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Japan Car Rental

Many first-time travelers to Japan have questions about Japan car rentals. Do you need to rent a car while in Japan? Well, the short answer is no, but the long answer is: it depends.

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Japan Car Rental Essentials

There are plenty of compelling reasons not to rent a car in Japan. First and foremost among these is the country’s unparalleled public transportation system.

If your travels are going to be concentrated in Japan’s major cities and tourist destinations, a car is not really necessary, as you will have an abundance of convenient transportation options to choose from.

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A second reason to avoid renting a car is the combination of dense city traffic and unimaginably narrow roads. Thus, driving in Japan’s cities is not for the faint of heart.

Moreover, city parking is prohibitively expensive, provided you can even find parking to begin with. It is not uncommon for Tokyo drivers to pay as much for a month of parking as some people pay in rent for an apartment.

And last but not least, if you’re an American driver or driver from other countries that drive on the right side, then you may be put off by the fact that not only do Japanese drive on the “wrong” (i.e. the left side side of the road), but the driver’s seat is also on the wrong side! You should weigh all of these factors when considering renting a car in Japan.

However, if your travels are going to be taking you to the back roads of rural Japan beyond the reach of convenient public transportation, the roads begin to widen and empty out a bit, and renting a car becomes a feasible option.

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Japan Car Rental Requirements

In order to rent a car in Japan, the first thing you’re going to need is either a Japanese driver’s license (which requires considerable time and cost to obtain) or an international driver’s permit. International driver’s permits are obtained from your home country, so prior to your travels check your country’s requirements for obtaining a permit.

The next thing you’re going to need is a rental car company. If you don’t speak Japanese, you should be aware that most Japanese companies may not accommodate English speakers. However, Hertz, Avis, and most other major agencies have outlets in Japan, so check these companies’ Web sites for rental locations, prices, and availability.

Additional Car Rental Information

For more great general information on renting cars, including international rentals, check out Best Car Rental Tips. Here, you’ll get great advice and tips on getting the best price on your next car rental. Check out information on car rental policies, one-way car rentals, car rental insurance and more.

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