Some can say that there are inconveniences about touring with a car in Japan. It is prohibited by the Japanese law, for tour guides to drive their customers in their own cars. They need a special taxi license which takes a long and difficult process to acquire and for that reason, it is expensive.
In which cases touring by car is recommended?
In Japan's main cities, a car tour or bus tour is mostly recommended for people with disabilities or people who can't walk only want to visit the main spots where cars can park near to.
Although most train stations have elevators and escalators, some smaller stations may leave you in the hand, having only regular stairs available or requiring you to walk long distances to reach its elevator exit.
But in the Japanese countryside and rural areas, cars are the most convenient transportation method. Those areas have much lower railway access if at all, making the access difficult if you don't have a car.
If you need to tour by car, the most recommended way is to hire and drive a car by yourself, then you can drive your family, friend and your tour guide anywhere with no problem.
What do I need to drive a car in Japan?
You will need a special permit to drive in Japan. Foreigners can drive in Japan with an International Driving Permit (IDP) for a maximum of one year, even if the permit is valid for a longer period.
International driving permits are not issued in Japan and you should obtain yours from your home country in advance. The permits are usually issued through your country's National Automobile Association for a small fee.
It is important to note that Japan only accepts the International Driving Permit based on the 1949 Geneva Convention. Please check if your country is in the list of the countries that are parties to the convention through this link.
Although it may seem complicated, it is quite simple to make your IDP and it is recommended for people who want to drive in Japan. Also, driving in Japan is not as difficult as one would imagine due to the English hand and the language. The roads are friendly, organized and simple to navigate.
In the USA, the IDP is issued by the American Automobile Association and the National Automobile Club, please check their websites to learn how to take your permit.
Cost of renting a car
The average rental fees are around 5000 yen for a 24-hour period if you are hiring a sub-compact car. For a compact car, it would be 7500 yen. Mid-sized cars 10,000 yen, 15,000 yen for full-sized cars and 20,000 yen for vans.
Keep in mind that rates are sometimes increased during peak seasons.
Cost of Hiring a car with a driver
If you decide to hire a car with a driver for Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka the price will vary between around $300 ~ $400 dollars, or ¥30.000 yen ~ ¥40.000.
You can see car tours in Tokyo here:
If you are going to other far away areas, the price of hiring a car with a driver could be higher, around $700 ~ 900 dollars.
That is all you need to know to decide if you need to hire a private car while traveling to Japan. I hope this article was useful, and please do not hesitate to contact GoWithGuide for anything you may need regarding your trip to Japan.
The best road trip cars
Nothing picks up your mood faster than taking a long and relaxing road trip somewhere you love. But not every car is well suited to life on the road, and when you’re headed out for a long trip, the last thing you want is a car that can’t handle it. When you are ready to embark on a journey around the country, these cars have what it takes to help you enjoy the ride.
The best road trip cars have comfortable seats, lots of entertainment features, and plenty of room for all of your gear. Here are the best cars you can take on a long trip.
2020 Subaru Crosstrek
A good road trip car must be reliable, practical, capable, and fun, and few automakers satisfy those requirements better than Subaru. We’d love to take a WRX STI cross country, but the fuel-sipping Crosstrek makes our list for its rugged construction and well-rounded character. Plus, there’s plenty of room for speed and spoilers later.
With fuel economy ratings of 27 mpg city and 33 mpg highway, the Crosstrek is an apt choice for couples or small families looking to log some serious highway miles. All-wheel drive is standard, of course, and with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, this compact crossover will go just about anywhere you need it to, on or off the interstate.
2020 Honda HR-V
With the Fit, Honda proved a good value doesn’t always come with squished proportions and a chintzy interior. And, with the Fit-based HR-V, the Japanese firm added an extra dose of practicality to the mix.
Honda’s smallest crossover boasts 6.7 inches of ride height and an ingenious “Magic Seat” interior layout, which allows passengers to configure the cabin in five different modes — normal, split, tall, utility, and lounge. That means the car can easily ferry anything, whether it be luggage, bikes, tall plants, or even surfboards.
The HR-V’s biggest asset is its relatively low cost, which comes both at the dealer (starting MSRP is $20,620) and at the pump (it returns up to 28 mpg city/34 mpg highway when ordered with front-wheel drive). Throw in a plethora of safety features and you’re all set.
2020 Ford Mustang GT Convertible
What goes better with a great American road trip than an emblematic American car? Nothing, that’s what. The Ford Mustang GT is a legend through and through, and the sixth-generation model is the most refined version yet. It has the best interior of any pony car before it, and with an independent suspension setup front and rear, this horse can corner with the best of ‘em. Ford recently updated the model with more tech features, too, including an available digital instrument cluster that will let you keep an eye on key road trip metrics such as speed, distance to empty, and the tunes blasting through the speakers.
