photo by Andy Harbach
Tokyo Olympic Games is just a year ahead, the number of foreign tourist visiting Japan still keeps growing. Until a few years ago, flight and train are the two most convenient ways to travel across Japan for foreign tourists. However, in recent years, more tourists are using rentals cars and motor bikes. Especially, the popularity of rental motor bikes is rapidly increasing among bike fans from all over the world. If you are planning to hire a motor bike in Japan, note that you have to go to a rental bike shop, not a rental car shop.
Rental motor bike shops in Japan
You may hardly have any difficulties to find a rental car shop in Japan as they are everywhere in every city. However, these rental car dealers do not have rental motor bikes. To hire a motor bike, a rental motorcycle shop is the place you have to go. Rental motorcycle businesses in Japan are a lot smaller compared to rental car businesses, however, the largest dealer has 130 shops across Japan.
The largest rental motor cycle dealer with 130 branch offices across Japan. They offer a range of motor bikes from 50cc mini bikes to over 1600cc high-powered bikes.
moto-auc (Japanese site)
With more than 100 shops across Japan, this dealer mainly offers major brands’ motorcycles that are most commonly used.
B-Renta (Japanese site)
B-Renta has their shops mainly in Kanto and Kansai area. This dealer is popular for good valued rental plans that covers all rider’s needs.
Requirements to rent a motor bike in Japan
While you can hire a car if you have a valid driver licence in Japan and have reached the legal age for driving, you must meet the following conditions to hire a motorcycle in Japan.
- You have a motorcycle licence which is valid in Japan
- You are 20 years of age or older
Required things when hiring a motor bike
- Motorcycle licence which is valid in Japan *1
- Credit card under the name of a person who is renting the bike*2
- ETC card (if using your own one)
*1 “Motorcycle licence which valid in Japan” includes: Japanese motorcycle licence, International Driving Permit with a stamp of “A” for motorcycle issued in accordance with The 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (the original driver licence must be attached), or driver licence issued in Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Principality of Monaco, Slovenia, Taiwan or Estonia accompanied with an official Japanese translation.
*2 A credit card must be under the name of the person who is renting the bike.
How to make a booking
- Choose a bike that you wish to hire and make a booking request via website
- Receive a booking confirmation email from the shop
- On the day you have booked, bring all required documents and items to the rental motorcycle shop
- Fill in the rental agreement document, and receive an explanation about the bike and the agreement from a shop staff
- Return the bike to the same shop by the time
Optional rental items
Availabilities of optional rental items are different depending on each shop, however, the following items are commonly available in many shops.
- Motor vehicle insurance
- Disc locks and cable locks
- Cargo net
Tips and cautions
- Make sure to wear the appropriate safety gears when riding a motorcycle. If you are wearing the unsuitable clothing to ride a motor bike such as high heels or clothing without enough coverage, your booking may be revoked on the day for dressing inappropriately.
- All documentations and explanations in a rental shop are conducted in Japanese. You may need to bring someone who can assist you in the shop to make a rental agreement.
- No shops offers one-way rental service for motorcycles as of now.
Riding a motorbike freely is becoming a popular way to travel around Japan. Many riders enjoy riding through the hilly areas of Japan and seeing the beautiful sceneries that you can hardly see from trains and airplanes. Also, you can’t stop these public transports just because you want to have a better look at the scenery. But with a motorbike, you can! Probably, that is a part of the reason that people love traveling by motorbike so much and more foreign tourists are interested in motorcycle tours in Japan. So, if you want to experience something different in Japan, renting a motorbike definitely can be an option.
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