Self-drive or public transport?
Japan’s impressive and extensive railway & bus networks which connect the various prefectures together might prove to be a challenge for some. In contrast with the Japanese culture, majority of the tourists and local residents traveling to other parts of the world would make use of roads instead of railways / buses as the main means of transportation.
Now that our customized itinerary is prepared and completed, how do we decide whether a private rented car or public transport would best suit our travel?
Use public transportation in the main cities of Japan & drive a car in the outskirts of the cities
If you have decided to travel to the main cities of Japan, the best option is to actually use public transportation. Major cities such as Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya and Tokyo have invested massive amounts of money in creating a dense and convenient railway infrastructure for its citizens and tourists. In fact, most stations in big cities are usually connected several different train lines, you can thus have many options for routes / destinations to select from.
However, public transportation is deemed inconvenient or infrequent in the outskirts or countryside, and most people rely on cars to navigate around. Driving rental cars in Japan is recommended for the disabled and those who want to not walk only to the main attraction spots. Most train stations have elevators and escalators, be prepared that some smaller ones may only have regular stairs available or require you to walk longer distances to reach the elevator exit.
What are the requirements to drive a car in Japan?
Foreigners can drive in Japan with an International Driving Permit (IDP) based on the 1949 Geneva Convention for a maximum of one year. As international driving permits are not issued in Japan, you could obtain yours from your home country in advance through the National Automobile Association for a small fee. Click here for more information from Automobile Association of Singapore.
Be rest assured that driving in Japan is not as difficult as it seems with the language barrier and foreign driving rules. Our experienced Travel Consultants will be able to better advise you by providing you with an itinerary with map-codes included based on your preferences and requirements!