There will be an excess, usually of around 100,000 Japanese Yen (between 700 and 900 Euro/pounds). Toyota hire cars are plentiful. Nippon Rent a Car. Information—and inspiration—for all your trips to Japan. First off, let’s take a look at your driver’s license. Some of the articles on this site contain affiliate links. The companies listed have websites with English-language booking capabilities, so it really is as easy as putting in the required dates, vehicle, and any other add-ons you need. Should you rent a car in Japan? The author may post again if desired.Posts on the Tripadvisor forums may be edited for a short period of time. Oh, and you need to be over 18. If you stay within those areas, it’s better to utilize public transportation. If you purchase from or sign up with some companies we link to, we will be compensated. To rent and drive in Japan you do not need to be able to speak Japanese. Can you rent a car in Japan? If you have an international driver's license, you might want to head to a car rental stand and see what kind of vehicles are waiting for you. Traveling next week and thinking you should just rent a car in Japan? Like what you're reading? Subscribe to email updates. I've considered renting a car in Japan. A rental car would cost about 8-12,000 yen per day, plus petrol, tolls, and parking. Hello, My third time in Japan but first time will rent a car. The price is high, but not prohibitively (or surprisingly) so. 1. Between the cost of the rental car, insurance and gas alone, you’re looking at a minimum of ¥10,000 per day, and that’s a somewhat optimistic figure. Distances are large, public transport limited. This might request a double adaptation time which can slow down some everyday drivers, accustomed to drive on right side with manual gearbox cars. Whether due to low speed limits and narrow roads throughout Japan, or because of the relatively high cost of doing so, you should only get a Japanese rental car if it’s the only way you can see a certain part of the country—it sometimes is, to be fair. With regards to driving this was not a problem at all. Before you start off or when you return the car, a staff member will sometimes offer you a pack of tissues or a can of (usually cold) coffee as a token gift. So here’s how to get driving on these narrow, kanji-flecked roads. For the most part, you probably won’t need to rent a car in Japan—especially not in Tokyo. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons. How far can 10,000 yen take you beyond the borders of Tokyo? On its head, the idea of renting a car in Japan might seem like a good one, especially if you’re traveling in a rural part of the country, or with enough people that the cost is similar to going by train or bus. That said, there are some occasions when renting a car in Japan is the easiest (or only) way of getting from Point A to Point B. When you rent a car in Japan, a basic level of insurance is already included in the price. There are a bunch of different companies serving the vehicle rental market in Japan, and you can compare car rental options on Web-Rentacar. The other thing you’ll need to hire a car in Japan is a credit card. Follow our budget Tokyo to Kanazawa itinerary without missing all the best sights! Ask whether you run on “regular” or another kind of fuel before you leave the rental car office; “regular” refers to regular unleaded petrol, “hai-oku” is premium unleaded, and “keiyu” is diesel. They also have some of the world’s slowest speed limits—70 km/h is not uncommon, even on expressways. What’s worse (well, best from a safety perspective) is that Japanese people almost never speed. We provide services in over 165 countries. Planning a trip to Japan, or just dreaming of one? The actual shipping of a car to Japan is possible and can be pretty cost effective, especially depending on the value of your car. We like this car hire site for Japan because it’s pretty easy to use, and you can complete your entire booking in English. In the budget range, a compact, <1300cc car that can comfortably take four passengers typically costs just under ¥6,000 for a 24-hour rental. Just take it. It's like a trip to Japan every week, right in your inbox! Choose from a range of brand new economy and luxury cars, across our 224 stations. You might want to take a trip to the rurals, for example, or do a run to the nearest (never very near) home center to pick up some curtains or gardening tools you don’t want to lug on your local JR line. See the cheapest, fastest and most convenient options for long-term connectivity. popping down to see the legendary Fuji Rock Festival (see the blurb about camper vans below). Not all of them are intuitive. Renting a car in Japan is a great choice when traveling in rural areas without convenient trains and buses, like Hokkaido, Nagano, Hida Takayama, and Okinawa. As a tourist driving in Japan, you are required to have an IDP to rent a car, and you must obtain it before you arrive. Japan's Travel Bubble: What Is It, and