Should visitors rent a car in Tokyo?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Sandra Barron

There is no reason to rent a car on a trip to Tokyo. The city arguably has one of the cleanest, safest, most efficient public transportation systems in the world. For longer distances, no place makes it easier to get out of town on bullet trains. Taxis, while not inexpensive, are also some of the world’s finest, from the doors that open automatically to the white lace doilies on the seats.
Even if you are accustomed to driving on the left, learning the traffic signs is not a project to be undertaken lightly, not to mention dealing with emergency vehicles that broadcast instructions in Japanese from loudspeakers as they pass with sirens on. As you’re planning your trip, instead of thinking about renting, choose a hotel that gives you plenty to do within walking distance. If you’re in any of the major districts, this will be snap. And use the money you would have spent on a rental on a few decadent wee-hours taxi rides after the last train has already left!

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