Traffic Rules for Driving in Japan

You can use public transportation such as trains and buses to travel around Japan, but a rental car may be better if you have a lot of luggage, or want to visit nice sightseeing spots that can only be reached by car.

However, many people might be anxious about driving in Japan due to the unfamiliar Japanese traffic rules. Below are some of the most important rules for driving in Japan. If you know these, you can be assured! If you want to learn even more, click the Road Signs link at the bottom of this post.

1. Drive on the Left Side of the Road

In Japan, everyone drives on the left side of the road.

2. Intersections

Unlike some countries, in Japan, you can’t turn right or left if the light is red – no “right turn on red.” You can only turn on the green light.
However, you must yield to pedestrians even if the light is green.

3. Speed Limit

In Japan, the speed limit for ordinary roads is generally 60 km/h, and for expressways 100 km/h. Some roads’ speed limits may be higher or lower than the general limits listed, so please confirm the speed limit sign on the road. If you are caught speeding by the police, you will have to pay a high penalty. Respect the speed limit and drive safely.

4. Stop Signs

You must come to a complete stop for a few seconds immediately before the stop line or intersection when you see either of the signs above (they mean the same thing). Also, you must not block the intersection for crossing vehicles. 

5. Slow Down

When you see either of the above signs, you must slow down to a level where you can stop immediately. The above two signs have the same meaning.

6. No Lane Changes

Lane changes are prohibited where there is a solid yellow line on the road.

7. Bicycle Lane

The bicycle lane is for bikes only, and you cannot use this lane to pass if you are in a car.

8. Dedicated Lanes, such as Bus Lanes

This means that the designated lane is only to be used by the specified vehicle type, such as buses.

9. Priority Lanes, including Bus Priority Lanes

This sign means that you must give priority to buses (or the specified vehicle) in this lane. Other vehicles can also use this lane, but when there is a bus approaching or a bus stop nearby, you must give priority to the bus.

Click Road Signs here to learn about more road signs in Japan.

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Road Signs in Japan Explained

Please see the below Japanese road sign information for foreign customers renting car in Japan. It features only the necessary signs and explains in detail the meaning of each sign. Read this in advance and start a safe and secure drive in Japan!

<Closed>

Road is closed to all pedestrians, vehicles (cars, light vehicles, motorcycles, etc.), trains

<Closed to Vehicles>

Road is closed to all vehicles (cars, light vehicles, motorcycles, etc.)

<Vehicles Prohibited>

Vehicles (cars, light vehicles, motorcycles, etc.) cannot enter

<Closed to Cars Other than Motorcycles>

Only vehicles with 2 wheels are allowed

<Closed to Vehicles (Combination)>

Vehicles displayed on the sign cannot use the road (the sign here means no cars or motorcycles)

<Can only proceed in the marked directions>

Cannot proceed except in the same direction as the arrows (straight or left only)

<Can only proceed in the marked direction>

Cannot proceed except in the same direction as the arrow (left only)

<Can only proceed in the marked direction>

Cannot proceed except in the same direction as the arrow (straight only)

<Can only proceed in the marked directions>

Cannot proceed except in the same direction as the arrows (left or right only)

<Can only proceed in the marked directions>

Cannot proceed except in the same direction as the arrows (straight, left, or right only)

<Can only proceed in the marked direction>

Cannot proceed except in the same direction as the arrow (left only)

<No Vehicle Crossing>

Crossing beyond this sign (trying to enter a shop or parking lot) is prohibited

※Turning right normally is allowed

<No Turning>

No U-turns allowed

<No Passing>

No overtaking other cars on the right

<No Parking>

Cannot park or stop (in this sign, parking and stopping is prohibited in the time zone of 8:00-20:00)

<No Parking>

No parking (in this sign, parking is prohibited in the time zone of 8:00-20:00)
※Brief stops within 5 minutes (i.e., unloading luggage, stopping to let passengers out, stopping when the driver can move the car immediately) is allowed

<Time-Limited Parking>

Parking is only allowed in the specified time (in the sign here, you can park for up to 60 minutes between 8:00-20:00)

<Speed Limit (Maximum)>

Vehicles must not exceed the limit indicated on the sign (here, it is 50km/hour)

<Speed Limit (Minimum)>

Vehicles must not drive slower than the limit indicated (here, it is 30km/hour)

<Vehicles Only>

Pedestrians, motorcycles, and light vehicles are not allowed

<Bicycles Only>

Indicates that the road is bicycles-only, and cars, pedestrians, etc. cannot use the road

<Bicycles and Pedestrians Only>

Only bicycles and pedestrians can use the road

<Pedestrians Only>

Only pedestrians can use the road

<One Way>

Cars can only drive in the indicated direction (here, it is left)

