Car rental in Japan
We went to Nagasaki for the weekend, that is on Sunday. We tried to spend as little as possible and decided to rent a car and share it with two more people.
Car rental agencies and costs. Rental agencies are easy to find – we had three just around the corner. We rented from Budget in Tenjin/Fukuoka.
We paid 6.500 yen for the car (including insurance for the day), 3.000 for gas, and there were also bills for various highway tolls. In the end, we paid about 4.500 each (four people sharing the car). The train ride would have been about double that per person.
Our incredibly cute car. We were wondering if it was considered a gaijin colour, as all the other cars picked up by Japanese was black or beige. The car was just perfect for four, brand new, with decent AC and (confusing Japanese) GPS. It’s good to have Google maps on the phone!
Driving permit. To rent a car in Japan you need an international driving permit backed by your driver’s license. Tomek was the only one meeting those criteria and our brave driver all the way.
We also needed to show the passport and use a credit card for the payment, since they don’t accept cash.
Driving in Japan. The Japanese drive on the left but other than that it is safe and calm to drive in Japanese cities and highways, more than I can imagine in any other Asian (or European) country. Road signs are in English as well but exits can be a bit tricky and we took an exit thinking it was the continuation of the expressway at one time. Once you are off, you have to pay again to get back on.
The speed limit in Japan is is 60 km/h except for the highways, where the limit is 100 km/h. Urban areas are usually zoned at 40 km/h. Driving is pleasant as you have no crazy speeders, crazy overtaking manoeuvres like on Germany’s and Poland’s highways.
Enjoy some unobstructed views in Japan!
Tolls on the expressway. This may be a major cost factor as Japanese highways, well maintained and fast, are also rather expensive. It is good to have change to feed those highway toll machines. Throw the indicated amount (100 yen) into the yellow container and the gates open!
Here, we are getting a toll ticket. You can also pay with credit card, although we fed the machines with cash, most of the time there was friendly Japanese staff at the toll booth. I have read that fees run at about 25 yen per kilometre.
Fuel. There are rest stops and gas stations at regular intervals. Driving economically ‘slow’ pays off. We only had to refill once after the 300km trip. We had to make sure we would fill up with ‘regular’ (not high octane) which is around 105 yen per litre. Don’t worry about DIY – all you have to know is the kind of gas you need and your car will be filled up for you.
Watch the cool petrol station. Japan is all about space efficiency, as you won’t see the usual fuel dispensers.
Parking. There are many big but many tiny car parks in all Japanese cities which you can use – sometimes not fitting more than 5 cars. We chose a spot and after a while it blocked the car automatically.
To get it back, we had to pay at the vending machine. For parking lot number three and a few hours we paid 200 yen.
Nagasaki is about 150km from Fukuoka – just okay for a day trip but we would have preferred to stay for one more day! Here is our Nagasaki sightseeing and the truth about radiation in Nagasaki after the atomic bomb today.