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Fukuoka: Getting Around: (Overview) Car Rental
(Overview) Car Rental
Type: Overviews | Car Hire
Renting a car in Fukuoka City.
Information by Nick May
To rent a car in Fukuoka you will require a current international driving license and a passport.
There are a range of reputable companies offering car rental, from a wide range of locations around the city - usually close to train stations. You are never far from a car rental shop. We have listed some numbers at the end of this article.
Car rental companies usually do not employ staff with high level English language skills. However, many employ people with very basic English language skills. Speak slowly and clearly and consider communicating by fax or email.
If you communicate by email, be aware that the recipient may use machine translation to determine the content of your email. Use clear, simple English with a clear structure and format that is unlikely to be mistranslated. Short sentences are best.
Should you bother renting?
Be aware that Fukuoka has a fairly good public transport system, with a modern subway and regular buses. Within the central area, buses are available for a 100yen flat fare (about 0.75 Euro, 50p English money, 95 cents US money.) All buses have major destinations signposted in English. English language ticket machines are available on the subway. We have information and a guide about taking a bus, train or taxi linked off the "getting around" section front page. (Or see the "How To" link at the top of this page.)
Parking in the city is expensive - expect to pay 100yen for 20 minutes in the city centre, 100yen/30 minutes outside the centre. Most parking is in small automatic-machine parking spaces (usually land that is waiting to be developed) which lack English instructions. Overnight parking is less expensive if you go to the right places (ask at your hotel) and hotels may have there own parking arrangements.
Casual street parking is not advised, during the day your car will almost certainly be towed within 30 minutes, at night it is likely to be towed, except on very quiet streets where you might risk it with impunity (but be sure to move it before morning). Ask local people what they think you can get away with as it does vary by location. In general though, expect to pay for parking. Getting your car back after it is towed is a pain, and costs around 35,000 yen or so (if memory serves).
In general, we advise that you rent a car only for specific journeys outside the city. Within the city a combination of taxis, subways, buses and trains will almost certainly be less hassle and lower cost. If you want to go to another major city in Japan, consider taking a highway bus - they are fairly fast for intermediate length journeys, regular and inexpensive by Japanese standards. (For example, Fukuoka to Nagasaki return is 4500yen by Highway Bus, with buses leaving every 15 minutes and taking 2 hours and 15 minutes.) Japan is a LONG country. Petrol is not cheap and National Highways are toll roads.
The Japanese drive on the left. Although driving in Japan is not difficult, there IS a recognizable Japanese driving style that may take a little getting used to. Major roads are signposted in English, but finding your way around can be tricky.
Just to chear you up, we will mention at this point that Fukuoka has some of the worst road-death figures for any city in Japan...
So, don't just go out and grab a car unless you are sure that you need one.
As far as we know it is NOT possible to rent a car and have it meet you at the international terminal of Fukuoka Airport. The major car rental companies maintain a presence at the domestic terminal, which is a short (free but inconvenient) bus ride from the international terminal. You are generally best to get a taxi to your hotel.
Car rental companies.
(Note: inclusion of a company here does NOT constitute an endorsement by Fukuoka City Guide, nor they of us. Caveat emptor.
near Fukuoka Airport: 81 (92) 612 0543
near Hakata Station: 81 (92) 473 0643
near Fukuoka Station: 81 (92) 629 3900
near Hakata Station: 81 (92) 474 3900
near Fukuoka Airport: 81 (92) 622 4123
near Hakata Station: 81 (92) 473 1634
There are car rental shops close to most major stations. Try around Hakata station if you can't find one.
Transport Network Map  See this Locality Localities Map
First published Sun Jun 20, 2004 Updated Tue Jun 22, 2004
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