<One Way>

Cars can only drive in the indicated direction (here, it is straight)

<Dedicated Lane>

The designated lane is only to be used by the specified vehicle type (here, it is buses)

<Bicycle Lane>

The designated lane is only to be used by the specified vehicle type (here, it is bicycles)

<Priority Lanes, including Bus Priority Lanes>

This sign means that you must give priority to buses (or the specified vehicle) in this lane. Other vehicles can also use this lane, but when there is a bus approaching or a bus stop nearby, you must give priority to the bus

<Direction Specific Lanes>

You must use the indicated lane for the indicated direction

<Direction Specific Lanes>

You must use the indicated lane for the indicated direction (here, you can turn left or go straight)

<Direction Specific Lanes>

You must use the indicated lane for the indicated direction (here, you can only turn left)

<Direction Specific Lanes>

You must use the indicated lane for the indicated direction (here, you can only go straight)

<Clockwise Roundabout>

You must drive in a clockwise direction at the roundabout

<Parallel Parking>

Parking spaces with this sign (including time-limited parking zones) must be parked parallel to the side of the road

<Right-Angle Parking>

Parking spaces with this sign (including time-limited parking zones) must be parked at a right angles to the side of the road

<Diagonal Parking>

Parking spaces with this sign (including time-limited parking zones) must be parked diagonally against the side of the road

<Sound Horn>

If this sign is present, you must sound a horn while driving

<Slow Down>

You must slow down to a level where you can stop immediately

<Slow Down>

You must slow down to a level where you can stop immediately

<Stop>

You must come to a complete stop before the stop line or sign

<Stop>

You must come to a complete stop before the stop line or sign

<Closed to Pedestrians>

Pedestrians cannot walk past this sign

<No Pedestrian Crossing>

Pedestrians cannot cross the road here

<+Shaped Road with Intersection>

Sign indicating that there is a cross-shaped road intersection ahead

<┣ or  ┫ Road with Intersection>

Sign indicating that there is a ┣ or  ┫shaped road intersection ahead

<T-Shaped Road with Intersection>

Sign indicating that there is a T-shaped road intersection ahead

< Y-Shaped Road with Intersection>

Sign indicating that there is a Y-shaped road intersection ahead

<Rotary>

Sign indicating that there is a roundabout ahead

<Right (or Left) Curve Ahead>

Sign indicating that there is a right (or left) curve in the road ahead

<Right (or Left) Turn Ahead>

Sign indicating that there is a right (or left) turn in the road ahead

<Right (or Left) Curve Ahead>

Sign indicating that there is a winding road with a right curve at the beginning, immediately followed by a left curve

<Right (or Left) Sharp Bend Ahead>

Sign indicating that there is a winding road with a sharp right curve at the beginning, immediately followed by a sharp left curve

<Right (or Left) Curves Ahead>

Sign indicating that there is a winding road with a that starts to the right and continues several times

<Railroad Crossing>

Sign indicating a railroad crossing ahead

<Train Crossing>

Sign indicating a train crossing ahead

<Preschool, Kindergarten, School Ahead>

Sign indicating that there is a school, kindergarten, or nursery ahead

<Stoplight Ahead>

Sign indicating that there is a stoplight ahead

<Slippery Road>

Sign indicating that the road surface ahead is slippery (slippery) due to sand, rain, freezing, etc.

<Falling Rocks>

Sign indicating that there is a risk of falling rocks from mountain or cliff ahead

<Uneven Road>

Sign indicating that the road ahead is bumpy and uneven

<Merge Ahead>

Sign indicating that lanes merge ahead

<Lane Decrease>

Sign indicating that the number of lanes will decrease ahead

<Narrow Lane>

Sign indicating that the road is narrowing ahead

<Two-Way Traffic>

Sign indicating that the current road is a two-way street without a center line or median

<Steep Slope>

Sign indicating that there is a steep uphill slope ahead (the sign number indicates the degree of the slope)

<Steep Slope>

Sign indicating that there is a steep downhill slope ahead (the sign number indicates the degree of the slope)

<Road Work>

Sign indicating that the road ahead is under construction

<Crosswinds>

Sign indicating caution regarding crosswinds ahead

<Animals on Road>

Signs indicating that animals may jump out on the road (other than deer, there are monkeys, foxes, bears, etc.)

