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Navigating the Challenges of Renting a Car for Rural Travel in Japan

  • News
  • May. 24, 2024

Traveling in rural areas of Japan presents unique challenges, particularly in terms of transportation. As a platform specializing in rural tourism, ThoughINAKA frequently encounters these issues with our guests. We often recommend renting a car as the most convenient way to reach remote destinations. However, this process can be daunting, especially for those who do not speak Japanese.

The Language Barrier in Car Rentals
Renting a car in Japan can be quite challenging if you are not proficient in Japanese. Many rental counter staff may not speak English, making communication difficult. To address this, ThoughINAKA offers assistance to our guests by facilitating the car rental process. Our local guides help with booking and paperwork at the rental counters, ensuring a smooth experience.

Understanding Japanese Traffic Signs
One of the critical issues we’ve observed is the lack of knowledge about Japanese traffic signs among foreign drivers. Some traffic signs are only in Japanese, and important instructions, such as “Stop,” can be easily missed if not understood. For example, certain road markings indicating a mandatory stop are written in Japanese, which can lead to accidents if overlooked.

Recommendations for Safe Driving
To ensure our guests have a safe and enjoyable driving experience in Japan, we strongly recommend the following:

Familiarize Yourself with Japanese Traffic Rules: Before arriving in Japan, review the traffic rules and signs. Resources such as the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) provide valuable information in English.

Use GPS Navigation: Most rental cars come equipped with GPS. Make sure it is set to English to help navigate unfamiliar roads.

Learn Basic Japanese Phrases: Understanding a few key phrases can be beneficial, especially for reading signs and communicating with locals.

Seek Assistance from ThoughINAKA: For guests booking through ThoughINAKA, we provide comprehensive support for car rentals, including help with paperwork and on-the-ground assistance from our local guides.

Driving in Japan’s rural areas offers the freedom to explore beautiful landscapes at your own pace. However, it is crucial to be prepared for the challenges. By familiarizing yourself with local traffic rules and utilizing available resources, you can ensure a safe and pleasant journey. Should you need any assistance with traveling or renting cars in Japan, ThoughINAKA is here to help.

For more information and assistance, please contact us.