You will need an international driving permit and your passport. Only international driving permits issued in accordance with the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic are valid. However, you can rent a car without an international driving permit if you have an official Japanese translation of your Swiss, German, Italian, French, Belgian or Taiwanese driver’s license. When making a reservation, please state the time and date of use, location, driver’s name(s), use of a child safety seat, etc.
On the day of pick-up please bring the following four items: 1) Licenses valid in Japan for all people that will be driving, 2) Your passport, 3) Your credit card or money for payment, 4) Documents, etc., confirming your reservation. If you have a Japanese driver’s license, 1) and 2) are not required. Please note that you will not be able to rent a car if you fail to present a driver’s license on the day of pick-up.
While generally payment is by credit card, payment by cash is also possible. Conversely, some rent-a-car offices may only accept payment in cash. Normally the base fee and insurance excess waivers, etc., are paid at the time of departure from our rent-a-car office, and any late fees, etc., will be calculated at the time of your return.
In general, to change or cancel a reservation, please contact the reservation center or office of your rent-a-car company. Depending on the rent-a-car company, you may be able to change or cancel your reservation online. The late cancellation of a reservation may incur a fee. Further, please note that your reservation will be considered cancelled if no contact is made after a set amount of time beyond your pick-up time.
If you happen to cause an accident, 1) Move the rental car to a safe place, 2) Attend to anyone that is injured 3) After making an accident report to the police, 4) Contact the rent-a-car company. Please be sure to carry out this procedure as it is also necessary for the insurance/warranty included in your rental contract.
Regardless of the size of the scratch or dent, or whether other people were involved or not, as it may be “treated as an accident,” please be sure to contact the office of your rent-a-car company, including when you are not sure. Even when repair costs are covered by insurance, a non-operation charge to compensate for part of lost business while repairs are made may be required.
If you obtain the advance approval of the rent-a-car office from which you rented the car, as a “mid-term cancellation” it may be possible to receive a refund of the base fee for the period in which the car has not been used minus a charge for the mid-term cancellation. Please check with your rent-a-car company at the time of departure as the availability and amount of refunds differs by company.
As the fuel tank will be full at the time of departure, please make sure it is also full when you return the car. Also, where fees are incurred for extra rental time, these will be paid when you return the car. As the loss of items left in rental cars is not the responsibility of the rent-a-car company, please check carefully before returning your rental car.
Options can be reserved when you make your rental car reservation. However, when there is only a short time frame until your day of pick-up, etc., reservations made online may not be accepted. Rental cars in Hokkaido and other such places in the snow-belt are supplied with winter tires as standard during the snow season. In general snow chains and ski racks, etc., are subject to fees. As these fees may differ depending on the rent-a-car office, please check details with the rent-a-car office you will be using.
Most models at major rent-a-car companies are equipped with ETC as standard. However, some light commercial cars and cars from remote island rent-a-car offices, etc., may not be equipped with ETC. Although in general the ETC card is to be supplied by the customer, depending on the rent-a-car company, ETC cards may be available for rental.
Depending on the rent-a-car company, accompaniment by pets may be possible under conditions such as the use of cages or the limitation of car models. Accompaniment by assistance dogs such as service dogs and guide dogs may be allowed without conditions. At the time of return if the need for interior cleaning or other such services has arisen, a non-operation charge may be requested
Most rent-a-car companies allow you to return your car to a separate rent-a-car office free of charge if it is within a set distance. However, based on the distance between rent-a-car offices, you may be charged a drop-off fee. Please check this at the time of departure.
Although information desks at airports and train stations do not directly organize rental cars, the chief airports and train stations usually contain the offices of rent-a-car companies. You can ask for directions to these from the information desk. Also, as regional rent-a-car companies, etc., can sometimes organize to deliver your rental car to an airport or train station, or offer to pick you up free of charge, please check with your intended rent-a-car office of use.
In principle the car is to be returned with a full tank of fuel. Should you be unable to do this, a fee can be calculated based on a conversion of the number of kilometers traveled or the amount left on the fuel gauge, as stipulated by each rent-a-car company. However, in this case the amount paid will be higher than actually refilling the tank.
Although most rent-a-car companies allow you to specify the model of car, as the number of cars held at each rent-a-car office differs, it may not be possible to rent your car of choice. As it may also be possible to specify the color where cars are available, please check with the office of your intended rent-a-car company of use.
While generally pick-ups and returns are only handled during business hours, depending on the rent-a-car office, pick-ups and returns may be made outside business hours if arrangements are made in advance. However, as pick-ups and returns outside of business hours may incur a handling fee, please check in advance with your intended rent-a-car company of use.
Most rent-a-car companies offer baby seats, child safety seats and booster seats free of charge. Please let the rent-a-car company know at the time of reservation if you require one of these seats. Please note that in Japan it is compulsory for all children riding in a car under the age of six to use a child restraint and anyone that does not comply will not be allowed to rent a car.
You can reserve a navigation system as an option when you make your car reservation. While most navigation systems are in Japanese, some rent-a-car offices have English systems available for rental. Please check in advance with your intended rent-a-car company of use. Note that depending on the rent-a-car office and car model, navigation systems may be supplied as standard.
Please check with your intended rent-a-car company of use as this differs from company to company. As the names of all drivers must be specified at the time of reservation and departure, please confirm in advance who will be driving when making your reservation.
Although there is no problem in a guide accompanying you in the car, if the guide is to drive the car, steps such as reporting the guide as a driver at departure, provision of a copy of the guide’s driver’s license in advance, etc., are required. Note that rent-a-car companies do not organize guides or drivers.
If you receive a parking ticket, procedures such as notifying the police and paying the fine are required to be promptly carried out. If the prescribed procedures are not followed, this may be seen as a breach of the rental car contract which can be cancelled immediately with no refund given.
Normally the base fee of the rental car includes insurance to cover basic compensation. However, if you have caused an accident you must bear the cost of the excess for cars and objects not covered by the insurance. At the time of departure if you choose to take out a waiver for accident excess for cars and objects, this excess will also be covered. Even in such cases, the non-operation charge to compensate for lost business will be borne by the user if repairs are required.