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Melody Roads: Where You Can Hear That Famous Studio Ghibli Melody

Melody Roads are curious tourist spots recommended for those who want to enjoy themselves while on the road to visit other sights and culinary destinations. Read on for more information on these unique Melody Roads!

What Are Melody Roads?

Japan's charm can not only be found in large metropolitan cities with some of the world's tallest skyscrapers, such as Tokyo and Osaka, but also in regional cities that are filled with traditional crafts and buildings. In addition, since "washoku" (traditional Japanese cuisine) was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list in December 2015, more and more visitors to Japan are going to regional cities to enjoy foods made with nutritious local ingredients.
Rental cars are a convenient mode of transportation in Japan, as they allow you to travel without time constraints. As such, more visitors to Japan are using rental cars to discover the appeal of regional cities. Visitors are often amazed by how well maintained the roads are and how clean the service areas are. This article focuses on another unique feature of Japanese roads, Melody Roads.

How Do Melody Roads Create Tunes?

How do Melody Roads, where you can listen to famous Ghibli tunes just by driving on them, create music? The secret is in the grooves on the road that are just a few milliliters deep. Numerous grooves are created so that the friction of the tires on the road creates a melody. The spacing of the grooves are adjusted to change the pitch.

Where Can You Find These Beautiful Melody Roads?

Melody Roads, which are said to have originated in Japan, are unique roads that are designed in such a way that melodies are created when car tires come into contact with them. The roads were developed so that the speed of the melody would discourage speeding and the sound would prevent drivers from falling asleep at the wheel.
These curious spots were installed to raise driver awareness through sound so that everyone can drive safely, and they reflect the refined sensibilities of the Japanese.
These uniquely Japanese roads can be found in 28 locations around the country. Here are some with beautiful melodies that are close to tourist attractions.

When You Wish Upon a Star - The Theme Song to the Disney Movie, Pinocchio (Gunma Prefecture)

First up is a Melody Road in Gunma Prefecture where you can hear When You Wish Upon a Star, the theme song for the Disney movie Pinocchio, beloved by children around the world. There are many secluded hot springs in this area, so perhaps you'll find yourself humming the tune while soaking in the hot water.
Tune: When You Wish Upon a Star
Road: Gunma Prefectural Road 36 Shibukawa Shimo-Shinden Line

Melody Road: When You Wish Upon a Star

Around Nakayama, Takayama-mura, Agatsuma-gun, Gunma

Always With Me - The Theme Song to the Studio Ghibli Masterpiece, Spirited Away (Gunma Prefecture)

Studio Ghibli is the most famous animation studio in Japan and Spirited Away, which has the highest box-office revenue out of all Japanese films, is perhaps the most representative of its many films. This is a Melody Road where you can listen to its popular theme song, Always With Me. Anyone who has seen the movie will want to visit this relaxing musical destination.
Tune: Always With Me
Road: National Route 353

Melody Road: Always With Me

Shima, Nakanojo, Agatsuma-gun, Gunma

Tulip - The Song Every Japanese Knows (Gunma Prefecture)

Tulip is a song that every Japanese person knows and many sang as children. The lyrics incorporate the message that everything has a positive side. The melody is a strangely calming one and can be heard on this Melody Road. The road is close to Mt. Akagi, which is a scenic spot near Tokyo that has been chosen as one of Japan's top 100 mountains and top 100 scenic spots, and is a great place for visitors who wish to experience Japan's natural beauty.
Tune: Tulip
Road: National Route 353

Melody Road: Tulip

National Route 353, Mine-machi, Maebashi-shi, Gunma

Fuji no Yama - A Slow Traditional Japanese Song (Yamanashi Prefecture)

This Fuji no Yama Melody Road is a place where you can feel the presence of Japan's iconic mountain nearby. The song that tells of the great size of Mt. Fuji flows into the car in quadruple time. It is in a convenient location to stop by when seeing the sights around Mt. Fuji.
Tune: Fuji no Yama
Road: Yamanashi Prefectural Road Fuji Kawaguchiko Fuji Line

Melody Road: Fuji no Yama

Funatsu, Fuji Kawaguchiko-machi, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi

Add to the enjoyment of your travels by going on these unique Melody Roads! Visiting tourist destinations by car can result in many interesting discoveries. Go through these Melody Roads, which are not well known among foreign visitors to Japan, and create wonderful memories to talk to friends and family about.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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