Driving in Japan is very interesting,
especially during Summer and Autumn.
10 point to know before driving in Japan
1. Japan Require International Driving Permit.
Before you collect the car that you rented, you’ll be required to show IDP and also passport. All IDP issued by country that signed ‘Geneva Convention on Road Traffic’ will be accepted. Full list is here: https://www.keishicho.metro.tokyo.jp/multilingual/english/traffic_safety/drivers_licenses/geneva.html
Note, only passenger with IDP is allowed to drive the care or else it will not covered by insurance when any incident occur. https://rent.toyota.co.jp/eng/drive/. Normal Malaysian IDP will allow you to drive up to 6 seater car (Estima, Serena, Alphard). If you plan to book bigger car, you need to have a lorry licensed and get a stamped on “D” permit in the IDP.
2. Drive, left side of the road
Similar like Malaysia, in Japan, they drive on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right side of the car.
So you don’t have to worry. But for driver came from other part of the worlds, it will feel very confuse.
Please take time to familiarize the different to avoid any unwanted incident or accident.
3. Child seat
Under Japanese law, any child under the age of 6 needs to be in a car seat when riding in a car.
So be sure to book child seat option beforehand. In most cases, any sudden request child seat, car rental will be refused.
Don’t worry! If you book car fro, H.I.S. Travel, it will be arranged automatically, and it is FOC (Free of Charge).
Child seat takes the space for one and a half adults. When you book a car, please be sure to count the space of child seat,
as 1.5 adults. As example, you must take 6 seater car if you have 5 Adult and 1 child.
4. Speed-limit is limit!
Japan speed limit are 60 km per hour on general roads and 100 km per hour on expressways.
Only at selected highways, it can be around 120km. Urban two-way streets are usually zoned at 40 km/h (25 mph) or less.
Japanese car patrol is almost anywhere, so please drive within the speedlimit and enjoy the view
5. Turning right? Wait your turn
In Japan, vehicles turning left get the right-of-way. If you are turning right,
the oncoming vehicle has the right-of-way. Wait until the oncoming vehicle has gone straight or turned left before you turn right.
credit: Nuthawut Somsu@123rf.com
6. Pedestrian (and bicycle) is the king of the road
Unless there is a pedestrian traffic light, pedestrians always have the right-of-way, whether you are turning left or right,
so pay adequate attention to pedestrians when turning. Remember, any little bump or scratch may bring you a big problem. So, just wait!
7. Smoking car
Smoking car is very limited, but can be requested before hand depends on availability.
In any case, if you get a non-smoking car, do not ever smoke in the car, or a hefty cleaning service fee.
While you may familiar with google Maps and Waze.
You can also request English Navigation System with the car.
It is FOC if you book from H.I.S. Travel. In Japan, their GPS system is very updated,
even you able to know where is the next Convenient Store.
Japan navigation system use Map Code detail most important point and hotel in Japan.
You just enter the mapcode, and it will show you the direction.
You can also search by location name, but in most cases, it will be confusing, as there are lot of location with same or similar name. So if you choose the wrong location, you may end at the other part of the world.
In H.I.S., for Self Drive Package Customer,
it is common for us to send you a mapcode together with your itinerary
9. Gasoline Stand / Petrol Station
Japanese Petrol Station usually sell below type of gasoline
Regular = レギュラー (JPY 130-140/liter)
High Octane / Hai-oku = ハイオク (JPY 140-155/liter)
Diesel = Kei-yu 軽油 (JPY 110 – 130/liter)
In some cases, you’ll be reminded to fill only Hi-Oku oil when using, especially high performance car.
In normal station, the employees will fill up the tanks for you, while another staff will clean your windscreen and wing mirrors.
In “Self” type of petrol station, you’ll need to fill up by your self.
Take note that the price of gas may be vary depends on the shop and location. And not all petrol station will be opened 24 hours.
In big cities, the parking price is very expensive and you may need to park
several block away from your main destination due to the limitation.
But, you can enjoy free parking in restaurant of tourist spot. Similarly, some hotel do provide free parking with limited space.
But most of them, will put charge minimum amount.
Do check the parking price beforehand to avoid any misunderstanding.
Do not wrongly park your car, or you will find your self in police station after that.