If you wish to drive in Japan, you should first obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) from the Automotive Association in your state prior to departure.
Please note the following:
- Driving in Japan is on the left (same as Australia)
- On main roads most major destinations are sign-posted in English. In rural areas this may not be the case. If you are planning to drive in more remote areas, it is advisable to purchase a reliable English-Japanese road atlas before you depart. Companies such as Shobunsha and Kodansha publish these atlases. Alternatively, contact the rental car company on reservation to arrange a car with English-language GPS.
- Parking can be difficult to find in some urban centres and expensive
Tolls are levied on expressways and other major routes. Toll charges will depend on how far you wish to travel and which roads you intend to take. Example: Tolls for one route from Tokyo to Kyoto cost approximately ¥4,770. Rental cars equipped with ETC (electronic toll collection) cards can pass through the tollgates without stopping. Expressway passes are also available for tourists, allowing unlimited use of the expressways for a daily flat fee.
The Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) publishes an English guide to driving in Japan called “Rules of the Road”. These are available at JAF offices throughout Japan. For further information go to the JAF web site or contact the International Affairs Department of JAF on Tel. +81 (0)3 3436 2811 /Fax. + 81 (0)3 3588 6055.
A Metropolitan Expressway map in English is available within Japan from the Metropolitan Expressway Public Corporation:
Metropolitan Expressway Public Corporation
Nittochi Bldg 9F
1-4-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku
Tel. (03) 3539 9259
Fax. (03) 3503 7678
Car rental companies
• Toyota Rent-a-car
• Nissan Rent-a-car
• Nippon Rent-a-car
• Times Car Rental (formerly Mazda Car Rental)