Is it a good idea to rent a car in Japan?
Yes, depending on destinations which you plan to visit. Japan is very famous for its well-developed networks of public transportation like trains and buses. However, when you travel to rural areas, you might find the situation different because of the service frequency being much less than that in urban areas. There are many places which you cannot reach by any of public transportation except for a taxi. In fact, our LLP members have several “hard-to-reach places” in their guiding plans by which travelers can get very unique experiences. Wasting a long time for a next local train or bus, or paying a high fare for a taxi would not be a good choice for those places.
Is it easy to rent and drive a car in Japan?
Yes, as long as travelers are informed of the basic process and rules of renting and driving a car in Japan. Below listed are the pieces of information which will help you understand them.
Required International Driving License
Anyone who has an International Driving Permit (IDP) issued abroad under the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic can drive a car in Japan. You are requested to obtain one before you visit Japan because it cannot be issued within Japan. By visiting the following site provided by JAF (Japan Automobile Federation), you will be able to get more detailed information. FYI, JAF is a Japanese automobile club promoting traffic safety efforts, including road service.
JAF for International Driving License
Basic Traffic Rules in Japan
In Japan, a driver’s seat and a steering wheel are located on the right side. Vehicles are required to run on the left like India, many of the South East Asian countries, UK and Australia. Besides, there might be some rules which are different from your country or region. By visiting the following, you will be able to get important information about Japan’s traffic rules and regulations.
JAF for Traffic Rules in Japan
How much does it cost if I rent a car in Japan?
Needless to say, it depends on what type of a car you rent in what area, in what season, for how many hours/days. The following table shows a price list which a rent-a-car company offers for a travel plan between the same airport in Tohoku (the northern part of Honshu Main Island). Please be noted that this is just a piece of information and that a price of your renting-a-car is a contract matter between you and a rent-a-car company.
An example of price list
Contract Type: Regular course (Including 10% tax, standard protection, GPS. Not including road-side service, CDW). The price of CDW (collision damage waiver) ranges from 1,100~2,200 JPY/day, depending on a car type.
Car Type Size # of Passengers Engine 12 hrs 24 hrs 48 hrs
Mini-van Mid-size 6~8 2.0L ¥15,400 ¥20,900 ¥36,300
Mini-van Full-size 6~8 2.4L ¥22,000 ¥27,500 ¥36,300
Standard Compact 3~5 1.3L ¥6,600 ¥8,250 ¥14,850
Standard Mid-size 4~5 1.5L ¥9,350 ¥11,000 ¥20,350
Standard Full-size 4~6 2.5L ¥12,100 ¥15,400 ¥27,500
How can I make reservations?
Your reservations can be made through the internet. Listed below are the Websites of major rent-a-car companies in Japan providing English sites for your reservation.
TOYOTA Rent a Car
NISSAN Rent a Car
Times CAR RENTAL
Drive safe and enjoy your stay in Japan!