All About ETC Cards & Expressway Passes

This article will explain all about the ETC system. Not sure which ETC card is right for you? Keep reading and find out!


What is an ETC card?

It’s a card that can be used with the ETC system. If you use the ETC system, you don’t need to understand Japanese, you don’t need to use cash, and you don’t have to stop at toll gates, so it’s a very convenient system. The ETC card reader device is equipped as standard in all rental cars in Japan, so all you have to do is put the ETC card into the ETC device and you’re good to go! There are many different types of ETC card passes and services available, so keep reading and we’ll go through the main ones.


What is an expressway pass?

An expressway pass is a special ETC card with the pass preloaded onto it so that you can use the expressways as much as you want. There are various kinds of ETC passes, but there are 4 that you can reserve from ToCoo! Also, you can’t reserve just an ETC pass on its own, so make sure to book the rental car with it.


Each ETC option covers a different area! Keep reading to find out more.

Area Unlimited ETC Card Pickup Place
ETC Card  Nationwide × Post Office/Hotel
TEP  Nationwide Post Office/Hotel
ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass  Nationwide Post Office/Hotel
TEP Hokkaido Hokkaido Post Office/Hotel
TEP Kyushu Kyushu Post Office/Hotel
HEP Hokkaido Rental Car Outlet
KEP Kyushu Rental Car Outlet

 


About the ETC Card Types


1. ETC Card (nationwide)
You can just book a standalone ETC card only. You don’t need to reserve a rental car with it, so we recommend it if you have your own car! After you return the ETC card at the end of your reservation, your actual used toll fees will be charged to the credit card you register.  After the ETC card is returned, we will confirm the toll road usage details with NEXCO, the highway provider in Japan. If you rent a ToCoo! ETC card, you can pick it up from your hotel or a post office, but please note that rental car companies don’t offer delivery service for packages,  so you can’t get it from the outlet.
We recommend the Free ETC Card Plan!
Check it out here! → ToCoo! ETC Card Plan

ETC System Area


2. ToCoo Expressway Pass (Nationwide)
The ToCoo Expressway Pass, or TEP, is a special ETC card that is only offered by ToCoo! It’s an unlimited expressway pass for all of Japan. TEP can only be reserved from the TEP plan, and the TEP fee is paid at the time of reservation, so it’s super convenient.  All you have to do is pick it up from your hotel or a post office and basically forget about it until your return date! Total driving freedom.  You can pick up the TEP ETC card package from a hotel or post office, but rental car companies don’t offer delivery services for packages, so you can’t get it from the outlet.

Check out the plan here! → ToCoo Expressway Pass Plan


TEP Coverage Area

4. ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass (Nationwide)
The ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass is a special ETC card similar to TEP, but unlike TEP, the ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass can be added on as an option to almost any reservation. Just like TEP, the ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass fee is paid at the time of reservation, so it’s extremely convenient. You can pick up the TToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass ETC card package from a hotel or post office, but rental car companies don’t offer delivery services for packages, so you can’t get it from the outlet.
★ What’s the difference between TEP and the ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass? The difference is that the ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass can be added onto any existing plan. Because of that, it’s also a little more expensive than TEP.

More info here! → ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Passn

ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass Coverage Area

5. TEP Hokkaido (Hokkaido)
It’s similar to TEP, this is a special ETC card offered only by ToCoo, which offers unlimited expressway use only in Hokkaido, so we recommend it for anyone who is traveling to Hokkaido! You can reserve it under the TEP Hokkaido plan. You can pick up the TEP Hokkaido ETC card package from a hotel or post office, but rental car companies don’t offer delivery services for packages, so you can’t get it from the outlet. One advantage of TEP Hokkaido is that you can drop off the car anywhere with it!

Check out the plan here! → TEP Hokkaido


TEP Hokkaido Coverage Area


5. TEP Kyushu (Kyushu)
Similar to TEP, this is a special ETC card offered only by ToCoo, which offers unlimited expressway use only in Kyushu, so we recommend it for anyone who is traveling to Kyushu! You can reserve it under the TEP Kyushu plan. You can pick up the TEP Kyushu ETC card package from a hotel or post office, but rental car companies don’t offer delivery services for packages, so you can’t get it from the outlet. One advantage of TEP Kyushu is that you can drop off the car anywhere with it!

Check out the plan here! → TEP Kyushu

TEP Kyushu Coverage Area

6. Hokkaido Expressway Pass (Hokkaido)
The Hokkaido Expressway Pass (HEP) is an unlimited expressway pass that can only be used in specific Hokkaido expressway. This pass is only offered by the rental car companies, so not every outlet offers it. Also, if you use HEP, you have to pick up and return the car to the exact same outlet. If the outlet offers HEP, you can get it when you pick up the car.
★ CAUTION! ToCoo’s ETC card can NOT be used for HEP! If you want to use HEP, please book the HEP plan and don’t reserve any other ETC cards.