Let’s be honest, you don’t need a thumping V8 soundtrack for a successful road trip, nor do you need the open wind rustling through your hair. You definitely want them, though, and the Mustang GT Convertible happens to provide both. “GT” does stand for “Grand Tourer,” after all.
Tesla Model 3
For years, electric cars and road-tripping were mutually exclusive; range anxiety kicked in before you got a chance to leave your state. Advances in battery technology make the latest crop of electric vehicles better-suited to long drives. The Tesla Model 3 has up to 322 miles of driving range in its Dual Motor Long Range configuration, so you can drive from Detroit to Indianapolis without needing to stop and charge.
When you do need to fill up, you can rely on Tesla’s growing network of Supercharger stations. There are thousands of charging points in each state so finding one is a breeze, especially if you plan ahead. Clever features — such as in-car gaming and Netflix streaming — will help you pass the time while your car sips electricity.
If a Tesla isn’t your thing, or if the Model 3 is too expensive, the Chevrolet Bolt is another great option for those seeking a zero-emissions road-tripper. It offers 259 miles of range, so it can drive from New York City to Washington, D.C., in ideal conditions, and it’s spacious enough to comfortably carry a full load of passengers and their gear.
You can zap the Bolt’s battery with about 100 miles of range every 30 minutes when it’s plugged into a DC fast charger, a type of station that’s getting much easier to find as America’s charging infrastructure expands, though keep in mind you’ll need a special charging port Chevrolet charges extra for. Alternatively, if you’re not in a rush, the Bolt gains 25 miles of range per hour plugged in when it’s hooked up to a 240-volt level two charger, which you can find outside of many hotels, restaurants, and other businesses.
2020 Ferrari GTC4Lusso
Ah, the practical Ferrari. The successor to the FF, the GTC4Lusso is a grand tourer in every sense of the word, as its gorgeously-appointed interior and quiet ride are offset by a 681-hp V12 and a trick four-wheel steering system. It does “GT” a bit differently, however, as the three-door configuration and shooting brake profile make this a head-turner in more ways than one.
It may not have the storage capacity of an SUV (though Ferrari is working on that) or the fuel economy of a hybrid, but the GTC4Lusso is as easy to drive in the city as it is on the Italian autostrada, and the brilliant V12 will never, ever get old. These are the keys to life, folks, and don’t let anyone ever tell you differently. This machine speaks tech, too. Ferrari recently added a large screen with a split-view function, as well as Apple CarPlay compatibility.
2020 Volvo XC90
We know Volvo can build safe, sophisticated, and elegant machines, but the levels of opulence found in the XC90 make us rethink our outlook on the brand entirely. Not only is the XC90’s interior one of the best we’ve ever seen in an SUV, its smart technology and excellent efficiency make it a no-brainer if you prefer your road trips with a group.
The available Bowers & Wilkins sound system is nothing short of fantastic in this car (a key factor for this list), and it can be shuffled between a variety of listening modes, including studio, concert hall, and stadium. The XC90 also features polished semi-autonomous technology for laid-back driving, and the tablet-style touchscreen interface is one of the most intuitive units on the market. Throw in an efficient T8 powertrain that combines a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with a plug-in hybrid system and you have the ultimate long-haul cruiser for up to seven people.
2020 Toyota Prius
While most of the vehicles on this list emphasize fun, style, or practicality, the Toyota Prius is nearly singular in its goal: Maximum fuel economy. The most fuel-efficient car on the road without a plug, the Eco model returns up to 58 mpg on the freeway and flaunts a total range of more than 600 miles. In a word? Wow.
Toyota made notable enhancements to interior quality and driving dynamics over the previous generation, improvements that will be appreciated if you’re forced to sit in the car for extended periods. Looking to save at the pump? The Prius is your best bet. Select the plug-in Prime model if you’re looking to add a few miles of electric-only driving to your trip without stopping to charge a battery-electric car.
2020 Mazda MX-5
The Mazda MX-5 Miata wrote the book on the modern roadster, so it’d be a travesty if we didn’t include it. The long-standing sports car is as close to perfect as an inexpensive two-seater can be, with an expertly-balanced chassis, a fantastic six-speed manual, and a tangible passion for driving you can actually feel through the steering. It’s one of the few cars that hasn’t gotten significantly bigger or heavier since its inception.
There aren’t a ton of bells and whistles here, but that’s not the point. The MX-5 is about escapism done simply, and it emphasizes that better than just about any car on the market. It’s best suited for solo or short two-person trips, but the fourth-generation model features just enough modern gadgetry to keep you busy if the brilliant engineering isn’t enough.
