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Anyone tried car rental in Japan? Looks easy enough, kinda expensive but no real surprise. Of course you need an international driving licence.

 

There are some places I want to go that can't be easily reached by train or bus. Well, some can but with a fair bit of walking which isn't ideal if you bought something heavy from Hard Off... So I was thinking of renting a car and hitting several locations in one day.

 

Are the rental places near the stations any good? Convenient location usually means more expensive... I'd like to rent an EV ideally but a basic Leaf is a lot more than a little fossil kei car.

 

For navigation would probably use my phone. I can speak Japanese well enough to use the built in sat nav but Google Maps is usually better. Main issue is mounting the phone somewhere since I'm not expecting the basic cars to have Android Auto. I'd like a dashcam too but again temporarily affixing one is the issue.

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Most rentals by stations are national companies but you’d have to check which have the best deals. If you’re looking at EVs, consider where you’ll be driving. Most inner cities areas have charging places but these are not as common as in Europe, for example. If you’re driving out to rural places, then that’s zero charging points apart from the odd car dealership.

 

Driving rules are probably closer to US than UK, apart from driving on the left. There’s a few new signs to learn but driving in Japan is reasonably easy.  Do expect people to suddenly slam on their brakes to do a u-turn or come out of a blind corner without looking as they’re watching TV.

 

If you need anything to mount a phone etc, make your way to the nearest Autobacs. The Super Autobacs are the bigger, more complete stores but you can get most, immediate necessities in the smaller ones.

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Rental companies offer gps in multiple languages.

 

Most i have come across also have an english website for ease of use for us english speakers.

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I was looking at this site: https://www.ekiren.co.jp/phpapp/en/

 

Seems to be not responding at the moment but it was working yesterday. Anyway it's part of JR. There's Orix as well, they have English service and I'm told some cars with English navigation. Having said that I don't mind instructions in Japanese, and as long as you can search by postal code or phone number I could probably cope with it.

 

I've driven before, many years ago, so I know it can be a bit different but I found as long as you take it easy and avoid inner cities it's not too bad. Fortunately everywhere I want to go is away from all that.

 

Side rant: I have all my POIs in Google My Maps but it sucks for navigation. I also have them all in Google Maps but its POI management tools are extremely basic. Get it together Google!

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Tony Galiani

There are a couple of vlogs you might want to look at for insight on renting a car in Japan.  On You Tube, you could check out Paolo From Tokyo and Life Where I'm From - both have videos about this walking viewers through the process.  And the Tokyo Cheapo web site has a recent article about van rental as well.

Ciao,

Tony Galiani

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Yugamu Tsuki

I'm not sure about a car (some of those streets are tiny) but I want to rent a moped or scooter next time I'm there. I wonder if it's harder to find one of those to rent though.

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As long as you rent a scooter/moped with an engine capacity of 50cc or lower. Then you can use a regular car or international drivers license.

 

Just google rental agencies the same as you would a car rental agency.

Edited by katoftw
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On 1/8/2021 at 12:29 AM, Kamome said:

If you’re looking at EVs, consider where you’ll be driving. Most inner cities areas have charging places but these are not as common as in Europe, for example. If you’re driving out to rural places, then that’s zero charging points apart from the odd car dealership.

 

Sure, I've owned a couple of Leafs before so I'm used to this. I think people underestimate the range of even the original Leaf 24. The other nice thing about renting an EV is that you can return it without bothering to recharge, like you have to refuel a fossil. They can just plug it in when you get back and are doing the cleaning.

 

I miss my Leaf so much. Had that lovely Shinkansen effect, silent and super smooth as it moved off!

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Electric cars are certainly becoming more popular in Japan.  Plenty of Leafs and the like around the city. 

Living in Kyushu, a lot of the places worth visiting are a fair drive away with very rural roads and so even having enough petrol can be worth planning going via civilisation. 

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