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
- 穴 (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.
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.