Car Rental in Tokyo
This information is correct as of July 2015.
Where to rent a car in Tokyo
With Tokyo's efficient mass rapid system, it is no surprise that there are only a handful of legitimate car rental companies in the area. However, these car rental companies should not be disregarded – as many still require their services every now and then. Particularly, these companies have set up camp in the Shinjuku, Minato, and Shibuya, and interested parties may access them online or through the local phone lines. Some of the popular car rental companies in Tokyo include Nippon Rent-a-car, Orix Rent-a-car, Nissan Rent-a-car, Ekiren, and Times Car Rental. Rental fees play between 5,000-20,000 yen (54.50-218 AUD) depending on the car type for 24-hour rentals. Many companies offer rates for short rentals of up to six to 12 hours depending on your needs, so make sure to ask for these. Be sure to prepare all the necessary documents, including identification cards and a Japanese driver's licence. International driver's license/permits are not recognised in the area.
What to expect when renting a car from Tokyo
Tokyo is an intricate web of narrow streets with no names, with slow-moving traffic at peak hours and relatively limited yet expensive parking. The city's efficient mass transit system has almost ousted the idea of driving, but for travellers who wish to pursue this, then maps and GPS systems on the rental cars can aide you (ask for an English-language navigation system in case you don't know Japanese). However since the streets are close and too intricate, it can be confusing.
Main roads to drive in are the Shutoko, or the Shuto Expressway, which forms a circle around central Tokyo that is quite similar to the Yamanote line in the area. Tolls are charged for every entry, so make sure to know where to purchase and pay for them. Exercise caution at all times especially at night because street drag racing is still pretty popular in the area. Rush hours meanwhile run from the morning until around lunchtime, and then out towards the suburbs in the evening when everyone is heading back to their homes. Outside the city centre however, only a few sections of the roads are clogged.
Getting to your destination
Famous for its outdoor activities, Okutama is a district outside of the Tokyo metropolis, offering canyoning, hiking, and other extreme sporting activities. Okutama can be reached by getting on the Metropolitan Expressway no. 5 in Ikebukuro, and then in Chiyoda 3 from Prefectural Line 8. From here, continue to Hachioji and into the town. You'd be passing through parts of Sagamihara and Hachioji before reaching Okutama.
One of the popular districts in metropolitan Tokyo, Harajuku is home to the upbeat and fashionable lot of Japan. It is a slice of local pop culture at its finest, so never miss on this place.
Harajuku can be reached via Road 319 leading to Road 318 and to central Harajuku.
The high fashion hub of Tokyo, Ginza is perfect for travellers who have a taste for the fancy. Luxury brands, posh restaurants and clubs can all be found here.
From Tokyo, head west and follow Prefectural Line 8. Afterwhich, continue on to the Metropolitan Expressway no. 5 in Ikebukuro, and then to the Hitotsunashi area. Continue through Route 316, and then drive your way towards Ginza.
Fond of hot springs? Head to Hakone and enjoy the warm, healing, and calming waters of this resort town in the Kanto region. Have a great view of Mount Fuji too.
To reach Hakone from Tokyo, get on the Metropolitan Expressway no. 5 -0 Ikebukuro line in Chiyoda 3-chome from Prefectural Line 8. Continue to Odawara Kazamatsuri, and then take the exit road. Follow Route 1 from there, and then drive towards Hakone.