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Billcoke

Self drive in Japan

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Planning to do a self drive in Japan. Any bro here have experience with rental cars?

 

I did some research, one of the recommended car rental is Times cars. http://www.timescar-rental.com/. Are there any other recommended car rental companies with help desk staffs that speak English.

 

Secondly, understand the Garmin GPS doesn't have maps for Japan, so need to use the GPS provided by the rental car. And they use map codes or phone numbers to locate your destinations. Will be my first time using map codes, care to share your experience?

 

I checked the map code here http://www.mapion.co.jp/, one of the draw back of using map codes is it doesn't give the exact location. Your destination could be off by 50-100m from the actual destination. Hence i'm a little worry here.

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I just did 6 days self drive covering about 1100km.

 

It's fun.

 

Use your iPhone Google map and have someone navigate for you on the smaller mountain roads cos the turns can be very abrupt. Rent from companies that has GPS in English.

 

Driving is generally stress free. Great etiquette all round once you get out of Toyko.

 

If you go into the mountains just chill and follow the car in front. Mostly single lane and no overtaking.

 

Enjoy.

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Planning to do a self drive in Japan. Any bro here have experience with rental cars?

 

I did some research, one of the recommended car rental is Times cars. http://www.timescar-rental.com/. Are there any other recommended car rental companies with help desk staffs that speak English.

 

Secondly, understand the Garmin GPS doesn't have maps for Japan, so need to use the GPS provided by the rental car. And they use map codes or phone numbers to locate your destinations. Will be my first time using map codes, care to share your experience?

 

I checked the map code here http://www.mapion.co.jp/, one of the draw back of using map codes is it doesn't give the exact location. Your destination could be off by 50-100m from the actual destination. Hence i'm a little worry here.

Where will you be driving?

 

Self drove in Hokkaido in July. Went with Toyota rentals. Think they are the few ones who knows how to speak English. I also got the express way pass. Its a one time payment so you don't need to pay the actual tolls. Will save you some bucks. One thing to note is the rental cost is based on the time and date you collect and return the car. I return mine 2 hrs before the stated time and got some money back. [thumbsup]

 

I rented their GPS (need to specify you need it in English) and backup with the google map on my hp (bought data sim there) as I can't find some of the map codes there (can't find a melon farm using the gps). :yuush:. Map codes do differ from different sources so note all of them down before travelling in case one of them does not work. Google map is still useful when you are walking around in the city. They are not cheap though. 2 weeks is about 35 SGD.

 

Accuracy is quite okay except one time the map direct me to go up a very steep and narrow road. Thinking its too dangerous, I detour and managed to get back on track. Other than that, not much issues. You can normally see signage way before reaching your destination. Another advice is to follow the tour buses when you are reaching your destination. They will show you the parking areas.

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Google Map is the way to go - the locals use it too. However, in certain rural areas in the mountains or valleys there may be weak or no 3G/LTE signals, so download the offline areas where you can, and use the in-car Japanese GPS (usually free) as back up if you can understand some basic Japanese - English GPS is usually a paid service.

 

In certain areas, you can also get a tourist expressway pass for a flat rate. You can also rent ETC to avoid paying cash. Otherwise, you can always pay cash despite the hassle - some segments of the expressways requires you to show your receipt to avoid duplicate payment, so keep the last one.

 

Learn to speak basic Japanese will help in every way - asking for directions, look for parking, filling petrol, buying food, etc. 

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Where will you be driving?

 

Self drove in Hokkaido in July. Went with Toyota rentals. Think they are the few ones who knows how to speak English. I also got the express way pass. Its a one time payment so you don't need to pay the actual tolls. Will save you some bucks. One thing to note is the rental cost is based on the time and date you collect and return the car. I return mine 2 hrs before the stated time and got some money back. [thumbsup]

 

I rented their GPS (need to specify you need it in English) and backup with the google map on my hp (bought data sim there) as I can't find some of the map codes there (can't find a melon farm using the gps). :yuush:. Map codes do differ from different sources so note all of them down before travelling in case one of them does not work. Google map is still useful when you are walking around in the city. They are not cheap though. 2 weeks is about 35 SGD.

 

Accuracy is quite okay except one time the map direct me to go up a very steep and narrow road. Thinking its too dangerous, I detour and managed to get back on track. Other than that, not much issues. You can normally see signage way before reaching your destination. Another advice is to follow the tour buses when you are reaching your destination. They will show you the parking areas.

