November 2015 Adventure Hitchhiking to Aomori Prefecture


On November 21, 2015, I hitchhiked in 9 cars from Gatsugi in Murakami City, Niigata Prefecture, to Hirosaki in Aomori, a distance of 330 kilometers of about 206 miles. This trip was so unusual that I feel compelled to document it in this post. The first car was from Murakami city at the intersection of Route 345 and Route 7. Two ladies with two little boys 3 and 4 years old stopped for me! They were on their way to … Continue reading →

James Japan on another Journey


Dear friends and followers of this website, On April 6th I left my home in Niigata City and traveled to Noda city in Chiba prefecture which is just to the northeast of Tokyo. It was the first day of an extended trip which will last till the end of April. But only a few days later on May 2th, I’m off again on the road! The red line starting at the top of the map and going southeast toward Tokyo … Continue reading →

The hitchhiker’s woe: Leaving valuables in the vehicle

Miki from Noshiro

My hitchhiking adventure to Aomori on March 6, 2015 was both wonderful and traumatic! Wonderful in that it was on a day of good warm weather with relatively little waiting for the next car. Traumatic in that I left my suitcase in car number 7, and my tablet PC in car number 9! This is Miki who lives in the city of Noshiro. She was driving from Tokyo and had not slept all night. I was throughly into a deep … Continue reading →

First Hitchhike Adventure of 2015: Niigata to Osaka

Route Niigata to Osaka

January 16, 2015: I had been intending for months to visit my good American friend from the State of Arkansas, Roger. I’ve especially been meaning to tell him about my new understanding of the 70th Week of Daniel! He lives in the big city of Osaka, Japanese second largest city. Though Osaka is 550 kilometers (344 miles) from home which is 125 kilometers (75 milers) further than Hirosaki in Aomori (my usual destination), it is actually easier to hitchhike to … Continue reading →

December 12, 2014 Adventure to Hirosaki

70 year old man who took me to Akita City.He says he has been married for 50 years.

Today for the first time instead of hitchhiking on lonely Route 345 along the Sea of Japan, I took the train 25 kilometers further to Gatsugi station so I could hitchhike on Route 7 which has more traffic. It was cold but it wasn’t raining or snowing as it was the previous week. Five drivers took me to Hachiryu which is the beginning of a free expressway. I opted to get off there even though the driver said he was … Continue reading →

December 5, 2014 Hitchhike Adventure to Aomori

Truck that took me to Aomori City from Murakami in Niigata.

I wore my warmest coat, hat and gloves for another adventure to Aomori on a cold rainy day. I stood again for more than an hour showing passing drivers my A4 paper sign that says “Tsuruoka”. The place was on Route 345 which runs along the now turbulent Sea of Japan. For some reason there was a lot of trash on the road and sidewalk where I stood. Workers arrived to clean it up. They got closer and closer to … Continue reading →

October 10, 2014 Hitchhike Adventure to Aomori

Mr. and Mrs. Suehiro who who took me from Niigata Murakami City to Kisagata in Yamagata, a distance of 150 some kilometers

October 13, 2014: Today is the first day of a major change in my life. I returned home from my trip to Aomori prefecture to an empty house. My beloved spouse has gone to America to help her daughter’s large family of 7 children. Our dog, Lady, was also not in the house but I retrieved her from the lady who is caring for her when I am not home, Yoneko san, whose business is to care for dogs when … Continue reading →

Six hundred kilometer hitchhike trip home in record time

Route from Hirosaki to Niigata

I left Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture just after 7:00 a.m. and got home in Niigata city by 2:04 p.m.! This is about as good as it gets to travel 600 km or 400 miles in only 7 hours in 5 cars with very little waiting. What’s more, the folks that picked me up made the trip really fun! It’s 200 kilometers further to take the Tohoku Expressway rather than Route 7 along the Sea of Japan, but because it is … Continue reading →

Adventure to Aomori via a new route

Hiroaki Abe, the truck driver who took me to Tsuruoka City in Yamagata Prefecture.

