Classic Mini 1000cc Carb

Following our passion for British classics, we recently purchased two classic minis for him and her. Of the two, this is the more sporty version, a 1990 Rover Mini 1,000cc carb model finished in a lovely orange colour. Finished with beautiful chrome, 13 inch alloys and a manual gearbox, this mini is more than enough to get the pulse racing down the winding back roads of the city suburbs.

Classic Mini’s Japan Facebook page


Volkswagen Type II

Despite the continuos rain we are having lately, camping season appears to be here with the sighting of not one but two splitties within a few hundred yards of one another. Unfortunately, the paint work on this particular Volkswagen type 2 is not in the best condition, but that doesn’t take away the gorgeous lines of this two-tone kombi. Very nice.

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.

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.

Pre-Paid Petrol Cards


Gas Station Image courtesy of Themny

It’s fair to say that most small businesses like ourselves are driven by providing great service to each and everyone of our customers, giving that little bit extra, in creating a happy and memorable experience. And so, it’s always a privilege to receive such a great endorsement from our customers every time they recommend us to a friend or colleague.

A friend of mine would like to buy a nice used car shortly. They gave me a list of their requirements, but its all in Japanese and I can’t read it. Please contact him directly to discuss the matter further.

– Excerpt from Mr.R, Tokyo, Japan

Now, being based in Japan, where the culture is on the ritual of gift-giving, we thought of a few ways in which to show our appreciation for such an endorsement, and after some severe head scratching, we settled on the idea of presenting pre-paid petrol (gasoline) cards.

The Gasoline Stand (ガソリンスタンド)

The main petrol stations utilised nationwide in Japan are; Eneos, Esso, Idemitsu, Shell and Cosmo, in order of the number of filling stations currently in use. Each oil company listed have their own card schemes, described below, for use on their own forecourts throughout Japan.


Eneos offer gift cards, which are available for purchase online in denominations of 500, 1,000, 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 yen.


Esso offer two options, in the form of a debit/credit card and a speedpass, a handy key fob which deducts the amount directly from the users credit card upon touch.


Idemitsu also offer gift cards, available for purchase online or at forecourts in denominations of 500, 1,000, 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 yen.


Shell don’t offer pre-paid cards at present, instead opting for a debit/credit card by the name of starlex, with associated point schemes.


Cosmo don’t offer a pre-paid card at present, however do offer a wide variety of debit/credit cards with associated point schemes.

(More details can be found by clicking on each image above, Japanese only)