About Japan (JP)
One of the main fascinations of Japan (JP) is its plethora of contradictions. A country regarded for a strict sense of discipline and order, Japan may seem like a bewildering juxtaposition of disparate elements cobbled together with an impenetrable method of logic — a place where the lines between past, present, and future are blurred or completely blotted out. Its hyper-modern cities are peppered with ancient temples and crumbling wooden homes. Its generally modest and reserved people are excessively fond of loud, blaring, and frequently grotesque displays of commercialism. There are very keen yet abstract layers of superficiality that give way to the idea that Japan is always hiding something, whether it’s a world-class restaurant tucked behind the façade of a key maker’s stall; or modern office buildings with sliding walls that open to gardens and ceremonial tearooms. And it’s these beguiling characteristics that make Japan one of the most popular destinations in Asia.
Driving in Japan is the best way to explore the country, with the exception of Greater Tokyo. Some of the major cities such as Osaka and Kyoto have their fair share of congestion, but visitors will need to rent a car if they want to see anything outside of the urban sprawl, and particularly on the islands of Hokkaido and Okinawa. Japan’s excellent network of roads may be one of the only features of the country that you can take at face value. For the most part, Japanese drivers are very moderate and practice lawful and safe driving habits. Experienced drivers will fare better in mountainous regions, particularly in winter conditions, but Japan is not going to intimidate drivers of any skill. Just be aware that Japanese car rentals are somewhat pricey, (although there are many discounts here on this site), most expressways are toll roads, and your personal auto and credit card travel insurance most likely won’t cover a car hire in Japan. Thus, you’ll need to purchase insurance with your provider or on our site, where collision damage excess waiver may be available depending on your country of residence which is linked to your insurance.
Choosing your car
Relatively, cheap car rentals in Japan can be found by renting from Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, or Sixt on our site. On the other hand, you’ll have a comprehensive selection of vehicles to choose from: everything from minicars and hatchbacks to 7-12 seater minivans and fullsize SUVs.
Tips and advice for renting a car in Japan
Car rentals in Japan become more of a bargain when travelling with groups of three or more people, when it becomes cheaper to drive than taking the bullet train for a trip between Tokyo and Osaka, for example.
Cash and credit cards are accepted on toll roads, but you’ll save some hassle by acquiring an ETC toll transponder from your Japanese car hire provider.
Although most road signage is in Japanese and English, You’ll definitely need GPS to navigate local roads and long-haul routes between major cities.
Expressways are exceedingly well monitored by camera traps, so don’t let the absence of police give you a false sense of freedom to speed.
Some Japan car hires won’t have English language navigation systems. Check with your provider before taking possession of the car.
Traffic lights in Japan have horizontal orientation, and arrows found directly below its corresponding light. Red is on the right, yellow in the middle, and green on the left — which could be confusing for any driver, regardless of their home country, and a nightmare come true for the colorblind.