Is it possible to rent a car and drive in Tokyo? I know that's possible in Hokkaido, but is that not possible for Tokyo?
Of course it is possible but there is absolutely no reason to do that. The public transportation system is superb in Tokyo. Finding parking and paying for parking at hotels and during the day would be a waste of time and money.
Driving in Tokyo is more of a pain than convenience. There is a lot of traffic throughout most of the daylight hours on weekdays. Navigating the streets is not easy if you don't know where you are going even using the car's GPS. Parking is expensive. All things considered, taking trains/subways are cheaper and more efficient by far.
Are you willing to pay ¥500 per 30-mins of parking in the city?
A street parking meter is Y300 per hour or find "Times" type, they have max rate. Shop's customer can get free parking or discount parking ticket.
Driving in central Tokyo is convenient and cheaper than taking mix public transportation -- 2 km walk or get local bus to the station from house + private company line to get Shinjuku/Shibuya + subway to get Ginza, Odaiba.... But this story is for locals who have own car.
It's possible to do self drive in Tokyo, but perhaps it will be costly to do by a rental car. If you drive, please do not drive Syuto-kosoku = central loop highway if you don't know Tokyo road well. You will get nervous and easy to "make" accident; You need to change lanes many times in shortly and quickly.
Where would you like to go? If you like to go to Okutama area in Tokyo, rent-a-car is really nice!
It's worth it to do it in Tokyo only if you are renting a super car like the GT-R at 35,000yen day use.
Its entirely possible, but not the most practical. Its great to have a car to go shopping, but for site seeing not really necessary.
I drive everywhere in Tokyo, rarely take public transport, particularly in the mornings. Central Tokyo really is quite compact and there are more parking lots now than there use to be due to land use laws.
Actually, I would recommend you do try driving on the Tokyo expressways for a true Blade Runner type experience. A drive out to Gotemba and Mt Fuji area via the Tomei would be fun.
Nissan Rent a Car is one of the better rental agencies.
I think it's a case of locals vs visitors. I can drive in a busy city like Hong Kong everyday without a problem because I know all the roads, the traffic patterns, laws, typical driver behavior, and where to park my car. However, for people who are just visitors, driving in central Tokyo is likely going to be extremely inefficient and frustrating. I once rented a car near Tokyo Station. Despite having a GPS, due to the timing delays (especially in a city with skyscrapers), I missed the same turn two times in a row despite circling back. The GPS also told me to make an illegal turn across three lanes of oncoming traffic that I happily did not follow. At the end, it took me an hour to get through the traffic out of the city.
On the way back from Nikko, my destination was my hotel at Shinjuku and the plan was to check-in before dropping the car off near Tokyo station. The traffic started building up at Omiya so it took me a long time to get to Shinjuku. Once I got there, the various roads were again so confusing that I spend at least 30 to 45 minutes in dense traffic circling Shinjuku and still couldn't get to the front of my hotel which was just two blocks away. Finally having accomplished the difficult task of checking-in, it took me another 30 minutes to drop the car off. After that experience, I always recommend visitors to rent outside Tokyo because they will end up saving time and not spending anymore money on train rides to Odawara or Omiya to pick up the rental car.
For short term visitors in Tokyo, I think public transport is the best option. It's cheaper, quicker and stress-free. The only "drawback" is you have to walk a bit more.
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