Tokyo Car Rental
If you're looking for Tokyo car rental options there are plenty to choose from.
There's budget, family or luxury cars on offer.
Before we get into that though, in case you're wondering and don't want to drive unless you have to, when you're visiting Tokyo car rental is not essential.
If you plan on staying in and around the city the public transport system will get you to most places you want to go.
If your passion is driving, however, of if you feel more comfortable traveling with your family in your own vehicle, Tokyo car rental is relatively easy to organize.
Go straight to the Tokyo car rental agencies who can help you or read down to find out what you need to bring with you to make sure you fit all the legal requirements.
What You Need To Hire A Car In Tokyo
First things first. These are the items you will need to have with you if you want to rent a car in Tokyo:
- National drivers licence and
- International drivers licence (yes, in case you're wondering, you need this in addition to your national drivers licence)
- If you are from Taiwan, Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, or Switzerland, you are able to get your national drivers licence translated into Japanese by a Japanese notary at the Japanese Embassy or Consulate. Alternatively the Japan Automobile Association can do this for you. However, it might just be easier to get the international drivers licence!
Arrive without just one of these and you won't be able to qualify for a Tokyo car rental.
Make sure they're on your packing list. See our Tokyo packing tips for other items we recommend you bring with you on a trip to Tokyo.
Road Rules In Tokyo
A Tokyo car rental option means that you're going to need to know the road rules in Tokyo. We cannot cover them all here but we're going to pick out some essential facts and info that we think you definitely should take into consideration before hiring a car.
For a comprehensive book on the road rules, go to the Japan Automobile Federation. The book costs ¥1,000 and this site gives you the details of who to contact.
Here are the basics we were talking about:
- Driving is on the left in Japan
- Drinking and driving is illegal and is severely punished
- The Expressway speed limit is 80kph (50mph) and tolls are in place. Average is ¥30 per kilometer. It soon clocks up!
- The speed limit in built up areas is 40kph (25mph)
- Check the level of the insurance that comes with your car. It often does not protect you from personal liability situations. There is often a voluntary insurance that you are able to take out at an extra cost which is strongly recommended
- Most rental agencies expect you to return the car with a full gas tank. If you don't do this, they will charge you to fill it at the agency and their fuel price is usually more expensive than at a regular service station
- Messaging and talking on cellphones is not legal and incurs a minimum ¥50,000 fine
- You need to be 18 to drive in Tokyo, but when renting a car, many people under 21 years of age will not be accepted. The rental car companies have the right to do this so don't take it personally
- You need to watch out for cyclists driving down the wrong side of the road and for pedestrians. If you hit anyone, even in these situations, as the driver of the bigger vehicle you are considered to be in the wrong
Tokyo Car Rental Agencies
As well as the usual car rental agencies such as Hertz or Avis, here are some options that you might otherwise not be aware of. They are not in any particular order so check them out and see which matches your needs:
First up is a company called Tocoo. Their website is available in English, you just need to forgive the grammar mistakes!
This company doesn't, at the time of writing, charge extra for additional drivers if you're planning on sharing the load. The Tocoo website gives lots of information about prices, and the page that I have linked for you has a great display of the road signs you will come across in Japan.
Nippon Rent A Car
Nippon Rent A Car is another major rental company in operation across Japan.
They have support in English so they can answer any of your questions. Their phone number and email is at the bottom of the page.
Orix Rent A Car
There is a company called Orix Rent A Car that are well established and are the mileage partner with ANA. Unfortunately, their website is only in Japanese, but if you're going to be staying in or around the area of Roppongi Hills, they have a small office in the building.
Go to the information desk inside the entrance of Roppongi Hills (go past the shop Zara on your right and into the building) and ask for directions as they are difficult to find. There is an information desk right inside the door.
Last but not least. If you are a JAL mileage card holder, you can benefit from their relationship with a variety of Tokyo car rental companies. Follow the link to find your JAL card user benefits and make the most of your travel.