Who's Included? You can plan the itinerary without relying on anything else. More > Times Car Rental . Whatever the case may be, you're in the right place. Sponsored posts are clearly labeled with a "Sponsored" tag. Hybrids can sometimes be had for a competitive price. I also wanted to have the cars delivered to myhotel and picked up from the hotel again. Otherwise, you’ll need to pay cash at the 一般 toll gates (and yes, they do give change). Make sure to commission a custom Japan itinerary if you need help planning your Japan road trip. If you’re looking to rent a camper van in Japan, we recommend Dream Drive Japan. When you’re on your way to bring the car back, be sure to stop off at a gas (petrol) station (“gasorin sutando” in Japanese) and fill up. ), you’ll miss a lot of the beauty around you. And if so, what does that mean for travel to Japan during COVID-19? na0905/Flickr. 2.1 Driving in Japan is Expensive. More > JR Eki Rent-a-Car. To rent a car in Japan, you need to have a driver’s license. What You Need to Know Before Renting a Car in Japan. If you want to contribute to or sponsor Tokyo Cheapo, get in touch. Its not a problem to rent a car and traffic has gotten much better lately with the implementation of automated tolls. how to get from Narita airport to Tokyo, which JR rail pass to choose, getting a SIM card and pocket wifi. You might want to take a trip to the rurals, for example, or do a run to the nearest (never very … It’s up to you if you want to upgrade the insurance. In Hokkaido there seem to be fewer speakers of English than in south. It always pays to drop off your rental car with the same amount of gas it had when you picked it up. They offer more than 10 car rental brands, including familiar names like Budget and Nissan Rent a Car. That’s certainly how I felt before the first time I got behind the wheel in Japan, in Hokkaido a few summers ago. You’ll also need to pay tolls in many parts of Japan, as well as parking fees, which can further increase the cost of hiring a car in Japan. More > Toyota. Need help planning your trip to Japan? I hope you travel light, or aren’t with a big group. 2.5 Japanese Rental Cars … The pump attendants will do all the hard work for you, and even help you get back onto the road. Also, parking is really pricey in the cities. In the US you can apply for this at a AAA office, but issuance isn’t always immediate so plan ahead. The costs for a car rental here in Japan depend on the type of car you’ll get and the number of people you’ll have in your ride. The views are virtually non-existent. If you’re asking yourself “Should I rent a car in Japan?” ask if the “I” you speak of is just yourself, or if you’ll be able to spread the cost out among several people. Find out how to avoid transaction fees and get the best rates. Oh, and before driving anywhere, it pays to familiarize yourself with Japanese road signs. That said, there are some occasions when renting a car in Japan is the easiest (or only) way of getting from Point A to Point B. We have other special offers as well. mapping out half a dozen Japan road trips, And It’s Difficult to Pass, Even on the Highway, Sometimes, Renting a Car in Japan Makes Sense, I was in Kanazawa taking in the colorful leaves, the Hokkaido road trip I took a couple of years ago. You can also hire luxury and sports cars in Japan, if you’re a classy cheapo. It really depends on which part of Japan you are visiting, but in general, unless you are visiting a major city like Tokyo and Osaka and planning to stay in the city throughout your trip, there are many benefits to having a car to travel in when you are here. There are a host of car rental companies to choose from in Japan. Japan's "Go To Eat" Campaign: What You Need to Know, Guide to Choosing an Internet Service Provider in Tokyo, Comparing Long-Term Pocket Wifi Contracts in Japan, 10,000 Yen City Escape Challenge: Tokyo to Kanazawa, Bargain JR East 3-Day 2020 Rail Pass For Foreign Residents, Visa Applications and Extensions, and Entry into Japan During the COVID-19 Pandemic. If you don’t speak Japanese you might be best off with trying to hire via one of the major car rental companies directly as they may have more English help available. He was planning to rent a car and drive around Tokyo and to Mt. Most car rental in Japan comes with a GPS navigation system. Young drivers should check age restrictions beforehand. If you’ve ever considered planning a trip to Japan’s northernmost island, then you know that trains in Hokkaido aren’t all that. Read more to learn how to rent a car, how much it costs, and what license requirements you need. How far off Japan's beaten path do you dare stray? Most rental companies allow people to rent cars from the age of 18, but this depends on the individual company, and the type of vehicle may differ. Do it now. Book now! Updated with the latest rules & regulations, as well as resources. Whether you're seeking information or inspiration, all your trips to Japan start here. Read Privacy Policy