So again we’re heading to Japan next month, which is obviously not our first time in the country, but for this trip we decided to do something different, and rent a car instead of travelling by Japan’s otherwise fantabulous public transport system. I’ll be going to Hokkaido, where a large portion of the island is uninhabited and certain areas can only be reached by car. Fortunately, a friend introduced me to Tabirai, which is a Japanese car rental website geared towards foreigners. The website, which is entirely in English, seems pretty user-friendly, so I decided to give it a go. So Tabirai’s website is all in English and is easy to navigate for first-timers like myself, and I managed to rent myself a compact car for 32,500JPY.
Once the online reservation form is filled in and confirmed, the rental is guaranteed. The best part is, you do not need to pay a single cent until you get your car from the company/meeting place on the pick up date! There is no need for long-winded member registrations either, and I don’t even have to provide my credit card information at the time of reservation.
Tabirai recommends payment using credit cards, which I am really happy about (because I haven’t gotten down to changing JPY yet…). Cancellations are a breeze as well. All I have to do if I want to cancel my rental is just log in to the Reservation Information Box on the website using the ID and password found in the email from Tabirai, and send a message to Tabirai. (Note that cancellations are only free up to 7 days prior to the reservation date.)
For clueless tourists like me, Tabirai offers guaranteed installation of an English-speaking car navigation system. Compared to other rival companies, Tabirai’s prices are more reasonable (think $500 for a week compared to $1000), and its cars are all from major rental companies. I also found that Tabirai’s price display was easy to understand – basic insurance, collision damage waiver, English GPS and consumption tax were included in the total price. However, it is also important to note that NOC compensation insurance (insurance from individual car rental companies) is optional and can be added on on the date of car rental.
On the whole, I must say I am impressed with the ease and convenience of Tabirai’s website and service. Looking forward to my trip in less than a month’s time!
Here are a few links on car rentals in Japan for first-timers:
Another great aspect about renting a car is you’re able to demo a car that you might like to own in the future. If you do decide that you like your rental car and you’re planning on selling your old car you can use a service like Junk That Car to sell it without all of the hassles.