 

You are right, finding car parks is a challenge. The signage are in Japanese, if park at the wrong place, can get fine.

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@bavarian can helps u

 

Thanks Genes.

 

Anyone here has experience in installing openstreet maps for Garmin? . I couldn't download gmapsupp.img needed for the Gamin GPS? where else can I download this file?

 

http://garmin.openstreetmap.nl/

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Planning to do a self drive in Japan. Any bro here have experience with rental cars?

 

I did some research, one of the recommended car rental is Times cars. http://www.timescar-rental.com/. Are there any other recommended car rental companies with help desk staffs that speak English.

 

Secondly, understand the Garmin GPS doesn't have maps for Japan, so need to use the GPS provided by the rental car. And they use map codes or phone numbers to locate your destinations. Will be my first time using map codes, care to share your experience?

 

I checked the map code here http://www.mapion.co.jp/, one of the draw back of using map codes is it doesn't give the exact location. Your destination could be off by 50-100m from the actual destination. Hence i'm a little worry here.

Just saw your thread on self drive in Japan. Perhaps you can provide us with more details like area you are travelling, time of travel and some itinenary etc.

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Just saw your thread on self drive in Japan. Perhaps you can provide us with more details like area you are travelling, time of travel and some itinenary etc.

 

 

Planning to do a self drive at Kyushu, Spring or Autumn.

 

Here is a general itinenary. 

 
Fukuoka
- Canal City Hakata
- Mt Inasa 
- Dazaifu Tenmangu
 
Nagasaki
- Kuchinotsu Port - Dolphin
- Car ferry, Shimabara Port to Kumamoto Port
 
Kagoshima
- Tenmonkan Shopping Street
- Saraku Sand Bath Hall
 
Sakurajima
- Car ferry, Kagoshima port to Sakurajima Port
- Arimura Lava Observatory
- Kurokami Buried Shrine Gate
 
 
Takachiho
- Takachiho Gorge
 
Beppu
- Hell Beppu
- Kintetsu Beppu Ropeway
- Takasakiyama Nature Zoo

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Planning to do a self drive at Kyushu, Spring or Autumn.

 

Here is a general itinenary.

 

Fukuoka

- Canal City Hakata

- Mt Inasa

- Dazaifu Tenmangu

 

Nagasaki

- Kuchinotsu Port - Dolphin

- Car ferry, Shimabara Port to Kumamoto Port

 

Kagoshima

- Tenmonkan Shopping Street

- Saraku Sand Bath Hall

 

Sakurajima

- Car ferry, Kagoshima port to Sakurajima Port

- Arimura Lava Observatory

- Kurokami Buried Shrine Gate

 

 

Takachiho

- Takachiho Gorge

 

Beppu

- Hell Beppu

- Kintetsu Beppu Ropeway

- Takasakiyama Nature Zoo

I have not done this route. But itis relavtively easy to drive in Japan as long as you stay away from the cities.

 

I usually use Time car rental or Nippon rent a car. They are pretty excellant. JR, Toyota and Nissan do car rentals too. If you are picking up from major tourist area, likelihood they will have an english speaking staff or even Chinese speaking. If small towns, then good luck, but there isn't really much to talk about anyway. Remember to ask fuel type. Usually it is 'reh-giu-ra'.

 

I see more and more English GPS, especially from popular tourist spots. They are easy to use and relatively accurate. Search by phone number and map code is straight forward. You might get a problem in town areas because everything is so close by. Other than that, it usually brings me right to the place or within 100m or so. Always rely on Mark 1 eyeball when you are that close. The GPS will give you 5 choices of route i.e Recommended, shortest, most expensive, least expensive etc.

 

Never used Garmin but I will back up car GPS with google map on iphone or better still, iPad. Wifi connection would be useful. Worked for me so far. If really, really kiasu, tourist maps can always be picked up at tourist info, hotel or train station. And you can buy really detailed ones for the area from convenience store.

 

Get updates on road information, closure and weather from their local websites daily. Especially if you are driving in the mountain area.

 

Spring and Autumm season might not have too much snow and ice but you might want to check the mountain areas again. Snow tyres are optional during this period and cost money.

 

Have a safe drive.

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I went during winter this year to Hokkaido and the roads

 

had snow and ice and I would not drive under these conditions.