<Other Danger>

Sign indicating that there is danger ahead

<Track Driving Allowed>

Sign indicating that cars can drive on the train tracks (if specified as an auxiliary sign, only the designated car is allowed)

<Parking Allowed>

Sign indicating that parking and stopping are allowed

<Stopping allowed>

Sign indicating that stopping is allowed

<Priority Road>

Sign indicating that the specified road is a priority road

<Center Line>

Sign indicating that the position directly below the sign is the center line of the road

<Stop Line>

Sign indicating the stop line for vehicle stops

<Pedestrian Crossing>

Sign indicating that there is a pedestrian crossing here

<Pedestrian Crossing>

Sign indicating that there is a pedestrian crossing here

<Safe Area>

Sign indicating that there is a safety zone here for people who get on and off trains or for pedestrians crossing the road (vehicles cannot enter)

<Regulation Notice>

Sign notifying the traffic regulation displayed is being enforced ahead (the left image is telling that the road is closed 100 meters ahead)

<Regulation Notice>

Sign showing that the traffic regulation shown on the previous sign is being enforced (the left image shows that the road ahead is closed and a detour is required)

<Service Area & Roadside Station Distance>

Sign indicating the distance to the service area or roadside station

 

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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 2019

※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.

■ 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 2019

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

Snow Tire Plan 2019

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How to Choose a Plan with ToCoo!

ToCoo! offers a variety of unique plans designed to suit customers’ needs. However, it may be difficult to determine which of the many plans is best for you. Here, we will introduce the plans to help meet your needs.

1. If you will use a lot of expressways
2. If you prioritize safe and secure insurance coverage
3. If you want to save on hotel accommodation
4. If you want to shorten the procedure time at the rental car outlet
5. If you are concerned about driving on snowy roads
6. If you want to rent an ETC card and pocket WiFi

1. ToCoo! Expressway Pass Plan for those who will use a lot of expressways

It is a super-value plan that gives you unlimited access to expressways within the rental period. All expressways can be used within the specified range, and there is no additional charge for expressways used during the rental period. 
Using the expressway pass is very easy. To use, simply insert the ToCoo! ETC card into the on-board ETC card reader device installed in the rental car. You can drive smoothly without having to stop and pay at each ETC gate.

 

ToCoo! original unlimited flat-rate expressway pass plans
■ ToCoo! Expressway Pass (TEP) Plan
Unlimited expressway pass that covers all of Japan’s expressways
■ ToCoo! Expressway Pass (TEP) Hokkaido Plan
Unlimited expressway pass that covers all of Hokkaido’s expressways
■ ToCoo! Expressway Pass (TEP) Kyushu Plan
Unlimited expressway pass that covers all of Kyushu’s expressways

*ToCoo! Expressway Pass Advantages
① Customizable usage period, from 1-20 days
② Wide coverage. ToCoo! Expressway Pass (TEP) Kyushu covers all of Kyushu’s expressways, but similar products do not offer the same range.

If you book with ToCoo!, the below rental car company expressway passes are also available.
Hokkaido Expressway Pass Plan 
Expressway pass for Hokkaido
Kyushu Expressway Pass Plan 
Expressway pass for Kyushu (some roads are not covered)
Tohoku Expressway Pass Plan 
Expressway pass for Tohoku (some roads are not covered)

2. If you prioritize safe and secure insurance coverage

① Full Coverage Plan

If you book the Full Coverage Plan, you can rest assured that in the event of an accident, you will be exempt from paying the following required amounts.
NOC: 20,000-50,000 yen
Vehicle compensation: 50,000-100,000 yen
Property damage compensation: 50,000 yen
*In addition, towing fees (up to 100,000 yen) will be covered.

If you book the Full Coverage Plan, the cost of an accident will be 0 yen.

What is NOC?
NOC is an abbreviation for non-operation charge.
If the car needs to be repaired or cleaned due to breakdown, odor, etc., this is the amount charged to the customer as compensation to the rental car company for lost sales during that period.

What is the compensation amount?
This is the amount the customer must pay in case of an accident.

 

■Full Coverage Plan
This plan is available throughout Japan.
*Some areas may not be available depending on the rental car company.
■Budget Special (Full Coverage Plan)
This plan is exclusive to Budget Rent a Car. It is currently available for reservations in Kyushu, Sendai, and Hokkaido.

② Plan with travel insurance


This plan comes with travel insurance for foreign visitors to Japan (including all rental car passengers) and a convenient map code information service. We will compensate your medical costs if you are sick or injured while traveling. In addition to financial compensation, you can receive services such as Japanese language translation support.

 

■ToCoo! Japan Traveler Support Plan
In addition to travel insurance, this plan includes map code information service, telephone translator support service, and services that provide specified hospitals where payment for treatment is not required.

3. Recommended for those who want to save on hotel accommodation

If you make a reservation with the Free Overnight Hotel Stay Plan, the hotel fee for 1 room for 2 people for 1 night will be free.
*Hotels can be selected from the hotel list provided by ToCoo!

