The Reason Why Foreigners Well Informed About Japan Prefer Rent-a-Cars Over Trains

  • CULTURE
  • When someone asks you “Is Japan a train society or a car society?” you might answer that Japan is a train society since it is known for its technologically advanced railway system.

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    Trains Do Not Cover All of Japan?

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    It is true that the railway networks in Japan’s urban areas are exceptionally developed compared with other countries, hence train stations are found almost everywhere. Japanese trains are so punctual that they are rarely late – making them very reliable and convenient to use. They are also the best choice for transportation when you travel to big cities such as Tokyo (東京), Osaka (大阪), Kyoto (京都), and Nagoya (名古屋). Although in areas apart from these metropolises, railway systems are less developed. The trains that pass through these regions are less than the trains that operate in the cities. Therefore, it can get difficult to reach a number of areas if you are planning to travel solely by trains and it may be necessary to use cars or taxis.

    The Advantages of Using a Car

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    So what are the advantages of using a car when traveling in Japan? First of all, when heading to several spots, you don’t have to check the public transportation information.

    Let’s say you want to visit the Nikko Toshogu Shrine (日光東照宮) and the Kegon Falls (華厳の滝) located in Nikko (日光) which is a famous spot from Tokyo. You would have to transfer trains twice and from there, take two more bus rides. With that being said, you have to do careful research and planning about public transportation such as the schedule or where you should transit in advance. However, if you are using a car, you could directly reach your destination on your own pace by simply inputting the address in the navigation system.


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    Secondly, the more members that you travel with, the cheaper your transportation fee is. There are a lot of rent-a-car companies in Japan and they are all competitive. As a result, it is sure that the levels of services of these companies are all high while still being affordable. Some of these companies offer plans for tourists from overseas so it is easy to apply to rent a car.

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    Lastly, as you already know, it is less difficult to carry heavy baggage with a car (especially when traveling from abroad as you would probably bring more). When you use a car, you can avoid the hassle of lugging heavy baggage by yourself while looking for your destination.

    The Disadvantages of Using a Car

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    Of course, there are also disadvantages to using a car. First, not all tourists and only those who have an international driver’s license will be allowed to drive around a foreign country. The process of getting an international driver’s license is different depending on the country you are from. Before going to Japan, you should check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website and follow the required process.

    Second, according to Japanese traffic rules, you must drive on the left side of the road and it will take some time getting used to. If you drive on the opposite side back in your home country, you might feel uneasy and uncomfortable at first. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t worry as Japanese roads are quite safe for driving and everyone follows the rules, especially when you get familiar with it.

    Recommended Option for Renting a Car

    So after weighing the pros and cons of using a car when traveling in Japan and you are now considering it, NICONICO Rent a Car is a recommended option.

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    With more than 1,400 branches across Japan that offer budget prices, NICONICO Rent a Car is a popular company among the Japanese! 6 of their branches that are located near airports and a main station started to accommodate tourists from overseas since January 2016 and it seems that they plan to continue having more branches that offer such services. If you’re wondering why NICONICO Rent a Car can offer budget prices, it’s because they are an enterprise that first started off with used cars as their rent-a-cars for a low price. And those prices have been kept until today even when they mostly offer the new models for tourists. In some cases, their rent rates are about a half cheaper than other rent-a-car companies’ rates as shown in the chart below. They also offer a wide variety of cars including new models from makes such as Toyota, Nissan, and Honda. Wouldn’t you want to enjoy driving one of these cars?

    Price Comparison of a Wagon Class Car for 8 People (NOAH, SERENA)
    NICONICO Rent a Car Company A Company B Company C
    24 Hours ¥12,620 ¥20,520 ¥23,004 ¥19,440
    48 Hours ¥25,240 ¥35,640 ¥40,608 ¥39,964
    72 Hours ¥37,860 ¥50,760 ¥58,212 ¥52,488

    You’d be happy to know that 6 foreign-tourist-friendly branches are strategically located in airports and a bullet train station (New Chitose Airport – 新千歳空港店, Narita Airport – 成田空港店, Shin-Yokohama Shinkansen Station – 新横浜駅店, Fukuoka Airport – 福岡空港店, Kagoshima Airport – 鹿児島空港店, and Nagasaki Airport – 長崎空港店). All of them have foreign language services available and have free shuttle services from the airports (except from Fukuoka Airport) or the bullet train station to the rent-a-car branches making your trip even smoother. You do not have to worry about getting lost after arriving in Japan since videos showing the directions to the shuttle bus pick-up spots at the airports are available on their website.

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    If you’re worried about getting lost in Japan while driving, don’t fret as NICONICO Rent a Car’s cars are all equipped with GPS or car navigation systems available in English, Traditional Chinese, and Korean. In case of an accident or any other trouble, emergency calls are available in simultaneous interpretation for the following 10 languages: English, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Portuguese, Spanish, French, and Russian.

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    NICONICO Rent a Car’s renting process is straightforward and can be simplified into three steps:

    Reserve:

    Choose the branch where you prefer to pick up the car, the car class, dates, and time through their online booking form. Once you receive the confirmation email, the reservation is all done.

    Pick-up:

    Go to your chosen branch, sign a few documents, and pay.

    Depart:

    After a thorough vehicle inspection, you are all done. Head for your destination with your car!

    When returning the car, you also don’t have anything to worry about since the return process is also simple!
    For more information on vehicles, rates, etc., visit NICONICO Rent a Car’s official website here.

    Using trains when traveling in the urban areas of Japan is quite convenient. But as shown above, depending on where you plan to go, other transportation methods such as cars might be more convenient. Choose the best mode of transportation depending on your purpose and the area you want to visit. Enjoy your trip and safe travels!