If you’re interested in taking a road trip while in Japan but don’t want to opt for the mundane rental cars from the typical rental services, you’re in luck! Here’s a selection of unique cars you can rent in Japan. Keep in mind, some of these services may have age limits and may require special membership fees for use of the service.
Toyota’s futuristic personal mobility vehicle, the i-Road, was first introduced as a concept car in 2013. It has since become a reality with its adoption as a test vehicle in select cities around the world. The funky 3-wheeler is powered by electricity, which means there are zero emissions in a non-existential tailpipe. The i-Road is now available for car-sharing from the Times Car Plus service. Times is known mostly as a car parking service but has begun to operate car rental and car-sharing services in the past few years.
In order to rent out the i-Road, you will need to be upgraded to “Stage 2” membership. To become a Stage 2 member, you will need to rent out a couple cars to accumulate points. Once you have enough points, you will have to take a short lesson on operating the vehicle safely. Pass those conditions with flying colors and you’re on your way to i-Roading it out in Tokyo.
Car fanatics flock from around the world to test out Fun2drive’s line-up of old and new Japanese sports cars. It’s easy to see why, each Skyline GT-R, from the historic “Hakosuka” to the “Godzilla” R35, can be rented out, one-by-one or all at once. They aren’t limited to the Yokohama-based automaker either. The shop has prepared VTEC-powered Hondas and rotary-powered Mazdas too. Some of the vehicles have been made to look like the cars from the popular anime Initial D as well! So for those who had always dreamed of making their anime fantasies a reality, here’s your chance.
The best part is, the shop is located in the heart of Hakone, about 90 minutes from Tokyo, so all the twisty roads to fill your street racing appetite are available just down the block. Enjoy the beautiful landscapes and take a dip in an onsen before heading back to Tokyo.
Omoshiro Rental Car always has a nice line-up of sports cars to rent. With stores located in Chiba, Tokyo, and Wakayama, you won’t need to travel far to rent your favourite Japanese sports car. The latest vehicle to join the pack is Honda’s mid-engined kei sportscar, the S660. If the weather permits, take the foldable roof off and enjoy the open view of the Tokyo skyline with a drive through town.
For a quick tour around the city, hop onto the Shuto Expressway C1 loop. But for the full Tokyo drive experience, stay on the non-toll roads, and go through places like Roppongi, Shibuya, and the Ginza district. You should definitely drive around after the sun has set and the neon lights come on to shine upon the clean body panels. This little Honda may only produce 64ps from a turbocharged 660cc engine, but it is plenty considering it only weighs 830kg.
Another sweet ride available from Times Car is this classic Japanese sports car from the 70’s. Also known as the Datsun 240Z in the North American market, it was the first generation Fairlady Z model produced by Nissan. It would create the wave of Japanese lightweight, rear-wheel-drive sports cars for the decades to follow. Service X’s stores can be found in Yurakucho, Ikebukuro, Ebisu, and in Yokohama, all in close proximity to the train station.