Do I need a car?
Japan has an impressive and extensive railway network that connects each of its prefectures. Tokyo is an example of a city with a super convenient public transportation system. In its most popular regions, you can find a station every 300 or 400 meters. For those reasons, your best option is to actually use public transportation, being it mainly trains and subway. You absolutely do not need a car to tour in Tokyo and around.
Easy to use public transportation
Tokyo is connected through several different subway and train lines, so you can have many options for routes and destinations to choose from. Virtually all of the stations are connected by elevators, escalators or both for accessibility. The floors have tactile paving to help visually impaired people to move around and the staff is trained to give all the necessary information, although in Japanese and most of the time very simple English.
If you have a guide who knows all the best stations and directions to quickly get to the elevators and escalators, you will likely walk less than if you were driving a car and had to move from the parking lot to the tourist location.
The price is reasonable as well, you will likely spend around 1000~1500 yen per day by public transportation. This converts to $10~$15 USD.
What about in Tokyo's surrounding cities?
If you are traveling to the surrounding areas such as mount fuji, 5th station, Kamakura, Kawaguchiko lake, Hakone, Yokohama, Nikko and other places. You can easily reach those areas by trains. You will likely take a subway from the nearest station, transfer to a bigger station and from there, take the train to the largest cities, it is that simple. You can reliably check all the routes and times in Google Maps or Hyperdia to reach those places. And you will likely spend around $2000 yen to $3000 to go to another city.
Once you are in that city, your guide will indicate the best transportation method. You are likely to walk from tourist spot to spot. But it is also possible to take trains, bus or even a Rikshaw to conveniently tour around, without the need of a car. And in some places, you can even take the ropeway, which is always fun and provides a nice view.
If you really need a car, you will be able to take a taxi for a short distance as well.
The interesting thing is that every option will be conveniently near your arriving train station, so you do not need to worry about having to walk more than you would if you had a car.
If you really need a car: Cost of private car with driver/guide
You also have the option to hire a private car with a driver and a guide if you wish.
The cost of this service will vary from location to location, but will mostly be around $250 ~ 500 USD.
The Japanese law prohibits guides from driving their customer without a taxi license, which is very difficult to get. For that reason, the prices of tours with cars, are higher than normal.
As for the last option, you could rent a car for yourself and drive your family and your guide. This is the cheapest option for people who want to tour by car. You can find more information about this in this article: https://triplelights.com/blog/what-do-i-needdrivecarjap-2594What to I need to drive a car in Japan?
That is all you need to know to decide which transportation method you should use while traveling toTokyo and around. I hope this article was useful, and please do not hesitate to contact Triplelights for anything you may need regarding your trip to Japan.
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