2020 Jaguar F-Type Convertible
Ok, we needed at least one more convertible for our list, and Jaguar’s stunning F-Type is one of the most evocative drop-tops ever put to pavement. It has the look, it has the sound — my goodness, the sound — and most importantly, it has the feeling. It’s also fast, agile, and surprisingly refined, as the suspension can be tuned depending on what surface you’re rocketing over.
Practicality takes a back seat in this one (if there were back seats, that is), but people don’t buy V8-powered convertibles because of logic or reason. They buy them because they’re beautiful, stirring, and create a new experience every time you press the start button. Hell, if all you need is to get somewhere quickly and you can’t live without your three favorite suitcases, you’d probably just buy a plane ticket. For the rest of us, open up the throttle and enjoy the ride.
Lexus LS 400
With the new cars out the way, let’s take a short look back at a few legacy options. Lexus’ first vehicle, the LS 400, was the product of a project called Circle F, which was Toyota chairman Eiji Toyoda’s vision to build the world’s best car. The result was something that shockingly still feels modern today, with a buttery ride, rock-solid reliability, and a tasteful interior that has stood the test of time. Speaking of sturdiness, the sedan’s 4.0-liter V8 is the only automobile engine to be rated by the FAA, meaning the 260-hp power plant is tough enough to power a plane. Seriously.
Impressive credentials aside, used LS400’s can be found for less than a few thousand dollars nowadays, which is an absolute steal for the amount of car you’re getting. Throw in reasonable fuel economy ratings of 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway and you might have the best budget road trip car in the world.
Volkswagen Westfalia Camper
The Volkswagen Westfalia Camper is a hotel on wheels.
Westfalia is a German company that, for about 50 years from the 1950s, made a name for itself in the vehicle-as-living-space world. Westfalia created innovative liveable quarters made to fit inside Volkswagen’s iconic vans. Their configurations included pop-up camper designs, folding tables and chairs, portable toilets, sinks, stoves, and refrigerators. Daimler Chrysler purchased Westfalia’s conversion group in 1999.
Ford Crown Victoria
The Ford Crown Victoria – or “Crown Vic” – is an iconic car known for its longevity and surprisingly large interior. Most people recognize them from classic movies or old-school taxicabs.
Range: 1,500 feet
Paging: One-way communication
If you’re looking for a basic, straightforward system that does what it needs to without costing an arm and a leg, Audiovox has got you covered. It features a decent range of approximately 1,500 feet, which should be adequate for most motorists. It has three-button remotes that only offer one-way communication, making it the perfect fit for motorists seeking an easy-to-use system.
The Audiovox is as effective and dependable as it is simple. You can program it to ignite the engine, thereby warming it up for as little as 5 minutes or as long as an hour, depending on your preferences. Audiovox’s APS57Z also lets you lock and unlock the car and pop the trunk open, as long as you are standing within range. You can use the Audiovox on fuel-powered as well as hybrid cars, and it’s CarLink capabilities allow it to sync up with your smartphone.
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Popular Questions About Renting a Car in Europe
Can an American rent a car in Europe?
Of course! In most European countries all Americans need is a valid US driver's license and passport to rent a car in Europe. Be aware though, there are popular travel destinations that require driver's from the United States to acquire and International Driving Permit, Italy is one of these countries! IDP's are fairly cheap and can be acquired online before your trip or at a local AAA branch. Contact Auto Europe for more information on your European car rental.
How old do you have to be to rent a car in Europe?
To rent a car in Europe drivers must be at least 21 years old (age may vary by car category). Some car rental suppliers will have rental options for drivers over the age of 18 and looking to rent a car in Europe. Additionally, any driver hoping to rent a car under the age of 25 may incur a young driver surcharge in addition to the daily rate.
Do I need extra insurance when renting a car in Europe?
All Auto Europe Car Rentals include liability and fire insurance at no extra cost. Liability insures against any damage done to anything outside of the rental car while fire insurance protects against mechanical fires. More comprehensive coverage typically includes a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) insuring damage done to the rental car in the event of an accident and Theft Protection to cover the loss if the rental vehicle is stolen while you are in Europe. When renting a car in Italy it is required renters purchase CDW and Theft Protection in their insurance plan. Check with your reservation agent what is required in your destination.
Find more information from Auto Europe on car rental insurance in Europe.
How much is a rental car per day in Europe?
Similar to airline tickets, the cost per day to rent a car varies greatly based on your destination, the time of year, and the car class you choose to rent. Economy and smaller sized rentals can be as little as $15-$20 a day in popular cities in France and Italy. Luxury vehicles & SUVs will have higher daily rates but keep an eye out for specials or promotions, in some countries Auto Europe provides free car class upgrades on rentals throughout the year.
Find more questions and answers about renting a car in Europe with Auto Europe today!