5 Things You Should Know About Traveling Through Japan by Car

Car travel in Japan can be a pretty harrowing experience if you're not quite ready for it. There's a completely different car culture in Japan, and as a foreign driver, trying to navigate the roads for the first time can come as something of a pretty stressful shock. There are a ton of new rules, customs, and mores to internalize, and it can be a little overwhelming when you're just trying to have a vacation, see some sights, and get from point A to point B. Thankfully, getting around in a place like Japan doesn't have to be as complicated as it might seem at times, and we're going to talk about a few really easy strategies that can help you make sense of a confusing and different way of driving.

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1. Pay Cash for Gas. One of the hugest "yen traps," as it were, is the gas pump. There are a ton of ways that the unsuspecting tourist can wind up spending a lot more money than is necessary on the petrol you're going to need just to get where you're going, and if you know how to pay cash for your gas you'll be able to save some money. A lot of the gas stations in Japan have memberships that allow you to pay gas and receive a discount -- join. It usually only takes a moment, and those savings add up.

2. Shop for Gas, Too. Driving in a foreign country is confusing, but that doesn't mean you have to stop for gas the first time you see a station just because you aren't sure as to whether or not you can find a better deal. In Japan, it's smarter to shop around -- if prices are being advertised, you're likely to be able to find a good deal, and gas prices vary from locale to locale. You'll save money in the long run if you wait a little while and make the smartest purchase possible.

3. Get a Highway Card. Toll roads are the other huge yen drain when you're out and about in Japan are the many tolls that you'll find yourself up against when you navigate the highway system. It can be confusing, and
having to scramble for cash every time can definitely become a chore. Get yourself a highway card so you can keep these transactions digital and even save a few bucks in the process.

4. Use Maps. Vigilantly. Another great way to avoid ridiculous highway tolls on a regular basis is to make sure you're finding the absolute best way to get from Point A to Point B. Use a map system or even paper maps to find the best way to your destination and by spending a little bit of extra time doing so you'll be able to make sure you get there cheaply and quickly. Neither traffic nor tolls are any fun.

5. Take Advantage of Service Areas. Service areas in Japan usually have big TV monitors that will give you vital information about your trip, like road conditions and how long certain destinations will take to reach. If you're needing info, this is a smart way to get it. There are a ton of ways to save money in another country, from discount online insurance quotes to local tips and strategies -- these will help you get around Japan without spending a fortune or losing your mind.

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