Our Self-Drive Tamura 2-days tour takes you through the heart of the Tamura region in Fukushima prefecture, Japan’s third largest prefecture. Starting and ending from Tokyo, enjoy stress-free, independent exploration of the Japanese countryside - taking in some of Tamura's important historical landmarks and time to learn about the local culture.
Tamura is located at the heart of the Abukuma plateau, covering an area of over 450 square kilometers, and is blessed with verdant nature, gentle rolling hills and numerous satoyama agricultural villages. The Abukuma Mountains cover a vast range, producing a climate with varied temperatures over four distinct seasons.
Throughout the tour, you’ll sample delicious local cuisine and indulge in the hospitality of Japanese accommodation. Travel in comfort with your own eco-friendly hybrid rental car, equipped navigation device, and a tailored itinerary featuring our curated stops and suggested eateries, all while making your own discoveries and connections with the local people of Tamura throughout your adventure.
Hybrid Rental Car
We help with the preparations to arrange pick-up of your eco-friendly, spacious hybrid rental car, which is provided as standard for the duration of the tour.
Legend of Sakanoue no Tamuramaro
In 802 one of the most critical crusades in all of Japanese history was being waged. During Japan’s early Heian period (794-1185), the Imperial Court in Kyoto sent the recently appointed Shogun, Sakanoue no Tamuramaro (758-811) - an outstanding figure of the period - to the far reaches of the domain to subdue the eastern barbarians of the far northeast. So important was his task in the eyes of the Court that the title of “Sei-i Tai-Shogun“, or “Barbarian-subduing Generalissimo”, which he was the first to hold, was sought after by the highest military commanders in Japan over the next thousand years.
Since early times, a major concern of the Imperial Court in Nara and Kyoto had been the subjugation of the tribal peoples who occupied the far northeast. They were then called Emishi (or Ebisu), names indicating that they were "eastern barbarians", and the vast, untamed territory that they inhabited then was divided into two very large provinces: Mutsu (present-day Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, and Aomori Prefectures) on the east, and Dewa (present-day Yamagata and part of Akita Prefectures) on the west. For centuries, the Emishi continued resistance, harassing encroaching settlers and launching raids by mounted archers on local administrative bases. By command of the Imperial Court, Sakanoue no Tamuramaro went on to subdue much of the northeastern regions, and this greatly helped extend the Imperial domain further to the northern end of the main island of Japan. Today he is celebrated in Japanese history as a model of great military virtues.
More than 1,200 years have passed, yet the success of Sakanoue no Tamuramaro and his band of warriors from antiquity is still felt in the hills and valleys of the Abukuma mountains and countryside of Tamura.
Aizu-Wakamatsu and Urabandai 2-night Extension
We also offer the opportunity to extend the tour with a leisurely 2-night extension to visit nearby Aizu-Wakamatsu - set in a beautiful valley, with onsen, a historic castle, well-preserved traditional townscapes and local crafts - and optional, gentle nature walking in the highlands of Urabandai National Park, dotted by colorful ponds and lakes framed by majestic mountains.
Travel by high-speed bullet train from Tokyo to Koriyama, to receive your rental car, then drive to Tamura in the countryside of the Abukuma plateau, just over two and a half hours away from Tokyo.
We offer a recommended Tamura Monuments driving course on your first day in Tamura, since this gives a perfect introduction to the history and landmarks of the region.
Accommodation: Japanese accommodation (Japanese or Wester-style room)
Today there is the opportunity to explore Tamura further, together with the local region. Visit the nearby history and folklore museum, located in a wonderfully restored Edo-period farmhouse, to learn about local culture and history. Clients looking for an active day can enjoy a 2-hour walk on the top of Mt. Takashiba, which has excellent panoramic views of the surrounding plains, with pockets of countryside satoyama agricultural villages, and the Abukuma mountain range.
Return to Koriyama to drop off your rental car before traveling onward by train to Tokyo.