Friday, April 2, 2010

Rent a car in Tokyo


My group (5 adults and 1 kid) will be in Tokyo next month for 8 days. We decide not to buy 7-day JR pass as we only stay in Tokyo and nearby. One of group raised the issue about renting a car, would it be possible to drive in Japan? Heard that all road signs are in Japanese which we can%26#39;t read!! The cost of renting is also high right?

Thank you in advance for your help.


Rent a car in Tokyo

Are you from bangkok? Then you should be ok. Drive bit defensively than you do at home though. Traffic signs are based on British style and most are self explanatory.

Just be careful with ';One way'; streets. These are very confusing and even locals get wrong.

Drive safe!

Rent a car in Tokyo

Oh, another thing. When you drive in Japan, you have to yield, avoid, slow down, give away and be careful for pedestrians.

You have to stop for them unlike in Thailand.

What about road signs, Japanese/English? You’ve been in BKK before so you know people driving habit. Though it’s real, it’s really sad to learn that bad thing is very well-known among foreigners. Thanks very much goldenmango for your info.


I live in Japan and drive all over and I am always urging visitors to drive...when they are out in rural areas.

The public transportation is so marvelous in Tokyo that driving is unnecessary. Parking is expensive and surface street traffic can be slower than the trains %26amp; subways. I%26#39;d not rent a car in Tokyo.

That said, signage is in Japanese kanji and romaji, so you%26#39;d be able to read.

With 6 people, you will need to rent a mini-van as all passengers must have seatbelts and regular cars are only for 5 passengars (including the driver). How big is the child? You might need a child seat, too.

If you%26#39;re planning to keep the car for a couple of days, be sure to check on where to park at night. Many smaller hotels in the city don%26#39;t have parking, and the larger hotels have parking, but they%26#39;re expensive.

Here are a couple of sites in English.

Thank you to spendthrift and mamajelli for quick response. Personally I never think about driving in Tokyo but one of the group thought it would be more comfortable when travelling. To support my thought, i raised the question to ask in the forum.

After discussing with group, we decide not rent a car then.


If you were to drive in Tokyo, might as well go all out. 2 drivers, a BMW M3 and a Nissan GTR for 1 weekday, 45000yen available at Orix Ropponghi Hills :)

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, the PARKING!!!

It%26#39;s nightmare to find parking spots and they COST!

Another reason why we don%26#39;t recommend driving in big cities, specially places like Tokyo.

I agree with bibimbob. If you have a chance to rent a GTR, go for it.

I have rented cars in Japan multiple times and here are my thoughts:

1. Don%26#39;t drive in cities. In fact, don%26#39;t rent or return at city locations. Traffic is so congested and even the GPS gets lost that you will spend an hour or more each way. Take a train to a suburb location and rent from there instead. For example, if you are heading towards Hakone, rent from Odawara. If you are heading north to Nikko, rent from Omiya.

2. Signs are in Japanese and English.

3. All rental cars come with Japanese GPS. I still don%26#39;t know if any company actually has an English one. The easiest way to navigate is to have phone numbers of your destinations ready. You can then just enter the number into the unit and it will show you the route.

4. Tocoo is still the cheapest car rental agent I have found and it%26#39;s reliable with good service. With so many people to spread the cost, it%26#39;s actually not that expensive. However, toll charges are quite stiff.

5. Note that drop-off charges apply and can be very expensive. Return at the same location if you could.

6. You must have an International Driver%26#39;s Permit (not an International Driver%26#39;s License) to rent. This is required in Japan and you might be refused rental at the counter if you don%26#39;t have one.

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