Nagano, the capital of Nagano prefecture, is located in Japan’s Chubu district. Originally, a temple city, housing the legendary temple of Zenkō-ji, it developed to a marketing town and is now an important business centre for electrical machinery, food-processing plus printing and publishing industries. 1998 Winter Olympic Games were hosted in Nagano. Various Olympic facilities are still kept open, making it an admired destination of indoor sports enthusiasts. It is also the starting point for sky resorts in the neighboring mountains, frequently called as “the Japanese Alps”. Nagano Prefecture is essentially positioned in the middle of Japan, encircled by 3000-meter tall mountains on all sides, making it nicknamed as the “Roof of Japan”.
Nagano is easily accessible from Tokyo and Nagoya by rail and road. Bullet trains from Tokyo take nearly ninety minutes for reaching Nagoya. There are 2/3 trains every hour. The tracks for this train were completed just before starting of Winter Olympics. There are also hourly trains running from Nagoya and taking three hours to reach Nagano. You may also travel by bus from Tokyo. That will take about three and half hours to reach Nagano. On renting a car in Tokyo, you may drive down to Nagano, 152 miles away. It’ll take you about three hours to reach destination.
Should you decide to go for car rental in Nagano, here are the important driving rules and tips:
Cars drive on the left side of road.
You should be over 18 years of age and carry a valid International Driving Permit and your passport.
Usual speed limits for driving on expressways are 80-100 Km/hr and you’ll need to pay toll for driving on expressways.
Many gas stations are closed at night, though some are open and a few provide self service but in Japanese. So, get your tank filled during the day.
Details on Car rental in Nagano
Well, like any other Japanese town, you’ll find Nagano with a number of companies offering car rental in Nagano. There are local as well some international companies like Budget and Europcar providing this service. They are spread all over the city and locating one is not difficult. They are just about as expensive as car renting in Nagoya. You’ll need to rent a car in Nagano if you want to explore its neighborhood. To rent a car in Japan is usually unnecessary and rather a burden for exploring its big cities wherein traffic is heavy, parking tiresome and expensive and orientation is difficult. All this goes to make public transportation like buses, trains and taxis more desirable. Prominent companies that offer car rental in Nagano comprise of Nippon Rentacar, Orix Rentacar, Toyota Rentacar, Times Car Rental (earlier name Mazda Rentacar) and Nissan Rentacar. However, the online reservation system of most such companies is not in English, though few have just started offering the same in English. International car rental companies like Avis, Budget and Hertz do offer online bookings in English. But these companies only have a tie up with one or more local companies and rarely operate outlets of their own. As a result, their prices don’t remain competitive. Typical rental for a compact car is 7500 yen/day while for a full sized car it goes to 10,000 yen/day. These prices are inclusive of unlimited mileage, mandatory minimum insurance fee and taxes. Cars need to be returned with full tank. Drop off facility to nearby areas is offered by some but not all. Usually, payments are made by credit card and at times in cash.