A day out at Fuji Speedway


Through a request from our good friend Peter Blake, we managed to arrange a day for him to visit ‘Fuji Speedway’ in Shizuoka prefecture, to attend one of the many closed race meetings around japan.


Peter, a professional photographer and fellow Tokyoite, wished to take some pictures in an environment familiar to his subject for the day – a ten-year-old Japanese karting-champion. Unfortunately, school got in the way of that, however Peter did manage to grab a few good shots from the pit lane, including one of Kimura san, the mechanic who takes care of the privately owned Formula 3 Lola.


Original images are available for purchase over on Peter’s website, The Authentic Image, with some more detail about his day at Fuji speedway over on his blog.

Jaguar XKR Silverstone

Growing up in the UK, we fell in love with the shape of the XKR, when it was first introduced in the mid-nineties. Fast forward twenty years, and we are presented with this gorgeous limited edition ‘XKR Silverstone’. It’s pretty amazing just how many special editions make their way to Japan, and end up residing in a car park in some far-flung residential areas.

The Morris Minor 1000

While travelling with the family in Nagano prefecture recently, the wife happened to come across this classic ‘Morris Minor’, parked up in a popular tourist attraction. With it’s minuscule 37bhp, 948cc engine managing a top-speed of 128kph, this particular vehicle, registered in the Yokohama district, must have taken an eternity to travel the 200kms+ to where it was parked.

American Muscle

A rather extraordinary spot in the western suburbs of Tokyo recently. Not one, but three Muscle cars, lined-up adjacent to one another. It’s fair to say, while these behemoth machines may be a trifle too big for the smaller roads of Japan, the simplicity, and square-cut angles of these older models are much more pleasing to the eye than their newer siblings!

Which one is your favourite?

Dodge R/T Hemi

Dodge Roadrunner 440 6 BBL

Plymouth Valiant Signet

Renting a Car in Japan

Car Rental

There are a vast number of reasons why one may need to rent a car in Japan. Luckily, there are many options available, from small hatchbacks, vans and trucks – offered by a number of the domestic manufacturers, all the way through to the luxury premium rental market, including Mercedes Benz, Audi, Porsche & Ferrari to name a few.

Perhaps the best known, with the most number of locations across Japan is Toyota Rent-a-Lease, with a wide array of vehicles to choose from at reasonable rates. English service is also offered at a few select locations.

How do I rent a car then?

In the case of TRL, there are three ways: via the internet (Japanese only), by phone or in person. Simply select the model of vehicle desired, the location from which you wish to collect it from, and the length of period for which it is required. Other information required will be a contact number, number of passengers etc.


Vehicles will be prepared with a full-tank of petrol (gasoline) supplied a short period before the time of actual booking. Before taking possession of the vehicle, individuals will need to supply a valid drivers license of the driver of said vehicle and pre-pay all rental fees up-front – 5% discount for payments made by credit card.

Individuals will also be presented with details of the insurance/compensation system for any misdemeanours/accidents that occur during the rental period.

Lastly, before taking receipt of the vehicle, you will be asked to inspect the vehicle for any damage. It is important you check properly, so you are not left liable for any damage upon returning the vehicle. Make sure to do a full inspection of each body panel, taking particular attention to skirmishes on the wheels, bumpers, front wings (fender), the rear three-quarter panels and the interior seats. The following terminology may also come in handy:

  • キズ (ki-zu) – Scratch/blemish
  • 凹み (heko-mi) – Indentation
  • (ana) – hole
  • シミ (shi-mi) – stain

Returning the vehicle

Prior to returning the vehicle, individuals will need to refill the tank. It is quite common for the rental shop to ask for proof of this, and so obtaining a receipt from the petrol station (gasoline stand) is highly recommended.

Upon returning the vehicle, shop staff will inspect the vehicle for any damage and check that the vehicle has been refuelled. Additional fees may apply for any discrepancies with either.

Lastly, simply sign off on the printed document and obtain your receipt of payment.

Additional Notes

Multiple drivers can be registered to drive a rental car, providing a copy of each drivers’ drivers license is presented at the time of collection

ETC card readers and navigation units are a standard option on vehicles within HV・P・W・RV・V class. ETC cards however are not supplied.