tumamu (or some othe nice ski place)?

    I am assuming that if one is based in Rusutsu the "easiest" (if not shortest) drive is to Niseko, right?
     
  24. mannyk

    mannyk One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    searching using Tocoo, they dont have suv 4wd available, am I too early like it is with accom??
    Def looks like paying a lot more from what I can see for a 4wd, ??
     
  25. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Don't get a SUV 4wd, you'll just get rorted $$$ wise
    Every car type in Japan is offered in 4wd.
    I'll find the toocoo link\https://www2.tocoo.jp/en/contents/cstm_req/step2?req_type=2
     
  26. argento

    argento Hard Yards

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  27. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thats a big Rav4 hey? In Hokkaido... thats fine...
    I've always found 4 people is a hard number to accomodate. 3 and ski gear can fit anywhere...four needs a much bigger car /roof racks. So yeah..looks sweet
     
  28. argento

    argento Hard Yards

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    we are only 2 plus the skis. Thus my question if it is overkill
     
  29. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Oh sorry I read 4.
    whats your budget?..ie how much are the Rav4?
    Personally..and this is just me, i'd hire a Subaru in Hokkaido if budget was no issue
     
  30. argento

    argento Hard Yards

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    http://www.otarubayrentacar.com/types/suv/

    looks like 6,000 a day??
     
  31. mannyk

    mannyk One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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  32. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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  33. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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  34. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Top car park at Suginohara mid week. :thumbs:
     
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  35. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman A Local

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    We used to do this in the Perisher carpark in the 80's . We had the Volvo ski team there one year all pissed as farts hanging out of the sunroofs of latest model Volvos seeing how many 360's we could do with the handbrake . Wouldn't happen today :cry:
     
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  36. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not always about car familiarity though that helps. I have driven a lot of different cars in a lot of different conditions which I reckon helps. Of my cars in Japan I am happiest in the rear wheel drive cause that is what I did all my early driving in. But DH feels really uncomfortable in that car because he has done most of his driving in front wheel drive cars. And Sandy puts chains on his car when warranted.

    BTW never feel bad about minimizing risk. Would be nothing worse than being responsible for a serious accident in Japan.
     
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  37. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ah the good old days when we weren't scared to do some dumb slightly risky things.
     
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  38. mannyk

    mannyk One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Wouldnt have picked you for a hoon...;)
    I wont have the hire car with me while in your town..
     
  39. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Mums Barina on my Ps in Perisher car park in May.. Ten CM of fresh . Them days.
     
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  40. mannyk

    mannyk One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks for the link, im a little confused, the above link gives all the details but no price. It says for price refer to the homepage which doesnt seem to indicate 4wd on any of the cars.. Also going through the booking process it requires Int drivers licence. Do you need to have that before you can book?
    Thanks for help
     
  41. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Surcharge for a 4wd is 1500 yen (ish) a day.
    The international # bit is confusing first time...but I just wrote down my aussie number.
    You'll need a licence from your NRMA (or state comparison) . It costs 44 bucks
     
  42. mannyk

    mannyk One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Great .. thanks..:thumbs::thumbs:
     
  43. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah, I don't even have snow tyres, but tyres rated at 300kph!!!! Not the best on snow.
    But that means I need to read the road carefully, and know exactly how my car behaves on snow. That means I need to understand exactly when to put the chains on, and how to drive when I don't have chains on. That means being careful.
    So for someone who doesn't drive at the snow much, or haven't driven in Japan, I DO recommend going for 4WD and snow tyres.
     
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  44. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Who me? ROFL Age and injury has mellowed me. Also you get away with heaps more if you present as being conservative.
     
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  45. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    You'll need a photo to affix to it also.
     
  46. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I take my own now.
    Post office was a rort.
     
  47. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    I did post office. Mainly because photo needs to be less than 6 months old and the date is printed on the post office photo. It avoids any potential issue.

    Although my local RAC office are happy to take a passport photo for you when you go in to do the International Licence (not sure what they charge).

    I was going to do mine via post (6 applications) but when I rang to check if it was ok to just put the total amount and one postage charge as they were all coming back to the one place I was advised to do it in person rather than post due to the long time to get it back. In person they'll do it while you wait.

    They accept photocopy of passport and licence for all the applications so you don't have to leave your family members without a licence on their person for the day. Just remember to photocopy BOTH sides of the licence.
     
  48. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I just took a selfie with phone.
    printed at officeworks.
    Went to local NRMA... they've been so Blase about the process. Each time.
    Japan loves printed paper work , thats for sure.
     
  49. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah, you dont need a truly official photo like for a passport that has to exactly fit and cant have 1/10 of your ear not showing or something so the grumpy bag of shit at auspost cracks it and wont send it through.
     
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  50. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    I did pull rank with mine.
    The boss wanted to retake the photo because my fringe was too close to my eyes obscuring one of my eyebrows.
    It was a half decent photo (as opposed to a total crim style mug shot).
    I told him "it's for an International Licence it doesn't matter", he argued the point, so I told him it's my photo, I'll take the risk, I don't want another one.
    He wasn't happy. LOL
    Don't mess with a girl when she's got a flattering passport photo!!