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Goin’ Japanesque!

3 Tips for Getting Good Car Rental Deals in Japan/Okinawa

If your sightseeing is limited to the major cities of Japan like Tokyo and Osaka, modes of transportation such as train, subway and bus lines should suffice. If you are considering sightseeing routes such as those listed below, how about looking into a car rental? (Here is an example of a rental car reservation site.)

  • Sightseeing in Hokkaido or Okinawa
  • Touring multiple prefectures in Kyushu (Fukuoka, Oita, Nagasaki, Saga, etc)
  • Tour that starts from Osaka and goes further to Wakayama or Shiga 
  • Touring around the Tohoku, Chugoku or Shikoku regions

I don’t feel comfortable driving a rental car in Japan… there may be many of you who feel that way. However, if you are not in a big city, driving is not such a big challenge. Every year, many tourists from overseas enjoy driving around Japan. Transportation to tourist destinations and tourist spots become very convenient. Also, you have more freedom in creating travel plans. Using a car rental service can make your trip of Japan even more fun and carefree. 

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How to Get Good Deals on Car Rentals

1. Book a Rental Car As Soon As You Reserve Your Flight

In Japan, the early May Golden Week  or during summer season, the inventory of cars available for rental become depleted. Be sure to make early arrangements. There are some booking services that offer early bird discounts called “Hayawari”. 

2. Get Discounts Through On-line Booking Services

Rather than requesting directly to the rental car company by phone or email, there are booking services that let you compare and consider plans from several rental car companies at once. We assume you use online booking services such as Expedia or Booking.com when you reserve your hotel. There is a similar online booking service for rental cars so we encourage you to make use of it. At times you can get a maximum discount of about 30% to 40% less than the standard price. 

Reference Site For Rental Car Comparison/Booking Service (Tabirai Japan Car Rental):

Japan Online Car Rental
Okinawa Online Car Rental
Hokkaido Online Car Rental
Kyushu/Fukuoka Car Rental

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3. Use the “Express Pass” Which Lets You Use the Expressway for a Good Deal

In the Hokkaido, Kyushu, Tohoku and Chubu regions, there is an “Express Pass” that lets you use the expressway all you want for a flat rate. It is a set package along with the ETC card so you can use the expressway without worrying about an increased transportation cost or the hassle of paying the toll for the expressway. By taking advantage of using the expressway, the range of your travels become much broader. 

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