■Free Overnight Hotel Stay Plan
This plan is only available from Nissan Rent a Car. In order to use this plan, you must use the rental car for at least 4 days.
Hotel List

4. Recommended for those who want to reduce check-in and waiting time at the rental car outlet

During busy periods, check-in and waiting times at car rental outlets tend to be long. You may have to wait from 30 minutes to more than 1 hour. If you make a reservation with the Smart Pass Plan, you can check in online in advance, so you can greatly reduce the time required at the outlet.

■Smart Pass Plan
If you book with this plan and complete the online check-in procedure 4 days before the reserved date, you can depart immediately after a simple procedure at the special ToCoo!-only counter on the rental car start date.

5. Snow Tire Plan for those concerned about winter driving


A lot of snow falls in Japan in winter. Snow tires are standard equipment in winter where there is always a lot of snow like Hokkaido and Tohoku. Since it can still snow in the Kanto region and others, we recommend booking the Snow Tire Plan in the winter.

 

■Snow Tire Plan
This plan includes snow tires where snow tires are not standard equipment, such as the Kanto and Kyushu regions. Snow tires can only be booked from the snow tire plan and are likely to be sold out, so we recommend booking early. The Snow Tire Plan will usually be available around September.

6. Recommended for those who want to rent an ETC card and pocket WiFi router

There is a plan available exclusively from ToCoo! which includes free ETC card and pocket WiFi rental together with the rental car.

■Driving Package Plan (Free Internet + ETC card rental)
This plan includes free ETC card and pocket WiFi router rental.
*Actual used toll fees will be charged after the ETC card is returned to us.
*Pocket WiFi data usage is free.
■ToCoo! ETC Card Plan
This plan includes free ETC card rental.
*Actual used toll fees will be charged after the ETC card is returned to us.
■ ToCoo! Free Internet Plan
*Pocket WiFi data usage is free.

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Rental Car Insurance in Japan

Driving a car during travel exponentially expands the potential of your trip.
However, driving a car also comes with the risk of accidents. Recently, the data in Japan found that the accident rate for tourists was about four times that of locals.

       Tourist Rental Car Accident Trends (Okinawa)

     Source: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

In the event of an accident while abroad, unexpected difficulties may arise due to language barriers or unfamiliar laws and regulations. To help alleviate that anxiety, keep reading this guide!

1. Insurance and Compensation Services
  ① Basic rental car insurance
   What is the compensation fee?
  ② Compensation Coverage (CDW)
  ③ Other insurance services offered by each rental car company
2. Required fees in case of an accident
   What is NOC?
3. Why booking with ToCoo! is better

NOC, compensation coverage, CDW, etc. are frequently used terms you encounter when renting a car in Japan, but there are many people who are wondering about the details of each one. In this guide, we will discuss the specifics of rental car insurance and compensation coverage and how to select them at booking.

1. Insurance and Compensation Services


① Basic rental car insurance
All rental cars in Japan include basic insurance as below. Please note that each rental car company has different policies, so the compensation details may vary.

Example: Nissan Rent a Car insurance system

Personal Injury  Unlimited coverage for each person (including vehicle liability insurance up to 30,000,000 yen)
*Compensation for injury of a third party
Property Damage Compensation 20,000,000 yen per accident (compensation fee: 50,000 yen
*Compensation for damage to a third party’s car, utility pole, building, etc.
*Customer responsible for 50,000 yen compensation fee
Vehicle Compensation Actual cash value of the vehicle (compensation fee: 50,000 yen), but micro bus, truck, other specific types of car  will have a compensation fee of 100,000 yen
*Compensation for damage to the rental car
*Customer responsible for 50,000~100,000 yen compensation fee
Passenger Compensation Maximum 30,000,000 yen per person
*Compensation for injury, death, or long-term side effects to passengers (including driver) due to accidents while in the car

※Customers are liable for all damages incurred which either exceed the insurance coverage amount or are exempt from coverage.


■ What is the compensation fee?
This is the amount that the customer must pay in the event of an accident which is covered by the basic insurance.


② Compensation Coverage  (CDW)
CDW is an abbreviation for collision damage waiver.
If you purchase compensation coverage, the car rental company will cover the compensation fee you would normally have to pay. In other words, you would not have to pay the above 50,000 yen for property damage compensation and 50,000 to 100,000 yen for vehicle compensation.

*Even if you purchase compensation coverage, all coverage will be voided unless you immediately contact the police.
*Even small scratches that don’t stand out are considered accidents in Japan, so you must report them to the police. In Japan, the definition for accidents includes lightly brushing a wall or the car getting scratched due to negligence when parking.


③ Other insurance services offered by each rental car company
The following add-on services may be recommended when you pick up the car at the outlet.
*However, please be aware that all ToCoo! reservations already include NOC payment coverage and towing fee coverage service of up to 100,000 yen, so please be careful not to purchase overlapping services.

