By | 16th January 2018

Is it worth hiring a car in Tokyo?

Do you need a car in Tokyo > Should you rent a car in Tokyo Japan > Tokyo ( HND )

Why would you even want to consider getting a hire car in Tokyo? What about for getting out of the city, for example for visiting Mount Fuji?

Do you need a car in Tokyo? Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Just because there might be a huge amount of cars which are made in Japan, this really doesn’t give the visitor any reason to want to hire one when they get here. Tokyo really is the world’s ultimate rail city, with a huge number of subway lines supplemented by local commuter lines, express services and of course the amazing high-speed Shinkansen trains. Needless to say, with Tokyo-Yokohama being one of the world’s largest urban areas, there’s no point whatsoever in having a hire car to go anywhere in this region.

So the question then turns to whether or not it’s worth looking at a hire car to go anywhere else, and our answer is still no. For example, the most iconic image of Japan might be that of Mount Fuji with a high-speed bullet train passing below. To visit Mount Fuji properly, it’s really best to go in July and August when the slopes are available for hiking. Even at any other time during the year, local trains will get you close enough, and then buses will take you up to the edge of the mountain, but there is simply no point at all in having a car.

Why should you rent a car in Tokyo?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Tokyo?

Tokyo Car hire summary

Overall drive rating



Cheapest rate for one week




How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?





Free parking score

Total 900 - of which 17 have free parking. [full notes - parking]



  • Very few reasons to get a hire car in Tokyo.
  • Getting a hire car in Tokyo might be moderately useful for some sort of Japanese road trip. It really makes a lot more sense to look at doing this by train first, especially when various different Japan rail passes are available for your stay.
  • For suggested places for driving excursions further to the west, please see our Osaka car hire guide.
  • For a group of people travelling together, it will probably still be better value by car.
  • If you aren’t buying a Japan Rail pass of some kind, you will find the trains are prohibitively expensive.
  • Very limited long distance bus service in Japan. To go any distance, you will need to take a train.

Why not? Visiting Tokyo without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Tokyo public transport quick facts

Train score



Water travel score


Overall public transport score


Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)


  • Outstanding public transport – amongst the best in the world.
  • Huge range of options – from bus to light rail to monorail to subway and commuter rail.
  • An iconic trip by bullet train is an essential part of the Japanase visitor experience.
  • Buy a Japan rail pass to get the best value.

Is it worth hiring a car in Tokyo? Verdict – no, strong no


Car rental in - Tokyo Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Tokyo?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.

Is it worth hiring a car in Tokyo?

Based on value for money

Should you rent a car in Tokyo?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Tokyo if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?


Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Tokyo if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?


What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Tokyo if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?



Final score:


Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Would you hire a car in Tokyo?

Have you driven in Tokyo? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Tokyo?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:

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