The Sky-Valley Line is a driving road between Yonezawa and Lake Hibara which is close to Aizuwakamatsu. It is also known as the national road route 2 which goes to the city of Kitashiobara. It also passes the Hibara lake, which is certainly fun to drive around with a variety of beautiful scenery.
Starting from Yonezawa, the road is passing through a valley towards Tengendai ski area. This part of the road has quite wide roads with a slight elevation and curves are all of large radius. Once the entry to the ski has passed though, the road starts to climb more intense with hairpins and tight corners. In 10 minutes you will be from 800 meter above sea level to around 1400 meter above sea level. The heighest point is the Shirabu Pass which has some parkings to rest and enjoy the view.
The other side of the Shirabu Pass has even more hairpins and the road will quickly descend down to Hibara Lake. Driving around the lake is also very enjoyable with a variety of road types on both sides of the lake. Very curvy as well as higher speed sections with long straights are waiting for you. South of the lake is a large touristic area with many parking and attractions.
On weekends and holidays it can be crowded in this southern part though. And the Sky-Valley Line itself might be closed in the winter for seasonal closure. Several ski areas are in the area which can also cause some peak traffic and start and end of the day in the winter.
The road is certainly worth driving in both directions as going up and down the same road gives a completely different experience. And close to the Sky-Valley Line, there are also the Bandai-Azuma Lake Line and the Bandai-Azuma Skyline. At the end of the day there are also a lot of hot springs in the neighborhood to choose from to give your body a good rest.
Google Maps location link:
JDM4all Youtube video:
The header photo on this page is taken by Japan Touge Project. You can also buy a collection sticker of this road from them. See details here:
Japan Touge Project Nishiazuma Sky Valley