Rental Car Company Insurance Service Details
Nissan Rent a Car NOC Support Plan NOC payment coverage
Nissan Anshin Support Plan (NAS) Roadside service, etc.
Nippon Rent a Car Extra Coverage Option (ECO) NOC payment coverage
Safety Course Roadside service, etc.
Times Car Rental Super Safety Package NOC payment coverage and roadside service
Toyota Rent a Car Double Protection Package NOC payment coverage and tire trouble
Budget Rent a Car Safety Pack NOC payment coverage, on-board accessory damage compensation, and tire trouble

*The above chart is for reference only, and the services may be changed by the rental car company. Check with your car rental company for more information and terms.

2. Required fees in case of an accident

In the event of an accident, the following amounts usually need to be paid at the rental car outlet.

Compensation fee: 50,000~150,000 yen 
    & 
NOC: 20,000~50,000 yen


■ What is NOC?
NOC is an abbreviation for non-operation charge.
If the rental car needs to be repaired or cleaned due to a breakdown, damage, odor, etc., this is the amount charged by the rental car company as compensation for lost sales during that period.

When the vehicle is returned to the originally planned office by itself 20,000 yen
Other situations 50,000 yen

*The NOC amount may vary depending on the rental car company.


3. Why booking with ToCoo! is better

All ToCoo! reservations include ToCoo! Additional Support (T.A.S.), which covers Non-Operation Charge (N.O.C.) and up to 100,000 yen in towing fees.
※ T.A.S. is mandatory for all ToCoo! reservations. It is an exclusive service.
If you book with ToCoo! and purchase compensation coverage, you will have to pay 0 yen in case of an accident.
ToCoo! also offers full coverage plans that include compensation coverage, so please choose it when you make your reservation.

Summary
✔ T.A.S. which covers NOC and towing fees is automatically included in all ToCoo! reservations
✔ If you purchase the rental car company’s compensation coverage, the fee for an accident will be 0 yen
✔ Rental car companies also offer their own compensation services, but beware of duplicate services

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Luggage Space Information

Are you trying to figure out what car class would be best for your trip? Use the examples and photos below for your reference! The numbers listed below are maximum, but of course, if you have fewer passengers, you would be able to fit more luggage, even using the extra seats. Finally, please note that since ToCoo! only offers car class reservations, it is not possible to reserve a specific car model.

Important Notes
※Remember to count 1.5 seats for your child seat if you will be traveling with children. For details, please check the Child Seat page.
※A valid International Driving Permit is required to drive any car in Japan. For details, please check the International License page.

Car ClassMax. PassengersMax. Luggage
660cc42~3
Compact52~3
Standard52~3
Station Wagon53~4
SUV53~4
Minivan83~4
Others2~92~4

660cc

Recommended for those traveling on a budget. Because it is a small car, this car class is very fuel efficient. However, it may feel a little cramped for some.

Nissan Dayz

Photo Gallery

Compact

The compact class is a bit larger than the 660 cc class, but it will still probably feel cramped if you have 5 passengers.

Nissan March

Photo Gallery

Nissan Note

Photo Gallery

Nissan Cube

Photo Gallery

Standard

Recommended for both business and leisure. Since the interior is more spacious than the compact, it is considered to be a comfortable class.

Nissan Latio

Photo Gallery

Station Wagon

In general, the station wagon class has a large trunk, so it’s recommended for those with a lot of luggage.

Nissan Wingroad

Photo Gallery

SUV

The SUV class is especially recommended for outdoor activities, like camping, skiing, and surfing. Some SUV models also offer 4WD, so it’s especially good for these types of activities.

Nissan X-Trail

Photo Gallery

Minivan

Recommended for large groups or travelers traveling with lots of luggage. If there are 6 passengers, the minivan will typically fit about 6 pieces of luggage. Please note that when all 8 seats are being used, the luggage space will be quite small.

Nissan Elgrand

Photo Gallery

Nissan Serena

Photo Gallery

Luxury/Sports Car

Luxury and sports car rentals tend to have spacious interiors, and usually, the trunk space is larger than regular car classes as well. There are also some two-seater sports cars which are great for enjoying the drive itself, but not much luggage can fit in a sports car.

Van

Recommended for large groups or people with lots of luggage. However, please note that snow tires cannot be installed on the Hiace models. Also, 10-seater vans (including the driver) require a special International Driving Permit. Please check the International Driving Permit page for details. This type of car has very small luggage space when all the seats are in use, so we recommend to book 2 cars (i.e., 2 minivans) if you have a lot of people and a lot of luggage.

