Driving in Japan can be a convenient way to explore the country, especially if you want to visit destinations off the beaten path. Here's what you need to know about driving in Japan:
Driving Side: Japan drives on the left side of the road, similar to the UK and Australia.
Road Conditions: Japan boasts a well-maintained road network with smooth and efficient highways, even in rural areas. Roads are usually in excellent condition.
Traffic Rules: Japan has strict traffic rules and enforces them rigorously. Speed limits are clearly marked and are usually 40-50 km/h in urban areas, 60-100 km/h on highways, and 80 km/h on expressways. Seat belts are mandatory for all passengers, and the use of mobile phones while driving without a hands-free device is prohibited.
Parking: Finding parking in major cities, especially Tokyo, can be challenging and expensive. Look for paid parking lots or park-and-ride facilities outside the city center.
International Driving Permit: If you plan to drive in Japan, you'll need an International Driving Permit (IDP), which can be obtained in your home country before your trip. It's required along with your regular driver's license.
Public Transportation: Japan has an extensive and efficient public transportation system, including trains, subways, and buses. In many cities, using public transportation may be more convenient than driving, especially during peak hours.
As for where you can go, Japan offers a diverse range of destinations:
Tokyo: Japan's bustling capital is a must-visit for its vibrant culture, historic temples, and modern skyscrapers.
Kyoto: Known for its traditional architecture, serene temples, and beautiful gardens.
Hiroshima: Visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum and explore the historic city.
Osaka: A food lover's paradise with a vibrant nightlife scene.
Hokkaido: Japan's northernmost island is known for its stunning landscapes, including national parks and hot springs.
Kyushu: The southern island offers historic sites, volcanoes, and beautiful coastlines.
Nara: Home to friendly deer and ancient temples.
Nagasaki: Known for its European influences and beautiful harbor.
Okinawa: A tropical paradise with beautiful beaches and unique culture.
Japanese Alps: Ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, offering hiking, skiing, and hot springs.
Before driving in Japan, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the specific rules of the road and plan your routes in advance. With careful preparation, you can enjoy a memorable road trip through Japan's diverse and captivating landscapes.
Where to pick-up car hire in Japan
Facts about Japan
- Whilst it doesn’t look it on a map, Japan is made up of nearly seven thousand islands.
- The metropolitan area of Tokyo has the largest population in the world at over thirty million people.
- The Japanese name for Japan translates as ‘Nippon’.
- The country has the highest life expectancy in the world.
- Only Singapore has a lower murder rate than Japan.
- Splashing a pedestrian with your car is not allowed and you may receive a fine. - See Weird Driving Laws
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