Renting a Car in Japan

Renting a Car in Japan: Your Guide to Exploring Off-the-Beaten-Path Destinations and Rural Areas

Renting a Car in Japan

Renting a Car in Japan: Your Ultimate Guide for Exploring Hidden Gems and Countryside. Planning a trip to Japan? Renting a car gives you the freedom to discover off-the-beaten-path destinations and rural areas. In this comprehensive article, we will walk you through the process of renting a car in Japan, providing important information and tips to ensure a seamless and pleasurable experience. Before you hit the road, make sure you fulfill the necessary requirements.

Planning a trip to Japan and looking for the freedom to explore at your own pace? Renting a car is a great option to consider. Japan is known for its efficient transportation system, but having a car gives you the flexibility to visit off-the-beaten-path destinations and explore rural areas that may not be easily accessible by public transport. In this article, we will guide you through the process of renting a car in Japan, including important information and tips to make your experience smooth and enjoyable.

Requirements for Renting a Car

Before you rent a car in Japan, there are a few requirements you need to fulfill:

  1. Age: You must be at least 18 years old to rent a car, but some rental companies may require you to be 21 or older.
  2. Drivers License: You need to have a valid international drivers license or a Japanese drivers license if you are a resident. Keep in mind that driving in Japan is on the left side of the road.
  3. Credit Card: Most rental companies in Japan require a credit card for payment and deposit purposes. Make sure to check in advance if your credit card will be accepted.

Choosing a Rental Car

When it comes to choosing a rental car in Japan, you have several options. Rental cars are available at major airports, train stations, and in city centers. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Size: Compact cars are popular in Japan due to narrow roads and parking spaces. However, if you are traveling with a larger group or have a lot of luggage, consider renting a bigger car.
  • Transmission: Most cars in Japan have automatic transmission, but manual transmission cars are also available. Make sure to specify your preference when booking.
  • Features: Some rental cars in Japan come equipped with GPS, ETC (Electronic Toll Collection) cards, and English navigation systems. These features can enhance your driving experience.

Driving in Japan

Driving in Japan can be quite different from driving in other countries. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Traffic Rules: Familiarize yourself with Japanese traffic rules, road signs, and speed limits. Its important to obey the laws to ensure a safe journey.
  2. Parking: Finding parking spaces in cities can be challenging. Look for parking lots or use the parking facilities provided by hotels.
  3. Tolls: Japan has an extensive expressway system with tolls. Make sure to carry enough cash or an ETC card for toll payments.
  4. Navigation: GPS navigation systems are helpful, especially if they have English options. Smartphone apps like Google Maps can also be useful for directions.


Renting a car in Japan opens up a world of possibilities for exploring the country at your own pace. Remember to check the requirements, choose the right rental car, and drive safely while enjoying the unique sights and experiences Japan has to offer. Have a fantastic trip!


Minoru Shiina