Suitcase Sizing:

 HeightWidthDepthUnit
White Suitcase (Large)725030cm
Gray Suitcase (Large)715028cm
Silver Suitcase (Medium)684526cm
Silver Suitcase (Small)554020cm
Blue Suitcase (Small)554020cm

※The above images were taken in June 2019. Please note that the trunk space may vary by make, model, and year.

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COMING SOON! ToCoo! Snow Tire Plan 2019-2020

ToCoo! is getting our Snow Tire Plan for 2019-2020 ready.
 We will start accepting reservations for the plan in the
middle of September.

※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.

■ 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.

SnowTire


2. What are snow tires?
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 calmly
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 2019-2020

Coming Soon!

Read More

Being Prepared for a Natural Disaster in Japan

When you are driving in Japan, do you know what to do if there’s an earthquake or sudden heavy rain?

Here are some tips to keep in mind when driving in Japan in order to be prepared in case of a natural disaster.

1. Earthquake

■ If an earthquake happens when you’re driving
If an earthquake starts while you’re driving, turn on the hazard/emergency lights and check the condition of nearby cars and pedestrians, then move your car to the shoulder and stop.
If you brake suddenly, you could get hit from behind, so gradually reduce your speed before stopping if possible.
Please wait in the car without getting out until the earthquake subsides, then check the earthquake information, damage, etc, from your mobile phone or app.

■ If you get out of the car and evacuate
If there is a tsunami warning issued or the road is damaged and you cannot continue, turn off the engine, close the windows, leave the car key in the ignition and do NOT lock the doors, and proceed to safety.
When you leave the key in the ignition, emergency personnel will be able to move the car if it’s blocking emergency vehicles.

■ When evacuating with the car
It’s very dangerous to move the car when there is an earthquake because there might be congestion, damage to the road, or debris blocking the way. Therefore, please stop the car in a safe place and walk to evacuate.
If there are no buildings nearby and you must evacuate by car, drive very carefully and pay close attention to road conditions because traffic lights and signals may no longer be operational due to power failures.

2. Sudden Heavy Rain

■ If you encounter heavy rain while driving
If it’s raining very hard, stop driving and park in a safe place and wait for the rain to stop.

■ Avoid underpasses
Underpasses are made by digging down from the surrounding road, such as underground roads passing under railways or highways.
During heavy rain, underpasses are dangerous because they can be easily flooded by several meters of water. During heavy rainfall, never attempt to drive into a flooded area.

■ “I think I can make it” driving is extremely dangerous
It’s extremely dangerous to think that you can drive through flooded roads, even if you think it’s shallow. Even a small amount of water can sweep away a car.
If you do drive into a flooded area, it’s possible that cars in front of you will become unable to move and the water level will increase, meaning that you will be stuck.
Avoid driving through any area that has standing water.

3. Heavy Snow

■ If you get stuck on a snow road
If your tires slip on fresh slow and you get stuck, slowly move the car back and forth to stiffen the snow around the tires.
If there’s a sand box on the side of the road, sprinkle some sand around the drive wheel.

■ If you can’t move because of heavy snow
In whiteout conditions such as snowstorms, please turn on the hazard/emergency lights and and safely stop the vehicle.
Since the exhaust pipe might become blocked by snow, there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, so please remove the snow from the exhaust pipe while you’re waiting for assistance.

4. If Water Gets Into The Car

It’s important to stay calm even if the car engine stops in a flooded area and water gets into the car.
First, remove the seatbelt, open the door, and evacuate. If the water is too high and the door won’t open, evacuate from the window. If the window won’t open, break the side window and evacuate (don’t try to break the sturdy windshield glass).

5. Car Fire

If a fire breaks out while driving, turn on the hazard lights to notify the cars around you that an emergency has occurred.
Next, stop the car on the side of the road and call the 119 emergency phone number from your mobile phone. If you can, try to extinguish the fire as long as you are not exposing yourself to danger.
Depending on the strength of the fire, you may be able to extinguish the flame by choking it with a jacket or water.

6. Safety Information Card – Useful Tool for Tourists Visiting Japan

This tool from the Japan Tourism Agency summarizes information about disaster preparedness, including useful websites and apps, so that tourists can enjoy a safe trip with peace of mind, even in case of a natural disaster. Please use it by all means.

Safety Information Card – 観光庁

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Rental Car Airport Counter Guide

By pressing the icon of the rental car company next to the airport, you can see the information on the airport counter below.

New Chitose Airport (Domestic Terminal)  
New Chitose Airport (International Terminal)
Narita International Airport (Terminal 1)  
Narita International
Airport (Terminal 2 & 3)
Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal 1  
Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal 2
Chubu Centrair International Airport  
Kansai International Airport  
Fukuoka Airport International Terminal
Fukuoka Airport Domestic Terminal
Kagoshima Airport International Terminal
Naha Airport 相關圖片

 

 


New Chitose Airport (Domestic Terminal)

The check in counter is on the 1st floor of the domestic terminal building.
Please go to the “Car Rental Counter” shown on the map.


