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It is very important to know Japanese traffic rules before you rent a car in Japan in order to make your travel safely and more fun.

Here is very important information about driving a car in Japan and 3 tips when you rent a car.

Rent a car in Kanazawa 

Photo by Satty

Emillie and Nicholas translated their driver’s licenses in Osaka’s JAS office.

So now they just need to pick up the car, which they booked. 

 

What you should do BEFORE you rent ?

 

This is very important that you should translate your driver’s license in JAPAN.

NOT your country.

I found out this truth from my guests from France. 

They said Japan is only/unique country that they require specific rules.

I agree that Japan have many special rules- for instance the rule of JR PASS,
JR does not sell the tickets for Japanese citizens.

And all foreign travelers need to buy the tickets in advance online.

 

Anyway,

You MUST translate your driver’s license in a office of JAF in JAPAN.

It costs 3,000 yen per person.

It takes from few minutes to 2 weeks for translation that is depends on the office. 

JAF offices are located in each prefectures so you could basically translate it anywhere in Japan.

So you should check the office hours and the duration of the process in advance.

 

JAF’s official WEB site

Check JAF before you book.

 

So here are some more informations you better to check …

 

What you should do when you Check in ?

Photo by Satty

Emillie works at a travel agency in France so she organized their traveling in Japan.

 

She said that 

” I was looking for a rental car that I could drop off in Matsumoto “

 

It seems not many rental car companies have offices in Kanazawa and Matsumoto, though she found Europcar that she could drop off a car in Matsumoto. 

 

It was interesting to listen to the staff’s experience and the conversation at Europe Car in Kanazawa.

I realised some issues which most drivers have to be careful when you rent a car in Japan.

 

I write the points you should know and prepare for your safety drive in Japan.

 

Point 1:  Pick up and Drop off hours

They are OK if you are late a bit from pick up time but generally it is IMPOLITE if you don’t contact them even you are late over 10 minutes in Japan.

 

When you return the car earlier than drop off time, you may able to get a refund some money.

It depends on the company so better to ask them if you are not sure.

 

Point 2:  To be careful Inspection

When you inspect the car

・Check carefully damages of the car.

You should be careful any little damage you have to see when you rent a car that co-rules in all around the world.

 

Point 3: To Get ” Foreigners-friendly-stickers” 

Please do apply these stickers if you drive car in Japan at first time.

Right one:  For All beginner 

Left: Special steckar for foreigners

 

I was surprised at what they said, they do not need to take any tests or lessons when they translate the driver license in Japan.

I knew that the most of foreign travelers/drivers do not know the traffic regulation of Japan.

So I recommended them to put the stickers on the car at least.

 

Sadly, not all Japanese drivers are very kind.  Some people become aggressive and short temper when they drive.

So don’t hesitate to ask them to get the stecker.

Importantly, 

It’s better to ask about how to use the car and the stickers to the rental car staff because many Japanese staffs are likely to hesitate to speak English and may gives you lack of the information.

 

Conclusion

Please enjoy driving in Japan freely and safely. 

When you drive, you will see more beautiful countryside of Japan. You feel more realistic, traditional life and touch our culture.

A highly recommended driving road in my home town, Ishikawa prefecture, Japan

 

Thanks for reading 🙂

Satty

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