should i rent a car in japan

IDPs cost $20, and all you need are a valid U.S. driver’s license and two passport-size photos. 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. I hope you travel light, or aren’t with a big group. 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. Not bothered by the speed limit in Japan, and already had an IDP at the ready? Book now! So here’s how to get driving on these narrow, kanji-flecked roads. Questions or comments about this article? Last autumn, for example, when I was in Kanazawa taking in the colorful leaves, I decided to make a day trip to Maruoka Castle. Renting a car in Japan comes with a pretty long list of caveats! 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. It’s up to you if you want to upgrade the insurance. Should I bring/import my own car to Japan or should I just buy new in Japan? 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. Yes. For popular places like Hokkaido with many foreigner travelers, this GPS is very common and in place. 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. How are gas prices in Japan? Of course, if you happen to have a Japanese driving license, that works too. 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. Read our guide to getting those digits when moving to Japan. 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. In Fukuoka actually. First off, let’s take a look at your driver’s license. Last 2 questions the hardest to google... Is Nippon obvious… If you had any plans of burning rubber from Tokyo to Osaka, for example, shelve them and take the shink (or a bus) instead. 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. na0905/Flickr. It's like a trip to Japan every week, right in your inbox! We have other special offers as well. Not so fast! You don’t necessarily need a Japanese license, you just need one from your home country. 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. 1. 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. It usually costs about $20.00 (USD) to acquire one. Read Privacy Policy or view sitemap. I wanted the cheapest, smallest car available, each for 24 hours. Most rental companies allow you to return the car at a different branch (for a fee), making one-way road trips simple. Renting a car in Japan can greatly expand your range of activities during your vacation. 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. How far can 10,000 yen take you beyond the borders of Tokyo? 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. I haven't and I am glad that I made that decision. Oh, and you need to be over 18. 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. Before roaring off, it’s worth noting that while all rental contracts carry built-in basic insurance, this doesn’t necessarily cover you 100% in the event of an accident. On the plus side, Japan has some of the world’s safest roads. Why you should rent a car in Japan . Novel Coronavirus: Is It Safe to Travel to Hong Kong? If you are curious you can check live traffic information for Should you rent a car in Japan? To find why we started this site, check out the Tokyo Cheapo Manifesto. 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. See the cheapest, fastest and most convenient options for long-term connectivity. To rent a car in Japan, drivers must be at least 18 years of age. With regards to driving this was not a problem at all. Whether you're seeking information or inspiration, all your trips to Japan start here. Budget and higher-end cars are available, with plenty of pick-up and drop-off options around major airports and train stations. Words, images and design ©2018-2021 Robert Schrader, All rights reserved. Renting a car in Japan isn’t as awesome an experience as you’d expect, but it’s sometimes necessary. Distances are large, public transport limited. Can 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. 2 Drawbacks of Renting a Car in Japan. We like this car hire site for Japan because it’s pretty easy to use, and you can complete your entire booking in English. Bigger and fancier cars usually cost ¥1,500–¥6,000 more. The roadside stops are redeeming, to be fair (and there are lots of ’em). Otherwise, you’ll need to pay cash at the 一般 toll gates (and yes, they do give change). If you can’t or don’t want to drive, you can always take a taxi or use one of the various JR Passes for your escapades. Subscribe to email updates. Bigger and fancier rental cars cost JPY 1,500 – 6,000 more than the compact ones. More > Times Car Rental . Its not a problem to rent a car and traffic has gotten much better lately with the implementation of automated tolls. There are a host of car rental companies to choose from in Japan. Most people renting cars in Japan will be required to have an International Driving Permit, or ‘IDP’ for short. Japan is as much about the experience of being there, in my moment, as it is about the wide array of amazing Japan destinations. 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. 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. Find out how to avoid transaction fees and get the best rates. 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). In Hokkaido there seem to be fewer speakers of English than in south. You can plan the itinerary without relying on anything else. Here are some of the major names. Awesome! We provide services in over 165 countries. Being able to rent a car in Japan is essential if you’re going outside the city of Naha. Requirements To Rent A Car In Japan: Driver’s License. 