Check out the plan here! → Hokkaido Expressway Pass

出典:HEPホームページ

7. Kyushu Expressway Pass (Kyushu)
Kyushu Expressway Passis an unlimited expressway pass that can be used only on specific Kyushu expressways. This pass is also only offered by the rental car companies, so not every outlet offers it. Something to watch out for is that it doesn’t cover all the expressways in Kyushu. Please check the map below and make sure that the roads you plan to use will be covered before booking it, so that you can avoid an unpleasant surprise when you return your car.
★ CAUTION! ToCoo’s ETC card can NOT be used for KEP! If you want to use KEP, please book the KEP plan and don’t reserve any other ETC cards.。

Check out the plan here! → Kyushu Expressway Pass

出典:NEXCO

Summary

It might seem a bit complicated, but we hope this has been helpful. Check your travel schedule and choose the best ETC card for you! As always, if you have any further questions, let us know down below or from the inquiry form on our website.

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Kansai International Airport and New Chitose Airport Latest Updates

Due to the typhoon damage that occurred on September 4, 2018, Osaka’s Kansai International Airport has been temporarily closed. Additionally, New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido has also been put under restrictions due to the damage caused by the earthquake that occurred on September 6, 2018. There are also many rental car outlets which are closed temporarily. If you are preparing to travel soon, please be careful and check the details.

1、Kansai International Airport Status
2、New Chitose Airport Status
3、Information for those considering cancelling their travel plans



1. Kansai International Airport Status

Status Notes Last updated
Kansai International Airport 【KIX homepage】https://www.kansai-airport.or.jp/en 2018/9/7
Nissan Rent a Car Closed until 10/8 2018/10/4
Toyota Rent a Car Reopens for business on 10/12. 2018/10/12
Times Car Rental Resuming Operations 2018/10/10
Nippon Rent a Car Closed until 10/6. Reopens for business at 8:00 AM on 10/7. 2018/10/5

 


2. New Chitose Airport Status
Note: If you already have a reservation during the following closure dates, your rental car reservation will be carried out as usual.

Status Remarks Last updated
New Chitose Airport Normal operation 【CTS homepage】http://www.new-chitose-airport.jp/en/ 2018/9/10
Nissan Rent a Car Normal operation 2018/9/10
Nippon Rent a Car Normal operation 2018/9/10
Toyota Rent a Car Normal operation 2018/9/10
Budget Rent a Car Normal operation 2018/9/10
Times Car Rental Normal operation 2018/9/10
Hokkaido Travel Rent a Car Normal operation 2018/9/10
Car Rental Hokkaido Normal operation 2018/9/10
Honda Rent a Car Normal operation 2018/9/10
Nikku Rent a Car Normal operation 2018/9/10
Samurai Rent a Car Normal operation 2018/9/10
NICONICO Rent a Car Normal operation 2018/9/10
Family Rent a Car Normal operation 2018/9/10
World Rent a Car Normal operation 2018/9/10
Karaoke Rent a Car Normal operation 2018/9/10

 


3. Information for those considering cancelling their travel plans

※If you cancel your trip, please cancel your rental car reservation as well.
Cancellation form → https://www2.tocoo.jp/en/member/login
If you can’t cancel your reservation from the website, please contact ToCoo!
【Contact】 rc-cs@coo.ne.jp

 

<Caution> Although we try to post the latest and accurate information, we do not guarantee its completeness, accuracy, or usefulness. Please check the website of each company for accurate information.

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How to use the NEW ToCoo!『Hotel Plus!』Plan

hotelplus

Did you know that ToCoo! isn’t just for rental cars? The brand new「Hotel Plus!」Plan is a unique plan from ToCoo! When you book your hotel and rental car reservation at the same time from ToCoo!, you can get up to 9,000 yen off of your rental car. If you’re planning a trip to Japan, this is a must-see!

~Table of Contents~
1. How to reserve the「Hotel Plus!」Plan
2. How to use the discounts
3. Important notes



1. How to reserve the「Hotel Plus!」Plan

① Go to the ToCoo! rental car reservation site and choose the「Hotel Plus!」plan from the “Choose Promotion” drop-down menu, and hit Search.

There is a link to the hotel reservation page on the rental car reservation completion screen, so you can move to the hotel reservation page from there.
※ If you want to make your hotel reservation later, you can also get to the hotel reservation screen from the Hotel Plus! plan page.

② Please select the hotel of your choice and make a reservation.
· The discount can be used at any hotel
· Please use the same email address as the one you used for your rental car reservation

③ After you complete the hotel reservation, ToCoo! will send you an email with details of the discount within 5 days, and then the process is finished.


