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Driving in Japan

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Jan 25th, 2012, 05:33 PM
  #1
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Driving in Japan

I am planning a road trip in Japan in late March for myself, my husband and my son, who is currently working in Japan. We have 9 days and plan to go from Kofu (in Yamanshi) to Takayama to Shirakawa to Kanazawa (and the Noto peninsula) to Kyoto and Nara. From Nara we will head straight back to Kofu. We are using my son's car but I am wodering about the cost of tolls and gas. Ant estimates? Also, our hotel in Kyoto does not have onsite parking...are there parking lots where we can leave the car for 2 days? We will be staying not too far from Nijo Castle. Thanks.
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Jan 25th, 2012, 06:41 PM
  #2
 
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If your son's car is equipped with ETC, then you can save on tolls, as much as 50% depending on when you are using the highway. No ETC you pay full price. Nara to Kanazawa full price is about ¥8000 if i remember correctly.

Gasoline is currently ¥149/liter in Kanazawa for high octane. Regular is is about ¥10/liter less.

Plenty of parking in Kyoto, but usually not cheap. Ask at your hotel where to park, as even if they don't have their own, they often have a contract with a nearby parking lot and have discounted rates for their guests.

Late March can still bring snow in Ishikawa, so be prepared with snow tires, especially as you are headed to S-go....and don't miss Gokayama. In the last 12 hours, it has snowed 35 cm in downtown Kanazawa! First big snow this year.
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Jan 26th, 2012, 04:46 AM
  #3
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Thanks, I appreciate all the info, I will pack boots!
What is an ETC? Also, my husband wants to help with the driving, do you know if we need to put him on my sons insurance and if we can do that for just a month?
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Jan 26th, 2012, 07:08 AM
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While Kim is still sleeping, I will leave you this site that explains what an ETC card is in Japan. Basically it's a credit card for use at the toll plazas of the Japan freeway systems.

http://www.go-etc.jp/english/cards/index.html

Your husband will need an International Drivers License(you can easily get at any AAA in the States) to drive legally in Japan. Don't know if your sons insurance policy would cover authorized casual drivers, mine does here in the States, maybe you should check with him to see if its covered in his policy.

You will there at a good time if at the ending of March as this will be start of the Sakura(cherry blossom)season in Kyoto.

Aloha!
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Jan 26th, 2012, 01:16 PM
  #5
 
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Good answers fromd commercial HT. insurance does not usually cover drivers outside of the household but commercial vehicles may be different. As a rule no one drives another person's car. It wouldn't hurt to ask his agent. When I asked mine the very same question the answer was not covered and could not be added. But yours could be different.
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Jan 26th, 2012, 04:01 PM
  #6
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Thank you. You have both been very helpful. Looks like I have a bit more homework to do.
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Jan 26th, 2012, 09:11 PM
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"commercial HT" is a result of typing on iPhone in the dark when sleepy....
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