A nightmare of renting a car in Japan

This could be the hardest challenge you face while travelling in Japan


Or even before setting your foot on the soil, over the internet while organising your trip. You may even forget about hiring a car when you can travel around the whole country by trains and buses.

Why is it so hard? I just want to hire a car. But it’s not that easy.

I hope in a way this is happening only to me.

At the same time, to be fair, I’ve rented a car only in small-mid sized towns and never in cities or at airports. The situation can be quite different and easier if you are picking up your car at those places.

The reasons that make it so hard are

  • You can’t choose a vehicle like you normally do shopping online, choosing an item with a photo and click and so on
  • You have to contact companies by sending emails and wait
  • Often those reply emails are not helpful if your request/order is not suited to their situation and, in this particular case, I have to go through all the process all over again through their website and by emailing and waiting
  • You can’t find too many options for 4WD vehicles although you want to drive in snowy regions during winter
  • You can’t make credit card payments
  • Sometimes you don’t even know exactly what kind of a car you are hiring until you actually get to the rent-a-car place


I can only imagine your nightmare to go through without being able to read or speak Japanese.


This time there isn’t a single thing I can do for you to help out or ease your situation. The enemy is so huge, I’m just a tiny dot on a map.

Actually, at least I’ve raised your awareness of this renting a car situation in Japan, so that’s something, a bit of contribution to the travellers’ world, I want to believe.

I just have a tinge of doubt in my mind, that there is something I don’t know but you know, about renting a car in Japan. It could be in fact very easy and I’m just missing something.

If so, please tell me what I can do to make my life easier!

See you next time.

Today’s Phrase

Kuruma Wo Mikka Kan Karitai Desu 車を3日間借りたいです = I want to rent a car for 3 days

Listen multiple times and you’ll get this!


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