 

So best is late spring or early autumn so no danger on driving on

 

slippery roads. The good thing is Japan people drive on the same

 

side of the road as us. I was driving in Korea and you should have seen

 

the shock on the drivers face when I forgot to turn into the correct lane.

 

I lost one pair of my favourite pants and underwear that day.

 

:D

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I went during winter this year to Hokkaido and the roads

 

had snow and ice and I would not drive under these conditions.

 

So best is late spring or early autumn so no danger on driving on

 

slippery roads. The good thing is Japan people drive on the same

 

side of the road as us. I was driving in Korea and you should have seen

 

the shock on the drivers face when I forgot to turn into the correct lane.

 

I lost one pair of my favourite pants and underwear that day.

 

:D

LoL. Snow, ice, sleet, slush and everything. Winter driving in Hokkdaido is an experience for SG drivers. Hokkdaido is much easier covered self drive. Just keep the distanct short and don't rush. Allow 2-3 times the time that google tells you. Even in autumm and spring, some areas will snow just becos they feel like it. Ice will form becos they feel like it. And mountain roads will close becos they feel like it too. Perfect.
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I have not done this route. But itis relavtively easy to drive in Japan as long as you stay away from the cities.

 

I usually use Time car rental or Nippon rent a car. They are pretty excellant. JR, Toyota and Nissan do car rentals too. If you are picking up from major tourist area, likelihood they will have an english speaking staff or even Chinese speaking. If small towns, then good luck, but there isn't really much to talk about anyway. Remember to ask fuel type. Usually it is 'reh-giu-ra'.

 

I see more and more English GPS, especially from popular tourist spots. They are easy to use and relatively accurate. Search by phone number and map code is straight forward. You might get a problem in town areas because everything is so close by. Other than that, it usually brings me right to the place or within 100m or so. Always rely on Mark 1 eyeball when you are that close. The GPS will give you 5 choices of route i.e Recommended, shortest, most expensive, least expensive etc.

 

Never used Garmin but I will back up car GPS with google map on iphone or better still, iPad. Wifi connection would be useful. Worked for me so far. If really, really kiasu, tourist maps can always be picked up at tourist info, hotel or train station. And you can buy really detailed ones for the area from convenience store.

 

Get updates on road information, closure and weather from their local websites daily. Especially if you are driving in the mountain area.

 

Spring and Autumm season might not have too much snow and ice but you might want to check the mountain areas again. Snow tyres are optional during this period and cost money.

 

Have a safe drive.

 

Thanks for reminding on the fuel type, I often oversight this for road trips.

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Thanks for reminding on the fuel type, I often oversight this for road trips.

I forget 101 things every trip... especially that 12vcar charger

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I forget 101 things every trip... especially that 12vcar charger

 

101 things to remember for road trips.

 

1. Ask for fuel type

2. 12 V car charger

 

Question:

---------

1. For ETC cards on highway, do they have unlimited usage for a flat fee? Aussie car rental has unlimited usage.

2. For parking, payment in cash at parking machines or payment with ETC cards like SG's cash cards?

 

3. Does this parking sign mean paid parking for 60mins, from 8:00 to 20:00?

120px-Japan_road_sign_318_svg.png

 

4. For car insurance, does Time or Nippon Car Rental offer full insurance package? package including excess and co payment. 

Edited by Billcoke

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101 things to remember for road trips.

 

1. Ask for fuel type

2. 12 V car charger

 

Question:

---------

1. For ETC cards, do they have unlimited usage for a flat fee?

2. For parking, do they pay in cash at parking machines or payment with ETC cards like SG's cash cards cards?

 

3. Does this parking sign mean paid parking for 60mins, from 8:00 to 20:00?

120px-Japan_road_sign_318_svg.png

Someone mentioned got flat fee for ETC charges but I dun rmb that, maybe different region, companies. The Expressway tolls are calculated by mileage and are pretty expensive. Their ETC card is similar to our ERP but you can always opt to pay by cash at Expressways (which I usually do). Some car companies charge extra if you use their ETC.

 

Anyway, their national highway (国道), means normal roads i.e non-expressway. So be careful wih those as they can lead you to the most ulu places if you try to save on the tolls (which happens to me alot).

 

Parking is old school cash. Parking charges can be exorbitant in town area if you manage to find one. I don't recommend driving around town.

 

Not sure what that sign means but most of the time it is not a major problem. It's just like watching JAV, you dun haf to understand what they are saying but you figure out anyway.

 

Yes, they will ask if you want to insure your insurance at the counter usually.

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