How Much is Rent-a-Car in Japan? Where to Rent? Any Cons and Pros?




How does car rental work in Japan?

Renting a car is not that hard as long as you have proper document(s).

I have rented a car in Japan with the International Driving Permit and I am going to share the experience with you.



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Where is “Rent-a-Car”?

Car rental companies are usually located near station or airport.

It should take only few minutes from station because customers need a car as soon as getting off the train or airplane.


Car rental companies include Toyota, Orix, Nippon Rent-a-Car, Budget, Times etc.


Small station may not have car rental companies so check when planning your trip.




How Much is a Car at Rent-a-Car?

The rate varies from one company to another. The best way is to compare several rental companies.

Small cities may only have one car rental company thus you have no choice.   


Basic Rates

The rate depends on types of a car and area you drive.

In general, city like Tokyo offers higher rates, while rural areas in Hokkaido and Okinawa offer lower rates.

Common rate is based on hourly rate and service fee.




If you drive Toyota prius in Naha city, Okinawa between 9a.m. to 7p.m. (10 hours) it would cost about 7,000 yen.

If you drive Toyota prius in Yokohama, Kanagawa between 9a.m. to 7p.m. (10 hours) it would cost about 9,000 yen.



Fuel Charge

Some car rental companies require to fill in full gas when you return a car, whereas others only require payment for what you actually have used.

Check the website or ask when renting.




What to Prepare Before Renting a Car?

International Driving Permit is required when you drive in Japan.

It is not issued in Japan so you must obtain it in your country. 


I have got my International Driving Permit in Canada.

I went to local insurance company and they issued my permit within 30 minutes. Although you have to pay for the permit, the fee is usually small. Mine was less than 3,000 yen.




What are the Pros and Cons of Car Rental?



There are pros and cons when it comes to renting a car. Those points will also be affected depending on where you go.



Freedom: You can go to anywhere you want. You can spend as much time as you want. No limitation and so much freedom if you drive.


No Need to Rush: Have you joined any tour? Have you ever felt you didn’t have enough time to enjoy the place? Joining tour is a great way to explore new place but it usually offers tight schedule. You don’t really have time to immerse yourself in culture, atmosphere and communicate with local people.



No Need to Check Train Schedule: When you go to rural area, you always have to be careful with the time table of public transportation. In such areas only a small number of residents use the service, thus it is not frequent and pretty inconvenient.




More Expensive: The cost of renting a car is higher compared to public transportation. If you intend to visit city centre area, it it usually easier to take public transportation. When you travel in Tokyo, for instance, the best way is the combination of walking and trains.

It is easy to find taxi on the street in case you are tired.


Different Regulations and Rules: You could probably guess traffic rights and red stop signs but do you know other rules?

Each country has slightly different regulations. I feel nervous when I drive somewhere I’ve never been!



Check traffic regulations in Japan here → Traffic Rules



Driving on the Left: Isn’t it scary to drive the other side of the road? I drive in Canada but not in Japan. People drive on the right in Canada just like the USA. Japan, however, people drive on the left.

Once you drive you know how it goes, but be very careful when turning right! Oncoming vehicles might hit you if you turn carelessly.




I love driving a car because it gives me freedom. Although I don’t drive a car in Tokyo, I want to drive when I visit outside Tokyo.

Rent-a-car is a perfect choice when you travel with others because you can save money and time.


Hope you have a great trip!






What are advantages? →Pros and Cons of Being in a Relationship with a Japanese Girlfriend


Learn those crucial concepts before visiting Japan →5 Things You should Know!




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