| Centrip Editorial Board
Enjoy driving in Japan！Get to know every step: from making a reservation to picking up the car
We understand many travelers use trains and buses to get around… But guess what? Driving in Japan is another convenient way to travel around. Today, I will be introducing the procedures to follow when borrowing a car, and the recommended travel spots that best suit your trip!
What to prepare before leaving your country
1. Make a reservation online in advance（TOYOTA Rent-a-Car as an example）
Most rent-a-car websites are offered in multiple languages. All that is required is to choose where to pick up and return the car (you have the option of returning the car to a garage other than the one where you picked it up), the type of car, and additional options such as using child seats. As long as you make a reservation in advance, there will be no complicated procedures to follow in Japan: simply walk into a store and pick up your car!
Of course, you may apply for a car on the same day you intend to drive it. You should however be aware that a car may not be available during the tourist seasons.
2. Ensure that you can drive legally in Japan. You will need to prepare your passport & international driving permit in advance.
(The necessary documents from country to country, so check here for more information):
How to get to the rent-a-car counter from the Airport— using Chubu Centrair International Airport as an example
Follow us! We'll take you to the rent-a-car counter from Chubu Centrair International Airport!
After clearing immigration, walk down the long corridor…
Then you will see an information center called “Access Plaza”.
Walk up to the rental car reception counter and tell a staff your name and the type of car you have reserved. The staff will confirm you reservation, and give you careful instructions of the way leading to the actual store.
You will find an elevator on the right side of the counter. Take the elevator to the first floor to get to the store!
Get off the elevator, and walk left…
Look for the green signboard! You will soon find the store.
Steps to follow at the store
With the cooperation of Toyota Rent-a-Car, we will show you everything you will need to do when borrowing a car!
Inform a member of staff that you have made a reservation online in advance.
The staff member will ask you for your name.
You should also tell the staff member where you will be traveling to, since you may be missing out on some special discounts or special deals. 15 minutes at the counter, and off you go!
The ETC (Electric Toll Collection System) card can also be rented.
(ETC card: By using this card, since the payments will be made automatically through the card, you can pass through the toll booths, instead of having to stop at the toll booth to pay.)
* Paid Service
CEP Card, only for foreigners visiting Japan!
Have you heard of the “Central Nippon Expressway Pass (CEP)”? It is one of our best recommendations, and only available to foreigners visiting Japan!
CEP is a good value plan, which gives you unlimited access to any highways within the designated area in the Chubu region, paying only a fixed amount. The highway routes cover famous tourist spots you may have on your list, such as Nagoya, Shirakawa-go, Tateyama Kurobe, and more… It is affordable, but that is not its only plus point. It is also recommended for foreigners who do not know how the fee system works on the highways.
The price depends on the number of days you are planning to use the CEP. Please refer to the official website (CEP), to work out your traveling schedule!
Another option is JAF (Japan Automobile Federation) membership. Should an accident or a breakdown occur, call one of the staff from JAF to get help! (service available 24 hours a day). The service may be in English, Chinese, and Korean as well!
* Paid Service
Show any necessary documents (driving license, for example), and sign some documents.
Show your passport & international driving permit to one of the staff, and sign the contract.
（The necessary documents differ from country to country）
Once you are finished with all the procedures, a staff member will take you to the car!
Before getting in the car, you will have to check the car with a staff member to see if there are any scratches or bumps.
You will go through the same steps when you return the car. In the event that you damage the car while using it, you may be asked to pay a certain amount.
Finish checking the car, and take the key.
Off you go!!
Set the navigation
Japanese language ability is not necessary for driving. Why not? This is because the navigation system comes in English, Korean, and Chinese as well! Choose your destination, and your trip begins.
Next time we meet, we will introduce our travel plans around the Chubu region by car!