Re: CAN I RENT A CAR IN OKINAWA
No, you can't. In order to rent and drive a car in Japan, a Japanese driver's license or an international driving permit is required. In the case of French, German and Swiss nationals an official translation of your home country's driver's license is accepted.
International driving permits must be obtained in your home country, usually through the national automobile association, before you leave for Japan. Foreigners can drive in Japan with a recognized international driving permit for up to one year after entering the country.
Japan recognizes only international driving permits which are based on the Geneva Convention of 1949. A few countries, including Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland, however, issue international driving permits which are based on different conventions. Those permits are not valid in Japan.
Most of the car rental companies in Okinawa are located at Naha Airport or send shuttles buses there to pick up customers and bring them to their shop locations near the airport. There are also a number of car rental companies near Omoromachi Station in the Shintoshin shopping area at the Duty Free Shop.
The procedure for renting the car is quite simple. First just go up to the counter and choose the class of car you wish to rent and let them know for how many days. They will ask you to show your international license or Japanese license and ID such as passport or alien registration card (gaikokujin touroku-sho). You will then be asked to sign a rental contract and the staff will take you to your car for a brief inspection.
Some car rental companies in Okinawa include The Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) in the price and others add it as an additional fee. Generally it costs around 1,600 JPY per rental and must be paid up front. The LDW is mandatory by car rental companies, please remember it is not insurance. Its purpose is to free renters of financial responsibility if the car is damaged or stolen while under rental contract. Using the vehicle in violation of any of the user restrictions listed on the rental agreement could void LDW and leave the renter fully responsible for any damage to the vehicle.
One thing, if you are getting in on a late flight, the rental counter will be closed. I think they close about 8pm so you may have to come back to the airport in the morning to pick up your car.
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