Winter drive

Check this if you drive in winter.

According to the Japan snow fall map below, it occurs almost all over Japan.

Heavy snow area(Snow tires provided)
From December to end-March,
All cars will be fitted with a free snow tire in Heavy snow Area.
in Heavy snow Area.
From 1st November to end-November, You can request a snow tire for free.
Some of the car rental company offers a snow tire for a fee.

Snow area(Should apply snow options)
From 1st December to end-December, You can request a snow tire.
If you are going to drive to Hevy snow area,you will need a snow tire.

Light snow area(May need snow options)
If you are going to drive to Hevy snow area,you will need a snow tire.

No snow area

Japan snow fall map

Japan snow fall map

IMPORTANT notes on Winter Option

Want to drive in Japan during winter?
You should check the weather of your destination in advance.
If it might be snowing, you need to have winter option.

Be sure to order Winter Option below when you apply.
*Winter option can NOT be offered, if you do not request it in advance.
*You can not have it, even if you order upon arrival.

winter road

1: Order Snow Tires option

If you are planning to drive in the area where it may snow, please be sure to order Snow tires option.
Snow tires option is the TOP priority to drive on snowy/icy road.
Snow tires option can not be offered even if your destination is snowy area, unless you request it in advance.
Driving with normal tires is dangerous, even if you have 4WD car.
* You can drive a car with snow tires on dry-conditioned road as well as snowy/icy road.

2: Order Snow Chain

If you decided to travel to area that might have snow, you must apply for snow tires option. If all of the snow tires are sold out, you should apply for SNOW CHAINS as back up plan.
Rental Car Company can not provide snow options if you did not applied beforehand even if there is snow.

Snow tires/Snow chains are the most important equipments for driving in snow/icy area.
Snow options can NOT be provided if they were not requested beforehand.
Using normal tires even with 4WD is extremely dangerous to drive in snow/icy area.

Please do not install snow chains on snow tires. Snow chains cause damage to the snow tires.
Reservation might be refused by the rental car company if it is too dangerous to drive with normal tires during snow/icy conditions.

Cautions during winter season

Test your brake distance

When there is no car in front or behind you, please try to test your brake distances in snowy/icy condition.

Wild Animal Crossing

Driving in rural area drivers need to be award of animal that might be crossing the road/highway at any moment.

Special Traffic signs in Hokkaido

Special Traffic signs in Hokkaido

In Snow area, there are special signs for you to check the edge of the road or the center line even when they are coved up by snow.   There might be arrow pointing down or snow poles at the side of the road to snow.

Black Ice

black ice

Although the road may look the same, black ice can form unexpectedly and may not be visible. Black ice is commonly found on roads with shaded areas, bridges, overpasses and intersections where car exhaust and packed snow freeze quickly.
If you drive over black ice and start to skid, ease off the accelerator, and look and steer smoothly in the direction you want to go. Don't brake - this will make the situation worse. You may need to repeat this maneuver several times until you regain control.

Window Wipers

Pull the Wipers up, it might freeze on the window over night.

Static electricity and Gas station

In dry areas body can easily build up static electricity. Before you refill your car, there is a black button on the gas toll for you to discharge static electricity in your body.