The Ultimate JDM Driving Fun in Japan
Whether you were first exposed to the world of JDM (Japan Domestic Market) cars with the Fast and the Furious franchise, or at SEMA or Initial D manga, chances are you’ve always dreamed of driving an R34 GTR or NSX or Evo VII or RX7 or original 86. Well, the greatest thing since sliced bread is now available in Japan and as a foreigner you can rent and drive the legendary JDMs up the hills of Mt. Fuji or on the streets of Tokyo. Two rental car companies specializes in JDM rentals near Tokyo, Japan. They are: The Fun2Drive rental in foothills of Hakone, and Omoshiro Rent-a-car headquartered in Noda, Chiba as well as a branch at Narita Airport.
These rental car companies offer once-in-a-life-time experience with some of the most sought after JDMs on the planet. Now, in most instances, renting a car in Japan is usually not necessary. Unlike the United States, driving is often not the most convenient means of transportation in Tokyo. Public rail systems and subway networks criss-cross the city and virtually anywhere you’d want to visit in Japan. There is either a train, bus, or ferry to take you there. Plus, rail tickets like Japan Rail Pass issued by the JR is a very cost effective way to get around Tokyo and beyond (by Shinkansen or bullet train).
But you are not here to hear a pitch about the ubiquitous and punctual public transportation system of Japan. You are here to drive fast Japanese cars of your dream, so let me share what those two rental-a-JDM store offers you!
Fun2Drive is a rental car company based in Hakone. It’s at the foothills of Mt Fuji and along the Japan National Route 138, a major two-lane highway connecting Fujiyoshida in Yamanashi with Odawara in Kanagawa prefecture. Directions to the rental car can be found here on their official website, but in short, you will need to get to Hakone by either an Odakyu Hakone bus straight from Shinjuku, or take the bullet train from Tokyo to Odawara station, then take a bus towards Hakone.
There are two types of programs a renter can participate. There are three English guided tours available each varying in its length and areas where the tour takes you. The “Ultimate Hakone Drive” will give you 4 hours of drive time across Hakone, and includes the famous Nagao Touge featured in Initial D fifth stage. Prices range with the car you rent, but renting Nissan GT-R BNR32 starts at 36,980 yen (approximately $350 USD) and can go all the way to 100,000 yen (about $1000 USD) if you choose the latest Honda NSX. To participate in the tour, you need to have the proper driving license (so for tourists, a proper copy of your country’s driver’s license), a copy of International Driver’s Permit, and your passport (which will be held by the office during your rental). There is no age restriction for you to rent unlike the non-tour rental.
Alternatively, you can also simply rent you favorite JDM from your dream to drive wherever you’d like. In this instance, there is no instant confirmation of your rental, and must be requested through this form. In addition to the same requirements as you saw with the tour option, you will also need to be over 26 years of age, proof of employment (I’d recommend your most recent pay stub), and a membership fee of 1080 yen. Also, you need to have a credit card with over 6000 dollars of credit line and take a 30 minute driving lesson before you can enjoy. But those are probably small price to pay to drive your dream JDMs like GTR R34 or Lancer Evo X.
Omoshiro Rent-a-car, or Omoren as it’s known in Japanese, is a rental car business specialized in renting unique and exotic cars. They have several offices across the greater Tokyo area, but its two biggest offices are Noda headquarters and Narita Airport office. Accessing either Noda office or Narita Airport office take about 90 minutes by train from the hotel. Unlike the Fun2Drive location, Omoren does not offer a custom tour with an English guide, but does share a couple of routes that you can go for depending on the number of hours you are renting.
The selection of rental car and its prices vary depending on the rental office so be sure to get a head start on reserving the car of your choice as soon as you know you are coming to Japan. There are 58 cars to rent at their head office ranging from late 90’s Toyota Supra to Civic Type-R to the latest R35 GTR. Prices are also relatively reasonable with some short rentals (6 hours) on non-supercars starting at around 6000 yen; although cars like the R34 GTR will cost you over 30,000 yen per 24 hours of rental.
Instructions on how to go about reserving your car can be found on their website. Unlike Fun2Drive, you can see the inventory and vehicle availability straight from their website and can confirm your reservation as well as make payments via credit card. Similar to Fun2Drive, you will need an International Driver’s Permit along with your local driver’s license and passport. Additionally, you must be over the age of 23 to rent the car and have experience in driving stick shift cars. During the check-in process, you will need your credit card that you made the reservation as well as pay collision damage waivers and other fees (some optional). You can rent from Noda location (how to get there from hotel) or Narita Airport location.
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The Ultimate JDM Driving Fun in Japan
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