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I used a short-term car rental (Car2Go) on my last trip, it's very convenient for short drives or in areas with sparse public transportation. I'm wondering if there's a similar service in Japan that's available to foreigners (assuming I have an IdP, which is required there).

To make this question more specific, I'm looking for service in semi-urban to rural areas, like a suburb or a medium-sized town, particularly the north of Honshu.

If you're unfamiliar with Car2Go, it's a fleet of small cars parked across a service area and you can rent one from a few minutes to a day. You pick it up from anywhere and drop it off anywhere in the zone, and the car unlocks with a phone app.

  • Try JR Rent-a-Car, which allows you to ride and drive! There are many stations where you can pick your car up, and I'm sure some of them will work for you. – xuq01 May 7 at 21:18
  • @xuq01 Ekiren is a regular rental service, not a carshare system. – jpatokal May 7 at 22:07
  • Can the downvoter please explain? – blackbird May 8 at 1:03
  • @jpatokal I understand the question as that the OP wants a convenient short-term car rental system, but not necessarily carshare. The OP can correct me iif my understanding is wrong. – xuq01 May 8 at 21:34
  • @xuq01 It can be an option (go ahead and add it as an answer!), but they definitely don't cater to rentals of a "few minutes" and cars can only be rented from and returned to participating train stations. – jpatokal May 8 at 22:32
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Yes, ORIX offers a Car2Go-style car share/short term rental system. The service is Japanese only, but here's a detailed English blog about it: https://bestlivingjapan.com/japan-carshare-orix/

While you don't need a Japanese license, it does require signing up in advance and receiving a dedicated card by mail for unlocking cars (no phone apps here), so it's not great for short-term visitors to Japan.

  • Does it require that I have a permanent address in Japan or can I sign up, mail it to a friend there and pick it up on arrival? – blackbird May 8 at 14:23
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    @blackbird Any address where you can receive mail will do. – jpatokal May 8 at 20:56

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