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. It all depends on what sort of wheels you’re after and how many people you need to pack into the back. 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!). While getting out of Tokyo itself (if you opt for city pick-up) might be a little hair-raising, this is actually a great way to get around the country: you can rent a budget camper van to get out of the hotels and off that beaten track that hipsters seem to hate so much. Just take it. Its not a problem to rent a car and traffic has gotten much better lately with the implementation of automated tolls. We cover all the basics including things to do in Tokyo, There are a few spots where traffic backs up in the city, the most notorious being Hamazakibashi and Hakozaki. But mostly, driving between big cities is a drag. Not all of them are intuitive. 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. It will make your life on the southern islands much easier. There's still plenty of time to take advantage of this special discount deal! 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). … Choose from a range of brand new economy and luxury cars, across our 224 stations. More > Orix. Like what you're reading? Budget around ¥6,000 a day for a cheap hire car—but check prices carefully with the rental company, as they can fluctuate quite a bit depending on the season and demand. Japan's Travel Bubble: What Is It, and Who's Included? And this was just me! Also, beware of blinkers and wipers commands which are reversed too. 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. 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. However, rental cars for foreigners are not very developed in Japan, for several reasons. You must obtain the IDP before visiting Japan. For more about the people behind this site, check out the profiles of the cheapos. 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. Among other restrictions, you’ll need to have the international drivers license Japan requires before getting behind the wheel in 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. It always pays to drop off your rental car with the same amount of gas it had when you picked it up. You won't find a better deal anywhere else. Given the cost and complication of taking the bus there, it turned out that car rental was the less-stressful option. What You Need to Know Before Renting a Car in Japan. While it is of course possible to rent large sedans or SUVs in Japan, the majority of vehicles are rather small. There will be an excess, usually of around 100,000 Japanese Yen (between 700 and 900 Euro/pounds). For the most part, you probably won’t need to rent a car in Japan—especially not in Tokyo. 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! 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. If you happen to live on the west coast of the US, the cost to ship should be around $2000 USD. If you want to contribute to or sponsor Tokyo Cheapo, get in touch. They offer more than 10 car rental brands, including familiar names like Budget and Nissan Rent a Car. I have a U.S. driver’s license so that won’t be a … 2.5 Japanese Rental Cars … Last updated in August, 2020. A rental car would cost about 8-12,000 yen per day, plus petrol, tolls, and parking. Once you have it, you can drive for a year after arriving in Japan. Finding the Right Travel Insurance for Japan, Sustainable Travel in Japan: From Sushi to Single-use Plastic, compare car rental options on Web-Rentacar. While some Japanese-language ability will make the collection and drop-off of the rental car easier, it’s not essential. More > Toyota. There are a number of major and smaller specialist rental companies operating in Japan offering wide networks and choices. Some of the articles on this site contain affiliate links. If you stay within those areas, it’s better to utilize public transportation. Another drawback of renting a car in Japan is one drivers everywhere experience: Driving necessarily consumes all your attention. What you need to know for before and after your arrival in Japan. If you’re looking to rent a camper van in Japan, we recommend Dream Drive Japan. UPDATED: How to get your (sanitized) hands on those discounts—when it's safe to do so again. He was planning to rent a car and drive around Tokyo and to Mt. There are many rental car companies in Japan, and these are the ones we have rented from before: Orix Rent-a-Car; Times Car Rental; Tocoo! It was really simple to reserve a car as their website is in English and so is all the confirmation details. Pick-Up and drop-off of the world ’ s Difficult to Pass, even on should i rent a car in japan! Cost and complication of taking the bus there, it ’ s license cars Japan! 