2. How to use the discounts

◆Detailed conditions for discount applicability

Rental Period Car Class Discount Amount Discount Breakdown
5+ days Mini-van type car
SUV
9,000yen ToCoo! options: 4,000yen
Rental fee: 5,000yen
Other than the above 6,000yen ToCoo! options: 4,000yen
Rental fee: 2,000yen
4 days Mini-van type car
SUV
8,200yen ToCoo! options: 3,200yen
Rental fee: 5,000yen
Other than the above 5,200yen ToCoo! options:\3,200yen
Rental fee: 2,000yen
3 days Mini-van type car
SUV
7,400yen ToCoo! options: 2,400yen
Rental fee: 5,000yen
Other than the above 4,400yen ToCoo! options: 2,400yen
Rental fee: 2,000yen
2 days Mini-van type car
SUV
6,600yen ToCoo! options:\1,600yen
Rental fee: 5,000yen
Other than the above 3,600yen ToCoo! options: 1,600yen
Rental fee: 2,000yen

There are 2 kinds of discounts applied in the 「Hotel Plus!」plan.
ToCoo! options discount
You will get cash back on the ToCoo! options fee charged with the rental car reservation.
The discount will be automatically applied after you complete your trip.
Rental car fee discount
The discount coupon will be attached in the email ToCoo! will send you after your hotel reservation is completed. Please print the coupon out or bring it up on your smartphone screen and show it to the rental car outlet staff when you pick up the car.


3. Important notes

Please note that discounts will not be accepted in the following cases.
・If the hotel is reserved before the rental car
*If you have already made your hotel reservation, please contact us through our Inquiry Form. We will arrange the discount for you.
・If the email address used for the hotel reservation is different from the email address used for the rental car reservation
・If the discount email does not arrive within 5 days
*If the email address is entered incorrectly, there is a possibility that the discount will not be able to be applied. If you don’t receive the discount email within 5 days of hotel reservation completion, please contact us via the Inquiry Form.
・If you don’t show the coupon to the staff at the rental car outlet when you pick up the car (the discount cannot be applied after you have completed your trip)

That’s all!

Enjoy a great trip to Japan with ToCoo!

button-en

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NOW AVAILABLE! ToCoo! Snow Tire Plan

ToCoo! Snow Tire Plan now available! Reservations are available from the URL below.
Snow Tire Plan 2018

※Snow tires cannot be added as an option, and cannot be added to a reservation. Please make a reservation from the Snow Tire Plan. From November to April in Hokkaido and December to March in the Tohoku area, all cars reserved in heavy snow zones will have snow tires as standard equipment, so all available plans already have snow tires.

Winter Driving in Japan
1. Snowy areas and seasons
2. What are snow tires?
3. Driving on snowy roads
4. ToCoo! Snow Tire Plan


1. Snowy areas and seasons

Japan is long in the north and south, so depending on the region, the climate can be very different.
When you rent a car, you need to pay attention to the places and times you want to visit and reserve snow tires as necessary.

※All rental cars in areas with heavy snow consistently every year have snow tires equipped as standard, even without the snow tire plan.
Japan snow fall map

■ Heavy snow zone (area where snow is heavy during the winter, snow tires are standard equipment)
Snowfall estimate: November – April (Hokkaido), December – March (other than Hokkaido)
■ Moderate snow zone (snow falls several times during winter; snow tires may be necessary)
Snowfall estimate: December – March
■ Snow zone (possibility of snowfall once or twice a year; snow tires may be necessary)
Snowfall estimate: December – March
■ No-snow zone (area where snow does not fall)
※Even in areas where it does snow much, there is a high possibility of snowfall in mountain areas where the altitude is high.


2. What are snow tires?
SnowTire

A snow tire is a type of tire that can drive without slipping on snowy roads. Since the groove of the tire is deep and the rubber is soft, it is possible to drive even on a frozen road. But don’t let your guard down! It’s like driving on ice, so you need to always be cautious of sliding.


3. Driving on snowy roads

Warning ① Don’t speed
Warning ② Accelerate slowly and calmy
Warning ③ Be careful of sliding on curves
Warning ④ Put more distance than usual between you and other cars
Warning ⑤ Only change lanes if you need to
Warning ⑥ Even if you don’t see snow, be cautious of frozen roads (black ice)

Even if snow is not piled up on the road, it reflects light.
It seems like there is no snow at first glance and it seems to be dry, but this is because the road is frozen.
Be careful because you may slide more than on snow. Slow down for curves.
To stop, you need to use the brakes considerably earlier than usual.


4. ToCoo! Snow Tire Plan 2018

Now available! Please check the link below for details and to make your reservation.

Snow Tire Plan 2018

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