出典:新千歳空港ホームページ

 

 


New Chitose Airport (International Terminal)
Please check in at the information counter on the first floor. Go out from the arrival gate and proceed left, and go to the first floor with the escalator on the left at the end. When you get to the center, there is an information counter on the right, where the “?” mark is shown below.

出典:新千歳空港ターミナルビルホームページ

 

 


Narita International Airport (Terminal 1)

The reception counter is in the arrival lobby on the 1st floor.
The “14” on the map shows the counter location.

出典:成田国際空港公式WEBサイト

 

 



Narita International Airport (Terminal 2 & 3)
* If you arrive at Terminal 3, please use the rental car counter in Terminal 2 (domestic).

The counter is in the arrival lobby on the 1st floor of Terminal 2.
The “9” on the map is the counter location.

出典:成田国際空港公式WEBサイト

 


Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal 1 (Times, Orix, and Nissan)

Please go to the reception counter in the arrival lobby on the 1st floor. Please use the rental car counter near “Information Desk 3,” where the orange “?” mark is shown in the map below.

出典:羽田空港国際線旅客ターミナルホームページ

 

 


Haneda Domestic Airport Terminal 1 (Nippon, Toyota)
Please go to the reception counter in the arrival lobby on the 1st floor. Please use the rental car counter near “Information Desk 5,” where the orange “?” mark is shown in the map below.

出典:羽田空港国際線旅客ターミナルホームページ

 

 


Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal 2 (Nippon, Orix, Nissan)

Please go to the reception counter in the arrival lobby on the 1st floor. Please use the rental car counter near “Information Desk 3,” where the orange “?” mark is shown in the map below.

出典:羽田空港国内線旅客ターミナルホームページ

 

 


Haneda Airport Domestic Terminal 2 (Times, Toyota)

The rental car counter is located next to the Information Desk 4 with the orange “4” displayed in the map below.

出典:羽田空港国内線旅客ターミナルホームページ


Chubu Centrair International Airport

After arrival, please go to the 2nd floor information counter in the Access Plaza, where the red “?” mark is shown in the middle of the map below. The information counter hours are from 9:00-18:00.
※If you arrive outside of the business hours, please go directly to the outlet from the 1st floor Access Plaza.

出典:中部国際空港ホームページ


Kansai International Airport

Please go to the reception counter of the rental car company you have reserved. The counters are located on the 1st floor of the Aero Plaza, 3 minutes on foot from the arrival exit. It is shown as “23” on the map  below.
※There are no rental car counters in Terminal 2. Please go directly to the outlet from the 1st floor Aero Plaza.

出典:関西国際空港ホームページ

 

 



Fukuoka Airport International Terminal (Toyota)

There is free transfer service to the outlet provided by the rental car companies (required time: about 3 minutes).
※Please go to the 1st floor joint car rental information desk in the airport for guidance about the free transfer service. Please see the car symbol above the red “?” mark on the map below.

出典:福岡空港ホームページ

 


Fukuoka Airport International Terminal (Nissan)

There are free courtesy bus service between the airport and outlet.
Please come to the counter at arrival lobby located in the international terminal.

You can call for courtesy bus using a phone at the counter if our staff is not there. 

*It may take from 30 minutes up to 60 minutes to pick up and drop off depends on traffic condition.

*You can also use the airport free shuttle bus which runs between International terminal and Domestic terminal
and our Fukuoka Airport outlet is just 3 minutes on foot from the domestic terminal.
This shuttle bus operates every 5 minutes and it is about 15 minutes between the international and domestic terminal.

There is free transfer service to the outlet provided by the rental car companies (required time: about 3 minutes).
※Please go to the 1st floor joint car rental information desk in the airport for guidance about the free transfer service. Please see the car symbol above the red “?” mark on the map below.

出典:福岡空港ホームページ

 


Fukuoka Airport International Terminal (Times)

Please come to the special counter in the international terminal. Please see the car symbol above the red “?” mark on the map below. If staff are not present, please use the dedicated telephone at the counter. The staff will provide free shuttle service from the airport to the outlet (about 3-5 minutes).
Phone number: 092-432-7070

出典:福岡空港ホームページ

 

 


Fukuoka Airport International Terminal (Nippon)

1.Please go to the car rental counter on the left of the arrival gate.
2.After checking in, the staff will provide free transfer service to the outlet from the 3rd floor shuttle area.
※If there is no one at the counter, please call 0120-65-0919 (toll free).

