If you are travelling alone, it probably doesn’t make sense to rent a car in Japan. However, a small group of 3 or 4 could easily justify the expense as it would probably be cheaper to rent, pay for petrol and even pay highway tolls, than it would be to take the train. In addition, you would have access to amazing places beyond the cities.
I was surprised to learn how easy it is to rent a car in Yamanashi. I spoke with a local Toyota rental agency for this blog post, but I am sure that any national agency would be equally easy. Although the employees at Toyota-Rent-A-Car were not confident in speaking English when I visited one of their offices earlier this year (this is an update to my blog), the staff at Toyota are currently receiving intensive language training to prepare for the 2020 Olympics.
Please ensure that you have an international driver’s license that adheres to the following:
The 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic
If the convention date on your license is anything other than 1949, or 19 September 1949, I am afraid it will be of no use in Japan. In addition to the international license, you will also need your passport, and a credit card.
This particular agency allows you to rent a child seat at a rate of ￥540 for three days. After three days, you pay a third of the 3-day-rate for each additional day. In addition, you can leave the vehicle in Tokyo before your departure for as little as ￥5400. This also means that you could rent a car in Tokyo and leave it in Yamanashi. The same rules that apply to renting a car in any country also apply in Japan, so, non-smoking rentals are subject to availability and if you return the car without refuelling, there will be an extra charge on top of the regular price of a refill.
You can rent a car from any of the following Toyota Rent-A-Car locations in Yamanashi (you can also rent from any of Japan’s international airports):
Kofu-Showa Highway Interchange
If you are ready to rent, just click on the link below. I have received no financial incentive from Toyota Rent-A-Car for this recommendation.