or view sitemap. It’s relatively easy to get the international driving permit Japan requires for foreigners to drive there; the service and quality of vehicles at Japanese rental car companies is expectedly excellent. If you are curious you can check live traffic information for Compare the different means and methods. Indeed, if you read about the Hokkaido road trip I took a couple of years ago, then you know that in spite of all the potential drawbacks of Japanese car rental, it can still unlock incredible experiences. Which would be no big deal, if it was possible to overtake people on Japanese roads. Should I bring/import my own car to Japan or should I just buy new in Japan? If you opt to use an ETC card, you can proceed through toll gates without stopping, and just pay the rental office when you return the car. If you’re from Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Slovenia, Monaco or Taiwan, you won’t be able to do the IDP thing, but can use an official Japanese translation of your license instead. Being able to rent a car in Japan is essential if you’re going outside the city of Naha. Budget and higher-end cars are available, with plenty of pick-up and drop-off options around major airports and train stations. Hi all, I'm visiting Hokkaido this coming May/June and I'm now in a dilemma if I should just rent a car for my 11 days trip. Passing is often impossible, and even when you can do it it’s downright treacherous. Bigger and fancier cars usually cost ¥1,500–¥6,000 more. If your home country is a signatory of the Geneva Convention of 1949, this is your only option if you want to rent a car in Japan. This rental car booking agency will be happy to help, though. I have driven in England and I know I can drive on the 'wrong side' of the road without too much problem. Compact rental cars (<1300cc vehicle, up to 4 passengers) costs around JPY 6,000 for a 24-hour rental. Rental car insurance. To rent a car in Japan, drivers must be at least 18 years of age. Neon-bathed streets and Michelin-starred eats, Travel back in time to Japan's ancient capital, A world of Japanese street food starts here, Climb Japan's iconic peak, or just admire its beauty, Enjoy Japan’s seasons in the “Kyoto of the North”, Year-round adventure in Japan’s great, white north, Flowery castles, volcanic lakes and snow monsters, Discover Japan’s most underrated, unexplored island, Trek the trails of Japan’s ultimate hiking paradise, Tropical paradise a short flight from Tokyo. If you are traveling as a couple, a family or a group, the value proposition of Japan car rental increases. Firstly, understand that public transportation in Japan is probably the best in the world. When it comes to car rental, Japan is definitely slower than the Shinkansen. Answer 1 of 8: We're going to Japan in June-July next summer for a week before heading to China and my bro and I are going. I'll be first travelling straight to Hakodate from New Chitose Airport (3.5 hrs drive! It all depends on what sort of wheels you’re after and how many people you need to pack into the back. Rent a car in Japan and find great deals with Europcar. A credit card will also be required. Last autumn, for example, when I was in Kanazawa taking in the colorful leaves, I decided to make a day trip to Maruoka Castle. For popular places like Hokkaido with many foreigner travelers, this GPS is very common and in place. Additionally, content such as tours and tickets, hotels and apartments are commercial content. What you need to know for before and after your arrival in Japan. It was really simple to reserve a car as their website is in English and so is all the confirmation details. Of course, if you happen to have a Japanese driving license, that works too. The permits are valid for one year, but in Japan they are only acceptable if you are in the country for a limited time as a tourist. For more detailed … Before you start making a list of amazing Japan road trips you want to take, you should consider that the cost of driving in Japan is high. ), where I'll stay for 3 days, then travel to Sapporo (4.5 hrs drive! You must obtain the IDP before visiting Japan. Questions or comments about this article? Here are some other scenarios that can make renting a car in Japan necessary: Keep in mind that you will rarely rent a car in Japan for the entirety of any trip, so even if you plan to drive a few days (as I did in the Oki Islands, for example, during my trip to the San’in region), you might still need to buy a Japan Rail Pass, in addition to renting cars in Japan. More > Nissan. If you have an International Driving Permit (IDP) issued in line with the Geneva Convention, you’ll be able to rent a car in Japan—but not from all companies (lookin’ at you, Niko-Niko). Some of my favorite Japan road trips include: Of course, having wheels in Japan has its limitations. Last 2 questions the hardest to google... Is Nippon obvious… You can get the translation done through the Japan Automobile Federation or (in some cases) your local embassy or consulate. Here are some of the major names. 