You need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in Japan. IDPs are available from the American Automobile Association. These international permits, valid only in conjunction with your regular driver's license, are universally recognized; having one may save you a problem with local authorities. Drivers must be 18 years of age. Driving is on the left, and bear in mind that this adjustment may be difficult for some drivers.

Car-rental rates in Tokyo begin at around ¥5,500 a day and ¥35,00 a week, including tax, for an economy car with unlimited mileage. You should return the car with a full tank of gas.


There is little on-street parking in Japan. Parking is usually in staffed parking lots or in parking towers within buildings. Expect to pay upward of ¥300 per hour. Parking regulations are strictly enforced, and illegally parked vehicles are towed away. Recovery fees start at ¥30,000 and increase hourly.

Road Conditions

Roads in Japan are often narrower than those in the United States, but they're well maintained in general. Driving in cities can be troublesome, as there are many narrow, one-way streets and little in the way of English road signs except on major arteries. Japanese drivers stick to the speed limit, but widely ignore bans on mobile phone use and dashboard televisions.

Previous Travel Tip


Next Travel Tip

Public Transport

Trending Stories


Find a Hotel


Fodor's Tokyo: with Side Trips to Mt. Fuji, Hakone, and Nikko

View Details