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Traveling Japan's Famed Three-Star Route

Traveling Japan's Famed Three-Star Route

Date published: 15 August 2021

Japan's Three-Star Route stretches northwest of Tokyo through an assortment of castle towns and traditional villages all awarded three stars by the Michelin Green Guide Japan.

Whether you're a fan of the outdoors or just want to relax somewhere quiet, the spectacular scenery and vintage atmosphere of these central Japan gems each have earned their place amongst Japan’s greatest sightseeing spots.

Here we have collected LIVE JAPAN’s series of articles unpacking the highlights of this incredible journey, allowing our readers an in-depth and complete overview of Japan's Three-Star Route to help make the perfect itinerary!

Like an Anime Fantasy! 7 Stunning Snowy Places to Visit During Winter in Japan

Like an Anime Fantasy! 7 Stunning Snowy Places to Visit During Winter in Japan

Located between Tokyo and Osaka, the Chubu region is full of sightseeing spots filled with nature and history. The combination of being close to both the mountains and the Sea of Japan makes the snowfall here lush and gorgeous, forming an incredible winter snowscape brimming with Japanese ambiance.

This article presents seven recommended spots and events in the Chubu region, including world heritage sites and majestic castle ruins.

Tokyo to Shirakawa-go: These Budget Bus Tickets Take You To Japan’s Top-Rated Places!

Tokyo to Shirakawa-go: These Budget Bus Tickets Take You To Japan’s Top-Rated Places!

The Chubu region is roughly divided into four areas, each boasting its own unique landscape: the Matsumoto/Kamikochi area, famous for Matsumoto Castle, the Hida-Takayama/Shirakawa-go area and its quaint thatched-roof villages, the Kanazawa area, where you can visit Kenrokuen Garden, one of Japan’s three most famous gardens, and the Toyama area, home to the picturesque Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.

In the article below, we introduce our recommended sightseeing spots in Chubu along with budgeting help, bus pass tips, and more!

Enjoy a Panorama of the Northern Japan Alps on the Shinhotaka Ropeway!

Enjoy a Panorama of the Northern Japan Alps on the Shinhotaka Ropeway!

Celebrating its 50th anniversary in July 2020, the Shinhotaka Ropeway's glorious panoramas are considered one of Japan’s unmissable sights.

The breathtaking North Japan Alps can be seen in all their glory as the ropeway, which boasts the only double-decker gondola lift in the country, takes you up 2,156 meters up to the final station. Check out timetable information and some of the scenery you'll encounter with our Shinhotaka Ropeway guide here!

Complete Guide to Kamikochi: Access, Hiking, and Sightseeing at a Beautiful Mountain Resort Area

Complete Guide to Kamikochi: Access, Hiking, and Sightseeing at a Beautiful Mountain Resort Area

Kamikochi, located in Nagano Prefecture, is a popular mountain resort just a few hours from Tokyo packed with outdoor adventures in the splendor of nature.

Here we present some of the most popular spots in Kamikochi, complemented by information on limited seasonal attractions and tips on enjoying them best. We will also show you how to easily access the area from major cities like Tokyo and Nagoya.

Ultimate Guide to Matsumoto Castle: Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting!

Ultimate Guide to Matsumoto Castle: Everything You Need to Know Before Visiting!

Matsumoto Castle, located in Nagano, is famous for being the oldest surviving 5-tiered 6-story castle tower in Japan. While castle towers dot most of the country, only 12 are genuine relics from the Sengoku and Edo periods, and only five have been designated ‘national treasures.’ One of these is Matsumoto Castle.

Given an extra boost of vigor from the stunning Northern Alps backdrop, each season ushers in a fresh look to the jet-black castle and its surroundings to make for a different experience each time. Find out everything you need to know about this one-of-a-kind relic with our complete guide to Matsumoto Castle!

Unforgettable 3-Day Itinerary to Japan's Chubu Heartland: Traditional Towns, World Heritage Sites & More!

Unforgettable 3-Day Itinerary to Japan's Chubu Heartland: Traditional Towns, World Heritage Sites & More!

While driving is the most convenient way to tour the attractions of Chubu, navigating Japan’s confusing road system and narrow streets makes for a nerve-racking experience.

That's why in this article, we introduce various 3-day and 2-night bus travel routes across Chubu from Tokyo. Use this handy information to freely tour the sights of Chubu without the stress of needing to drive!

Top 14 Things to Do in Takayama: Enjoy Sightseeing and Great Food in Japan's Spellbinding Town!

Top 14 Things to Do in Takayama: Enjoy Sightseeing and Great Food in Japan's Spellbinding Town!

Takayama City, also known as Hida Takayama, is located in the Hida region in the northern part of Gifu Prefecture. This city boasts a charming townscape chock full of historical buildings and traditional culture handed down from the Edo period (1600 to 1868).

This article lists a number of famed sightseeing spots allowing tourists to explore and be utterly captivated by the wonders of Hida Takayama. We also provide tidbits on famous local dishes, including the much-coveted Hida-gyu beef!

Visiting Shirakawa-Go: Worth Visiting No Matter the Season

Visiting Shirakawa-Go: Worth Visiting No Matter the Season

Shirakawa-go, located in Gifu Prefecture's Ono District, is a captivating antique Japanese village that has grown into one of Japan’s major tourist attractions. Its historical value was recognized globally in 1995 when it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the area of Gokayama. Collectively, these sights are known as the Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama.

After this recognition, visitors from all over Japan and the world flocked to Shirakawa-go to witness a pure vision of Japan before the advent of modern metropolises.

However, many tourists are not aware of just how expansive the area is, leaving one flustered and short on time. To help plan the perfect Shirakawa-go itinerary, we present our picks for the region’s must-visit places along with the best ways to get around! Read on for more!

Traversing Chubu: Pristine Nature Less Than a Day From Tokyo!

Japan’s tranquil and charming Chubu region is just a short journey away for a quick escape from metropolitan life! Full of both man-made and natural beauty, there’s enough sightseeing potential here to cover a week or more easily.

Next time you’re in Japan, instead of doing the “golden route” again, be a little daring and get out to the Three-Star Route to uncover the secrets of Chubu!

Written by:

Steve Csorgo

Steve Csorgo

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Steve currently lives in Niigata City, two hours north-west of Tokyo. His passions include discovering local sake, dining at interesting restaurants and travelling as much of Japan as possible.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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