Rent a Car for Travel in Osaka:

Renting a car can be an excellent way to explore the sights of Osaka and the surrounding Kansai region. With a rental car, you can easily access famous attractions, scenic areas, and local neighborhoods at your own pace. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about renting a car for travel in Osaka.

Rent a Car for Travel in Osaka:

How to Rent a Car in Osaka

Follow these key steps for a smooth rental car experience:

Compare Rental Companies

Research rates and policies across major rental chains and local outfits. Consider factors like:

  • Price
  • Vehicle options
  • Pickup/dropoff spots
  • Mileage, parking fees
  • Insurance options

Popular brands include Toyota Rent-a-Car, Nippon Rent-a-Car, Times Car Rental, and international companies like Hertz and Avis.

Reserve Your Rental Car

Once you’ve chosen a company, book your car rental. Have info ready like:

  • Pickup/dropoff dates
  • Pickup/dropoff branches
  • Vehicle type
  • Navigation or child seat rentals
  • Payment details

Reserve early for best availability and rates, especially during peak seasons.

Know Requirements

Common requirements for renting a car in Japan are:

  • Valid driver’s license from your home country
  • International Driving Permit strongly recommended
  • Minimum age, typically 21-25
  • Passport required
  • Deposit with credit card

Pick Up the Rental Car

Go to the rental branch at the booked time. Finalize any paperwork and inspect the car thoroughly before driving off the lot.

Driving in Osaka

Here are some tips for navigating Osaka’s roads and highways:

Getting Used to Driving

  • Use navigation apps like Google Maps
  • Stay alert for bicycles and pedestrians
  • Follow speed limits and signs closely

Osaka has heavy traffic and congested roads. Get comfortable with driving on the left side first. Useful tips:


Finding parking can be difficult in Osaka. Understand parking rules to avoid fines:

  • Metered parking has limits on duration
  • Public parking garages near major attractions
  • Hotels may offer parking discounts
  • Use coin-operated spots vs. automated ones

Tolls and Gas Stations

Pay tolls when using expressways. Rental cars have ETC card devices. Fill up at self-service gas stations like those run by JA and Inui.

Road Rules

Follow all rules and regulations:

  • Drive on the left
  • Legal alcohol limit of 0.03%
  • Seatbelts mandatory
  • Phone usage prohibited while driving
  • Yield to pedestrians at crossings

Where to Rent a Car in Osaka

Major rental companies have branches across Osaka including:

Kansai International Airport

All major agencies have counters at KIX Airport’s arrival lobbies. Pickup right after landing for convenience. Offices open into the late evening.

JR Osaka Station

Rental desks inside the train station for easy access. Times Car Rental, Toyota, and Nippon branches located within the station complex.

Shin-Osaka Station

Access rental companies like Times Car Rental, Hertz, and Toyota near this major Shinkansen bullet train terminal.

Umeda Area

Many rental offices around Osaka’s central Umeda district near major hotels and transportation hubs.

Kobe and Nara Cities

Look for rental car pickup at Kobe Airport or Nara city outlets if starting your trip from these nearby cities.

Types of Rental Cars in Osaka

You’ll have various rental vehicle options based on your travel needs:

Compact Cars

Good for squeezing through tight spaces and parking. Models like Honda Fit, Toyota Tank, Nissan Dayz. Seats 4 passengers comfortably.

Standard Sedans

Midsize cars like Toyota Corolla, Nissan Note, Mazda Axela. Solid balance of space and fuel-efficiency. Ideal for 2-4 people.

Vans and Wagons

For groups or families. Toyota Hiace and Nissan Caravan can seat 7-8 with maximum luggage room. Easy access for strollers or wheelchairs.

Premium Vehicles

Luxury models like Lexus sedans, Audi wagons, BMW convertibles and sport cars. Higher rates but include extra services.

Kei Cars

Tiny compact cars best for driving in tiny villages or on narrow roads. Limited availability at standard rental companies.

FAQ About Renting a Car in Osaka

1. Is an International Driving Permit required?

Having an IDP along with your native license is highly recommended but not legally mandatory. Makes communication easier if stopped by police.

2. What insurance options should I consider?

Personal accident insurance provides coverage for injury. Optional collision damage waiver reduces liability for damage to the rental car.

3. Are rental cars equipped with GPS?

Most rental cars will have built-in GPS that provides turn-by-turn navigation and guidance in English. Confirm when booking.

4. Can I take the rental car on ferries or to other islands?

Yes, you can take your rental car on ferries to places like Shikoku or Kyushu with advance reservations. Inform rental company.

5. Are child seats available for rental?

Yes, reserve infant/child seats in advance, though inventory may be limited. There is an extra daily rental fee for car seats.


Renting a car can unlock easy access to all of Osaka, as well as side trips to Kyoto, Nara, Kobe and beyond. Booking the right car for your group size along with attentive driving will ensure an efficient and stress-free experience. You’ll have freedom to create your own Osaka itinerary.


Leave a Comment