Best for driving trip! Regional expressway passes

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In accordance to the rapid increase of the number of foreign tourists visiting Japan, many discounted tickets and special deal tickets have been released by public transportation providers. Then, long-awaited Japan Expressway Pass (JEP) was finally introduced in last year. While JEP is a great value flat-rate pass, it still is a little pricy, inflexible in validity periods and cannot be used in Hokkaido. So, you maybe wishing if there are more flexible deals that can be used in smaller areas. If so, just check other expressway passes promoted by NEXCO Group. Other than JEP, there are many regional expressway passes that allow flat-rate use of expressways in specific areas.

 

Eligibility and purchase procedures

Eligibility

Regional expressway passes is only to be sold to non-Japanese passport holders. To purchase these passes, you must:

  • Hold a non-Japanese passport, or be Japanese citizen with permanent residence permits in a foreign country
  • Hold a driver license that can be used in Japan

Purchase procedures

Regional expressway passes are to be booked at the same time you book a rental car, just like when you book Japan Expressway Pass. These passes are NOT to be sold independently. To purchase regional expressway passes, follow these steps.

  1. Select a rental-car dealer that has regional expressway pass deal
  2. Book a regular-sized passenger car and ETC card with Expressway Pass.
  3. On pick up day, fill the form to rent a car and ETC Card with Expressway Pass. Rental fees for the car and ETC card is to be paid before getting in the car. 
  4. Pick up the car and ETC card, then head to your destination.
  5. Return the car and ETC card to the shop and pay for fees that are not covered by your initial payment.

※As a general rule, reginal Expressway Pass can be booked at a shop located in the area covered by the pass you are purchasing.

 

NEXCO East

Hokkaido Expressway Pass

This pass covers all expressways in Hokkaido that are not covered by Japan Expressway Pass. It allows unlimited use of expressways of Hokkaido during for a set period of time. Hokkaido is the least populated land of Japan. Travel distance becomes massive as cities and towns are far apart from each other in Hokkaido. Hokkaido Expressway Pass is available at shops of the following rental-car dealers. Make sure to inquire availability beforehand as some shops do not offer expressway pass.

Nippon Rent-A-Car, TOYOTA Rent a Car, Budget Rent-a-Car, ORIX Rent-A-Car, JR East Rental & Lease, Nissan Rent-A-Car

Price: 3600yen (2days) to 11300yen (14days)

Tohoku Expressway Pass 

This pass allows unlimited use of all expressway in 5-refectures of Aomori, Iwate, Akita, Miyagi and Fukushima during validity period. Tohoku Expressway Pass is available at shops of the following rental-car dealers except for some offices. Check the list of shops first.

Nippon Rent-A-Car, TOYOTA Rent a Car, Budget Rent-a-Car, ORIX Rent-A-Car, JR East Rental & Lease, Nissan Rent-A-Car

Price: 4000yen (2days) to 12000yen (14days)

※The validity period of pass can be selected for any days from 2days to 14days. The price is determined according to the validity period.

NEXCO East

 

NEXCO Central

Central Nippon Expressway Pass

This pass is designed to cover the central part of Honshu Island that includes Shiga, Mie, Aichi, Shizuoka, Fukui, Ishikawa, Toyama, and a part of Niigata prefecture. It allows unlimited use of expressways operated by NEXCO Central within the area for a set period of time. Also, you can add an unlimited use of highways in Nagoya city by paying additional fees. This pass can be a great discount covering a wide spread area, and is available from shops of the following rental-car dealers including shops in Kanto area.

Nippon Rent-A-Car, TOYOTA Rent a Car, ORIX Rent-A-Car, Nissan Rent-A-Car, Times Car RENTAL

Price: 5000yen (2days) to 16000yen (14days)
※The validity period of pass can be selected for any days from 2days to 14days. The price is determined according to the validity period.

NEXCO Central

 

NEXCO West

San’in-Setouchi-Shikoku Expressway Pass (SEP)

Covering the entire Chugoku Region and Shikoku Island as well as Hyogo prefecture, SEP allows unlimited use of all expressways operated by NEXCO West and Hyogo Highway Corporation within the area during a set period time for a flat-rate. Note that expressways connecting Honshu Island and Shikoku Island are excluded (e.g. Seto-Ohashi Bridge, Shimanami Kaido Expressway). SEP is available from shops of the following rental-car dealers in Chugoku and Shikoku Region and Hyogo prefecture. See the list of shops that offer SEP before booking.

Nippon Rent-A-Car, TOYOTA Rent a Car, Budget Rent-a-Car, ORIX Rent-A-Car, JR Rent-A-Car (WEST), Nissan Rent-A-Car, Times Car RENTAL, Heisei Rent-a-Car

Price: 5000yen (3days) to 13000yen (10days)

Kyushu Expressway Pass

This pass covers the entire Kyushu Island excluding Okinawa Island, allowing unlimited use of all expressway of seven prefectures operated by NEXCO West during the validity period for a set price. Note that expressways operated by companies other than NEXCO West, such as Fukuoka Expressway and Kita-Kyushu Expressway, are excluded. This pass is available from shops of the following rental-car dealers.

Nippon Rent-A-Car, TOYOTA Rent a Car, Budget Rent-a-Car, ORIX Rent-A-Car, Nissan Rent-A-Car, Times Car RENTAL

Price: 3500yen (3days) to 11500yen (10days)
※The validity period of pass can be selected for any days from 3days to 10days. The price is determined according to the validity period.

NEXCO West

 

Happy driving!

Self-drive tour is relaxing with no hurry. If you are touring a specific area of Japan, regional Expressway Pass can be a lot more flexible and better deal than purchasing Japan Expressway Pass. Flexible validity period is a great advantage as well. Make sure to bring your passport on you when you pick up the car. These expressway passes are only for non-Japanese passport holders and you must present your passport at the time of pick up.

 


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あきらことほ

Writer

あきらことほ Kotoho Akira

Living outside Japan for a good many years, I often rediscover nice little things about this country every time I return here. I would be more than happy if this column may help you find your "nice little things about Japan"!

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