A guide to driving in Japan

a guide to driving in japan

Driving in a foreign country is a new experience as a whole. Beautiful scenery, different driving etiquettes, and unique cars are among the points that make driving elsewhere exciting. You also get to soak in the culture of the location, learn how people behave on the road and how the structure of the country is set up. 

In this Kwiksure article, we focus on driving in Japan and guide you through how to have a great driving experience. We will focus on the reasons you should rent a car, the driving rules in Japan and how you can go about renting a car. 

Why should you rent a car in Japan? 

Travel wherever you want, whenever you want

Freedom to travel. That is one of the main reasons to rent a car when in a foreign country, like Japan. Yes, Japan does have good and cheap public transport. However, they mainly connect the mainland area only. Some may say that there’s too much traffic, so why rent a car? Again, that is only in the main cities and the highly popular areas. What if your place of stay isn’t near any public transport? By renting a car, you will be able to travel wherever you want in the country, whenever you want to. Avoid waiting times on public transport and making extra stoppages before reaching your destination. 

Road trip vibes

By renting a car, you will not only be able to travel at your freedom but also with the people you want. Travel with your family and friends privately, for your own peace of mind and for a great experience. If you are traveling with children, this is also safer than public transport. You will always be close to your little ones and that way, you don’t risk them wandering around the crowded areas of public transport. It is also easier to store your luggage and you can entertain yourself by having a road trip. Good food, your own music and stops whenever you like will bring you those road trip vibes you desire.

New cars for a new experience

Back in your home country, you have to drive the same car every day. By renting a car in Japan, you will not only get the experience of a new car but will also have a vast amount of choices to choose from. Japanese cars are well known all over the world. Therefore, you already know that you are going to be in a secure vehicle. Car enthusiasts will also be able to rent a car they’ve always wanted to drive and get to experience what it's like driving a traditional Japanese car. 

Driving rules in Japan

 The driving rules in Japan are not hard to follow, as most of them are fairly universal.

  • You cannot drink and drive.
  • Every member in the car must wear seatbelts.
  • You cannot use your cellphone while driving.
  • Traffic signals are universal, green is go and red is stop.

The few rules that vary from certain areas of the world are that in Japan the driver is seated on the right-hand side and the fact that all vehicles must keep left. There is also a rule that any kid under the age of six must be seated in a child safety seat, which is also the majority of the law in many nations but the age of restriction may vary. The speed limit in the majority of areas in Japan is 60km/h and you must stop every time before crossing the railway. Apart from these minor changes, the traffic law is fairly universal. 

How to rent a car

International Driving Permit

To be able to drive in Japan you will first need to have an international driving permit unless you are citizens of the following nations: 

  • France
  • Switzerland
  • Germany
  • Monaco
  • Slovenia
  • Belgium
  • Taiwan 

In that case, you will need to get your driving license translated into Japanese by the Japan Automobile Federation or from your countries embassy. 

Make a booking in advance

It is advised that you rent a car from rental websites. This way, you will be able to avoid the hassle on-location booking. You will be able to skip the long queues and even have more options to choose from. The following are major rental companies in Japan:

  • Toyota Rent a Car
  • Nissan Rent a Car
  • Times Car Rental 
  • Nippon Rent a Car

These websites also come in both English and Chinese,making it easier for foreigners to make a booking. On top of that, the car comes with rental car insurance and there are many locations all over the country, thus allowing the pick-up and drop off process to become easier for clients. However, rental car insurance usually contains only basic coverage, while international car insurance is more comprehensive. 

How can Kwiksure help? 

If you are looking to drive in a foreign country, contact one of our expert advisors who can help you secure self-driving insurance. For more information, contact one of our expert advisors for a free quote and some great advice. You can also visit our website where you will find informative resources like this blog.

The above information is for reference only. Kwiksure takes no responsibility for the accuracy and timeliness of the information. For the coverage, mode of compensation, benefit limit and premium levels of any specific insurance plan, please refer to the relevant policy terms.