2.4 And It’s Difficult to Pass, Even on the Highway. Any tip will do...! If you’ve made it this far, you might find yourself discouraged from the idea of renting a car in Japan. You want to see a large rural area in a short amount of time (for example, You’re traveling with multiple people and can split the cost, You anticipate wanting to stop often to take pictures, You want to save yourself the hassle of planning train and bus trips. Ordering food was sometimes an issue as very few restaurants had … My name is Robert Schrader, and I'm a Japan travel expert with nearly a decade of experience under my belt. A few car rental offices are prepared to do the refueling for you upon the return of the ride, but generally the responsibility is with the driver. If you’re planning to explore the deep south that is Okinawa or bounce around Hokkaido, it always makes sense to hire a car. There are a few spots where traffic backs up in the city, the most notorious being Hamazakibashi and Hakozaki. With the exception of a few European countries like Germany and Belgium, whose citizens may submit their domestic driving license with an official Japanese translation, it is essential to have an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) to rent a car in Japan. On the plus side, Japan has some of the world’s safest roads. -:- Message from Tripadvisor staff -:-This post has been removed at the author's request. We rented with Toyota Rent a car at their Kawaguchi-ko branch. But for safety, please double check on the GPS when you look for a rental car. For more about the people behind this site, check out the profiles of the cheapos. You can get an IDP through your national automobile association before coming to Japan (note: not once you are here); the permit is valid for a year from the date of issue. I decided to hire the cars from Orix Rent-A-Car. We don't endorse any of the companies we link to but we are selective in terms of the companies that we choose. Renting a car in Japan isn’t as awesome an experience as you’d expect, but it’s sometimes necessary. Not so fast! For tourists, we generally suggest simply relying on the extensive public transport network to get around the big city, instead of fussing with car hire in Tokyo. Expect a rental car to cost you around 5000 yen per day for a small car and around 15000 yen for large cars. Maybe not, it turns out. For example, when driving in Okinawa (or any other island group, for that matter), you are usually confined to just one island. A lot of the island is not connected by any public transportation. Words, images and design ©2018-2021 Robert Schrader, All rights reserved. It is usually not possible to obtain one after already arriving. The trains and buses will get you wherever you want to go, quickly, safely and affordably. For the most part, you probably won’t need to rent a car in Japan—especially not in Tokyo. While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. Once you have it, you can drive for a year after arriving in Japan. To find why we started this site, check out the Tokyo Cheapo Manifesto. I haven't and I am glad that I made that decision. In a big city like Tokyo, you have plenty of ways to get around with public transportation on a small budget. The nuts-and-bolts of the process seem to back this up. You won't be tied to timetables either in a car. While it is of course possible to rent large sedans or SUVs in Japan, the majority of vehicles are rather small. Or perhaps renting a car simply seems like the best way to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you happen to live on the west coast of the US, the cost to ship should be around $2000 USD. Given the cost and complication of taking the bus there, it turned out that car rental was the less-stressful option. Finding the Right Travel Insurance for Japan, Sustainable Travel in Japan: From Sushi to Single-use Plastic, compare car rental options on Web-Rentacar. You should exercise careful judgement with any online purchase. This especially the case in more rural areas such as Akan and Shiretoko. Most rental companies allow you to return the car at a different branch (for a fee), making one-way road trips simple. Requirements To Rent A Car In Japan: Driver’s License. If you’re fixated on the road (and make no mistake, you should be if you’re behind the wheel! Also, a valid driver’s license is (obviously) necessary. There are a number of major and smaller specialist rental companies operating in Japan offering wide networks and choices. However, before you go mapping out half a dozen Japan road trips to take over the next few years, allow me to spill a little cold water on you. Telephone number or map code can be use to find your destination. This can be quite an intimidating thing to do if it’s your first time driving in Japan; to make it easier, head for a regular, staffed gas station rather than a self-service joint. If you aren’t so keen on the traditional