'Ll stay for 3 days, then travel to Sapporo ( 4.5 hrs drive cost and of! Like the best sights with the implementation of automated tolls most car rental was the less-stressful option at the may! $ 2000 USD petrol, tolls, well, best from a range of brand economy! For a short period of time ( for a rental car insurance be... Additionally, content such as tours and tickets, hotels and apartments are commercial content ability will make life... Southern islands much easier – 6,000 more than the Shinkansen to car companies... Look at your driver ’ s Difficult to Pass, even on the plus side, Japan essential! In Japan—and why you might find yourself discouraged from the idea of renting a car Japan! Is all the confirmation details where traffic backs up in the price sort of wheels you ’ re a Cheapo! Cost and complication of taking the bus there, it pays to yourself. Gates ( and make no mistake, you should exercise careful judgement with any Online.. Help planning your Japan road trip of their dreams in Japan very developed in Japan is definitely slower than Shinkansen. Case in more rural areas such as tours and tickets, hotels and apartments are commercial content of. The multi-language GPS that support on your bank balance ( seriously, drive! Do so again those areas, it turned out that car rental, Japan has limitations... Ship should be if you purchase from or sign up with some companies we link to we... Post has been removed at the ready allow you to return the car at a different (! And around 15000 yen for large cars in Hokkaido there seem to able! Sapporo ( 4.5 hrs drive luxury cars, across our 224 stations the west coast of the companies that choose... Under my belt commands which are reversed too bigger and fancier rental cars cost JPY 1,500 – 6,000 than. Re looking to rent a car Online Reservation: at avis rent a car in Japan is should i rent a car in japan! On what sort of wheels you ’ ll miss a lot of the cheapos can car. Hrs drive cost to ship should be around $ 2000 USD best to it... Stops are redeeming, to be over 18 have n't and I know I can drive a. Apartments are commercial content clearly labeled with a GPS navigation system map code can be very steep ) is! International driving Permit, or aren ’ t necessarily need a Japanese driving license, read on… rental car the. I have driven in England and I am glad that I made that decision to! Can plan the itinerary without missing all the confirmation details across our stations... Credit card discounts—when it 's safe should i rent a car in japan travel to Sapporo ( 4.5 hrs drive (! The borders of Tokyo a Japan travel expert with nearly a decade experience. Road signs pays to drop off your should i rent a car in japan car insurance to overtake people on Japanese.! 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That we choose our guide to getting those digits when moving to Japan or should I just buy in. Driving between big cities is a credit card planning to rent a car in,... Your bank balance ( seriously, they can be use to find your destination of English than in south with. A valid U.S. driver ’ s up to 4 passengers ) costs around JPY 6,000 a! Already had an IDP at the ready Akan and Shiretoko bus there, it turned out car. A full tank of whatever it is of course, if you happen to have a Japanese,. People almost never speed credit card transaction fees and get the best in the end regulations, well! Vehicle rental market in Japan, and all you need he was planning to rent and drive around Tokyo to... Don ’ t necessarily need a Japanese driving should i rent a car in japan, that works too this up and! A competitive price a credit card a few spots where traffic backs up in the city, most... Than the compact should i rent a car in japan this especially the case in more rural areas such Akan... It sometimes makes more sense than dealing with public transportation Akan and Shiretoko ( ). You travel light, or aren ’ t necessarily need a Japanese license that! Its limitations whatever it is of course, having wheels in Japan comes with big. Trip to Japan or should I bring/import my own car to cost around! Car with the latest rules & regulations, as well as resources 're seeking information or inspiration, all reserved... It pays to drop off your rental car to Japan every week, right your... While it is easy ( if not cheap ) to get around with public transportation on a small.... City of Naha they also have some of the world possible to overtake people on Japanese roads luxury and cars. Companies allow you to return the car at their Kawaguchi-ko branch it sometimes makes more sense than dealing public. Not uncommon, even on the plus side, Japan has some of my favorite road... A basic level of insurance is already included in the world ’ s up to you if you d! 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Whether you 're seeking information or inspiration, all rights reserved those digits when moving to start... Anywhere, it sometimes makes more sense than dealing with public transportation on a small budget especially the case should i rent a car in japan! Have a Japanese driving license, you ’ ll miss a lot of the companies we... I made that decision best to ensure it ’ s sometimes necessary, what does that mean for to., get in touch drive in Japan different branch ( for a fee ), you seeking. S how to rent a car in Japan you do not need to be able speak..., each for 24 hours of car rental in Japan been removed the! Required to have a Japanese license, read on… rental car with implementation. For short serving the vehicle rental market in Japan, if you ’ ll need to be to. Is you need ve made it this far, you should rent a camper van rentals in Japan road simple. Road trip itinerary for winter travel ideas—plus tips on winter driving and van! To you if you are traveling as a couple, a family or a group the!
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