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Self Drive Advice 2019/11/1 10:30
Hi my family of 4 will be travelling to Japan, namely Hakone & Tokyo in June 2020.

My plan is to rent a car from the airport and drive straight to Hakone. However, am unsure if I should opt to return the car in the traffic congested Shinjuku area or return it at Odawara Station the take a train to Shinjuku.

The cost for returning the car at either location is about the same, just not sure how congested is the traffic in Shinjuku area during off peak period.

Thank so much in advance for all the advice!
by seasonbarley  

Re: Self Drive Advice 2019/11/1 13:13
I'm a Japanese resident who have been driving in Greater Tokyo for more than 25 years, and I dare not drive in central Tokyo such as Shinjuku, because the traffic is tricky. In fact, I try not to travel a distance as long as airport to Hakone. Additionally, a lot of Tokyo-ites don't even bother to obtain driver's licenses, because (A) driving is stressful in Tokyo, (B) parking is costly and (C) public transportation is convenient.

So if you must chose between Shinjuku and Odawara, I would definitely suggest Odawara. And I hope you're used to driving on the left side of the road as well as narrow mountain roads, and have studied the Japanese traffic signs and rules. Otherwise, I would suggest renting your car at Odawara or just hiring a taxi for a day at Hakone.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Self Drive Advice 2019/11/1 17:46
Driving around Japan can have some great advantages of being able to visit things which are off the beaten track. It can also be absolute torture by 1000 cuts.

If you have to hire a car - I would catch a train to Odawara and then hire a car. I know this adds extra cost but it will be painful and potentially highly time consuming to drive from Narita.

Another question to ask is what are you going to do at Hakone and where are you going to park?

Hakone has good public transport links but is also busy, hilly with windy roads. Parking is also limited which is something to highly consider.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

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