出典:福岡空港ホームページ

 

 

 


Fukuoka Airport International Terminal (Budget)

Please go to the rental car counter on the first floor of the international terminal to register at the counter (the red “?” mark as shown below). Then, please wait at the International Terminal 3F exit, next to the police box. (If there is no one at the counter, please call + 81-92-735-8886.)

出典:福岡空港ホームページ

 

 

 


Fukuoka Airport Domestic Terminal (Toyota)

There is no transfer service available. From the domestic terminal south side, it is about 5 minutes on foot. If you are coming from the north arrival gate, it is about 10 minutes on foot.

出典:福岡空港ホームページ

 

 


Fukuoka Airport Domestic Terminal (Toyota)

There is no transfer service available.
From the south domestic terminal exit, please cross the traffic light in front of you and walk for about 3 minutes.

出典:福岡空港ホームページ

 

 

 


Fukuoka Airport Domestic Terminal (Times)

There is free transfer service available.
After arrival, please call the outlet (092-629-5656) and wait at the meeting spot, the Domestic Terminal North Exit rental car only shuttle area. The staff will pick you up in 5-10 minutes.

出典:福岡空港ホームページ

 

 

 

 


Fukuoka Airport Domestic Terminal (Nippon)
There are two Nippon outlets, so please be careful. 

Nippon Rental Car Fukuoka Airport-Daiichi (1)
There is no transfer service.
3-minute walk from the Arrival Area South. 1-minute walk from the subway exit 4.

Nippon Rental Car Fukuoka Airport-Daini (2)
After arrival, please call the toll-free number 0120-59-0919. Please proceed to the front parking lot near the Arrival Area North. The staff will pick you up at the car rental 「Pick-up & Drop-off zone」.

出典:福岡空港ホームページ

 

 

 

Kagoshima Airport International Terminal


Nissan Rent a Car

There is no reception counter in the airport. To receive transfer service to the outlet, please call directly at the information counter.
Nissan Rent a Car phone number: 0995-58-2121

出典:鹿児島空港国際線ターミナルホームページ

 

 

 


BUDGET Rent A Car

There is no reception counter in the airport. To receive transfer service to the outlet, please call directly at the information counter.
BUDGET Rent A Car phone number: 0995-58-3543

出典:鹿児島空港国際線ターミナルホームページ

 

 


TOYOTA Rent a Car

There is no reception counter in the airport. To receive transfer service to the outlet, please call directly at the information counter.
TOYOTA Rent a Car phone number: 0995-58-2306

出典:鹿児島空港国際線ターミナルホームページ

 

 

 


Times Car Rental

There is no reception counter in the airport. To receive transfer service to the outlet, please call directly at the information counter.
Times Car Rental phone number:0995-58-3888

出典:鹿児島空港国際線ターミナルホームページ

 


Nippon Rental Car
There is no reception counter in the airport. To receive transfer service to the outlet, please call directly at the information counter.
Nippon Rental Car phone number: 0995-58-2539

出典:鹿児島空港国際線ターミナルホームページ

 


Sky Rent a Car
There is no reception counter in the airport. To receive transfer service to the outlet, please call directly at the information counter, exit the airport at exit ① shown on the map below, and go ahead 30 meters to the right to the meeting place.
Sky Rent a Car phone number: 0995-58-9330

出典:鹿児島空港国際線ターミナルホームページ

 

 


Naha Airport

There is no reception counter in the airport. The rental car company will pick you up from the airport. If you arrive on an international flight, please go to the domestic terminal to the “Rental Car Pickup” place designated on the map below after getting your luggage. Go out of the exit and cross the pedestrian crosswalk. You will see the 11-B sign for “Rental Car Shuttle Bus Stop,” so please wait there for transfer service.

出典:那覇空港国内線ターミナルホームページ

 


BUDGET Rent A Car

There is no reception counter in the airport. The rental car company will pick you up from the airport. Please call the rental car outlet when you arrive. If you arrive on an international flight, please go to the domestic terminal to the “Rental Car Pickup” place designated on the map below after getting your luggage. Take the exit #1 on the JAL side of Naha Airport and cross the pedestrian crosswalk. You will see the 11-B sign for “Rental Car Shuttle Bus Stop,” so please wait there for transfer service.
BUDGET Rent A Car phone number: 098-856-2200

出典:那覇空港国内線ターミナルホームページ

 

 

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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 book a standalone ETC card without any expressway passes. 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 Pass

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. For the ToCoo! ETC card to use for TEP Kyushu, hotel and post office pickup is available. In addition, some TEP Kyushu plans have the special option for ToCoo! ETC card pickup at the  rental car outlet! For details on where to receive the ToCoo! ETC card, please check the email from ToCoo! One more 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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