In order to save a bit more money, rather than take a train from Niigata city to Murakami, I decided to take that train only as far as Shibata. This placed me directly on Route 7 rather than Route 345 on the Sea of Japan. The last two times hitchhiking on Route 345, I had to wait over an hour to catch the first ride. I thought perhaps my chances would be better on Route 7. The first driver was … Continue reading →

February – March 2014 Adventure in Kansai

A couple who took me from Nadachitanihama SA to Mitsuke station which is only a short train ride home.

February 28, Day 1 It’s the first day of a one week adventure traveling mainly by hitchhiking! I’m on my way to Kansai of which the principle cities are Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe. Today’s destination was Osaka. I hitchhiked again from Niigata City to Osaka. This time I made it in record time arriving directly at my friend’s house at 4:50 P.M.! And it was totally void of any cost for transportation. The first driver was a young man, Mr. … Continue reading →

February 26, 2014 Hitchhike Adventure to Aomori

Route 345 and the Sea of Japan near Majima Station, Murakami City, Niigata Prefecture.

Today was partially overcast with dark snow clouds. It snowed from time to time. Nevertheless I made it as far as Odate City in 8 vehicles. Car #2 was Mr. Kawahara who works with Honda motor company selling car parts. I may see him again at the local Home Center in March. He took me to Tsuruoka city. From there a lady took me a bit further to the Route 7 bypass in Tsuruoka. Car #4 was Mr. Masayuki Morita … Continue reading →

Mid Winter Hitchhike Adventure to Aomori

Miss Ako who took me to AKita Station from Odate, about 100 kilometers distance.

February 15, 2014 According to yesterday’s weather forecast, I expected it to snow all day and was prepared to take a train from Niigata City to Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture. But at 7:30 a.m. because the weather was fair, I decided to get off the train at Majima station and hitchhike. The traffic was sparse. After 30 minutes waiting at the spot on the road which you see in the photo, I decided to walk. This way I would stay … Continue reading →

2014 Winter Hitchhike Adventure to Osaka

Driver #8: Man from Noda City who took me from Onagatani parking just before Fukui City to Shizugataka Service Area in Shiga Prefecture.

On a snowy morning of January 17, after a 5 minute bike ride to the local train station where I park my bicycle and from where I walk to the highway, just a few meters away from the station my right foot slipped on the snow, hit a rock in the road, and my ankle twisted badly with excruciating pain! January 17th was to be the first long hitchhike trip this year. I was headed to Tokyo which is about … Continue reading →

Rainy Autumn day trip to Aomori City and Back

The bus and some of the people who took me to Fukushima Prefecture.

October 25, 2013: My destination was Aomori City, 470 kilometers from home. I hitchhiked from Murakami City as far as Sakata City in Yamagata Prefecture, a distance about 90 kilometers. After that I had to abort due to rain. It was worth the effort! Mrs. Fujiwara picked me up for the 6th time and she seemed happier than ever to do so. After her a young doctor who works as an anesthesiologist took me nearly all the way to Sakata. … Continue reading →

Autumn Hitchhike Adventure to Shizuoka, Osaka and Toyama


From October 4th to 6th over three days I traveled in 15 cars 1358 kilometers or 849 miles passing through Tokyo to Hamamatsu City in Shizuoka Prefecture, and then to Osaka, and then back home to Niigata. Total transportation costs was 590 yen, about $6.00. The trip was one of the most fun ever! You can be the judge of that by seeing the photos. The hardest part of the trip to Hamamatsu City from Niigata is crossing the Tokyo … Continue reading →

April 2013 Hitchhike Adventure to Tokyo

Itoh Katsuhiro

The other day, (September 13, 2013) I ran into a man at a park who said he picked me up hitchhiking during Spring this year! HIs name is Katsuhiro Itoh. He took me from Sakae parking near Sanjo City to Echigokawaguchi SA. He told me he checked out this website but didn’t see the photo I took of him! Apparently I promised him I would post it. I felt bad about that and made a note to find the photo … Continue reading →

2013 Summer Adventure to Osaka

Megumi and Risa who took me to Otsu SA from Taga SA

Trip Highlights: I hitchhiked 1077 kilometers from Niigata to Osaka and back and though I was out for 4 days, I spent less than $15 US. for food and a short train and bus help me on my way Got rides to areas only walking distance to the places I need to go. Met a man who picked me up some 15 years before! He asked a driver for me and found my next ride! Picked up by a group … Continue reading →