- Updated: November 2019
As many people drive in Okinawa, driving a car is a general form of transportation. Since you won’t be bound by time to freely go to places you’d like, it is popular among those with children or those travelling in groups. Most plans have a shuttle service included, so once you reserve it in advance, you won’t get lost. There is a wide range of plans and car rental companies to choose from. There are also travel packages that include car rentals, so you can rent a car based on your preferred travel style.
Car rental companies will pick you up at the main entrance of the domestic terminal lobby and bring you to their agencies. Not all car rental companies are permitted to enter the low-cost carrier terminal, so please be sure to check with the company in advance.
*The travel times are estimates. They may vary considerably depending on traffic, road, and weather conditions.
The expressway in Okinawa is an attractive option because it offers discounted rates!
The expressway offers smooth traveling from Naha to the resorts in Central Okinawa compared to local roads that are prone to traffic jams.
Toll booths that accept cash may get congested during certain hours when utilizing the expressway, but you can get through smoothly using ETC. ETC is an attractive system, as it also offers discounts during designated hours. Save money on your trip.
Many of the coin parking lots in Okinawa feature locking plates installed in the parking spaces. After you park, the locking plate automatically rises and locks the car in place. When leaving the lot and paying the fee, you use the fare machine installed in the parking lot. Entering your parking number into the fare machine automatically calculates your fee, and once the displayed amount is paid, the locking plate keeping the car in place descends. Return to your car, confirm that the locking plate has descended, and immediately leave the lot.
In Japan, vehicles drive on the left side of the road and are right-hand drive. If this differs from your country, be careful when driving.
In Japan, the law stipulates that a driver must use a child seat when driving with a child less than six years of age. If this applies to you, install a child seat appropriate for your child’s age and physique. The various rental car companies offer lending services, but the fees and arrangement differ, so be sure to confirm when making your reservation.
One of the things to be aware of when driving in Okinawa are the bus lanes. Common vehicles including car rentals are prohibited from driving in these lanes during rush hours in the morning and evening for the purpose of relieving traffic and ensuring that buses remain on schedule. The hours vary by area, so please be sure to check before renting a car.
When driving in Japan, one of the following types of licenses is required. Be sure to confirm beforehand and complete the necessary procedures. When driving in Japan, your own country’s license may be required as well, so be sure to bring it with you.
- A Japanese driver’s license (for persons residing in Japan)
- U.S. Forces, Japan Operator’s Permit for Civilian Vehicle
- Passport + An international driving permit based on the Convention on Road Traffic (Geneva Convention) + Driver’s license from their respective country
- Persons with a driver’s license issued in Switzerland, Slovenia, Germany, France, Belgium, Monaco, or Taiwan also require a Passport + Driver’s license from their respective country + An original Japanese translation of the license. (The Japanese translation must be from the embassy or consulate in Japan of the respective country, JAF (Japan Automobile Federation), or the East Asia Relations Commission.)
*In regards to 3 and 4, please have these documents prepared in advance in your respective country.
*4 Referring countries are subject to change.