rental business, you can try car sharing instead (note: you’ll need a Japanese license for this). There are a few spots where traffic backs up in the city, the most notorious being Hamazakibashi and Hakozaki. If you have young ‘uns, you can add a baby seat or child seat when you make your booking, as well as winter tires, GPS devices and ETC (Electronic Toll Collection) cards—though the latter two are not always available. With over 750,000 readers each month, Tokyo Cheapo is the site of choice for value hunters who want their yen to go further in Tokyo. Not bothered by the speed limit in Japan, and already had an IDP at the ready? The majority of rental cars come with multilingual GPS systems. Say “mantan de onegai shimasu” for a full tank of whatever it is you need. Read our guide to getting those digits when moving to Japan. Why you should rent a car in Japan . Rent a Car accompagne aussi les professionnels avec des solutions de location longue durée, idéales pour les chauffeurs indépendants et les VTC à la recherche d'un véhicule confortable et prestigieux. Awesome! Follow our Tokyo to Nagano road trip itinerary for winter travel ideas—plus tips on winter driving and camper van rentals in Japan. Need help planning your road trip around Japan? Answer 1 of 8: We're going to Japan in June-July next summer for a week before heading to China and my bro and I are going. Renting a car in Japan comes with a pretty long list of caveats! Among other restrictions, you’ll need to have the international drivers license Japan requires before getting behind the wheel in Japan. There are loads of choices in terms of type of car, from the small kei-cars to big 4x4s, but also with added extras, and the gift of English satnav. You don’t necessarily need a Japanese license, you just need one from your home country. December 7th, 2020 | Lily Crossley-Baxter, Go-Karting in Tokyo: Everything You Need to Know, Your Prepaid SIM Card Options for Travel in Japan, Renting a Pocket Wifi Router in Japan: Best Options, Cheapest Way to Transfer Your Money Out of Japan, Toyosu Fish Market: What to Know Before You Go. Another drawback of renting a car in Japan is one drivers everywhere experience: Driving necessarily consumes all your attention. Whether you’ve used Web-Rentacar or reserved wheels directly over the phone or via a rental company’s booking site, you simply take your booking details to the designated rental office, confirm your payment information, and away you go. Novel Coronavirus: Is It Safe to Travel to Hong Kong? It usually costs about $20.00 (USD) to acquire one. This means that unless you have minimal luggage, you might not be able to have much company on your road trip (this also means fewer people with whom to split the bill!). To find out what qualifies as a valid driver’s license, read on… It’s The Great Snoopy Museum, Charlie Brown, Exploring Toyosu—Tokyo's Revitalized Fish Market, Visiting Okunoshima - Japan's Famous Rabbit Island, Tokyo Escapes: A Winter Camper Van Adventure in Nagano, Guide to Arriving in Japan During COVID-19. Orix Car Share and other providers allow you to “borrow” their cars, which are parked all over the show, especially in bigger cities like Tokyo and Osaka, for short periods of time (even 15 minutes)—making mini, semi-spontaneous (you reserve cars through an app or website) and cheap drives a breeze. You can take the Shinkansen or a plane to the station or airport nearest your destination, then hop into your hire car and zoom around without worrying about missing the only bus of the day. Is your country on the list? It will make your life on the southern islands much easier. However, it sometimes makes more sense than dealing with public transport. We cover all the basics including things to do in Tokyo, There's still plenty of time to take advantage of this special discount deal! By paying a bit extra for a collision damage waiver (CDW) and non-operation charge (NOC), you minimize the amounts you might be liable for if something goes awry. I have a U.S. driver’s license so that won’t be a … You’ll need to carry your local license with you when you use it. The roadside stops are redeeming, to be fair (and there are lots of ’em). Renting a car in Japan can greatly expand your range of activities during your vacation. However, in addition to the fact that Japan traffic rules are extremely strict, most Japanese roads (again, even expressways) feature one lane on each side—in some places, it’s just one land period! 2.3 Japanese People Drive Slowly. Car rental can also be an economical choice especially if you are travelling in a group. It is an inconvenience for rental companies to refuel their vehicles; they have to send an employee to a gas station and waste time that the car could be out and about making money for them. Hello, my third time in Japan is probably the best sights next week and you... Trip of their dreams in Japan, you can do it it ’ s take a look at your ’... 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