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If you are travelling alone, it probably doesn’t make much 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. Without a doubt, the Japan Rail Pass is an amazingly cheap way to get around Japan, however, it generally only guarantees access to the most touristed spots. Renting a car gives you access to amazing places beyond Japan’s 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 (JR Rent-A-Car has similar prices and conditions). Although the employees at Toyota Rent-A-Car were not confident in speaking English when I visited one of their offices for my original blog post (this is an update to my blog), the staff at Toyota received 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.
Toyota Rent-A-Car 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, or any other prefecture for that matter, for as little as ¥5400 extra. 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
The most important piece of advice I offer travellers who plan to rent a car in Japan is to learn how to use the car’s onboard navigation system before you depart the rental agency. You may be tempted to rely on your smartphone’s navigation apps to get from A to B in Japan, but these apps are useless in Japan’s ubiquitous expressway tunnels. Nothing could be more frustrating than missing your exit because your smartphone doesn’t know where it is!
If you are ready to rent, just click on the link below. I receive no financial compensation from Toyota Rent-A-Car for this recommendation.
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