Welcome to Freedom Car Rental, Hakuba’s newest car hire company for international drivers. We operate out of the Hakuba Shell Garage pictured above on Route 148. It’s centrally located on the main road through town. Our small fleet of well-maintained vehicles will give you freedom to enjoy all of Hakuba and Nagano. All the ski resorts, all the restaurants, all the hot springs, … all the best places to go. You can only see a fraction without a car.
All our hire cars have 4WD/AWD and come with snow tyres, snow wipers, and ski racks. They are fully registered and insured for car rental purposes with わ (wa) number plates. Beware unregistered operators without proper insurance! Our garage is open year-round with qualified mechanics who service the cars. Our vehicles have dash cams/drive recorders, which provide admissible evidence for the Japanese police. This avoids communication problems after accidents.
We have been renting to Japanese drivers for many years, and valet the cars before every rental. All Freedom Hakuba cars are non-smoking, and you’ll find them spotless inside.
To hire a car from us, you MUST have an eligible driving license for Japan. This can be any of the following.
1. An International Driving Permit (IDP) from a country in the 1949 Geneva Convention. Obtain this before coming to Japan. When renting from us, also bring the driving license used to issue the permit. Here is a list of countries where you can get an IDP. NB: The IDP is used TOGETHER with your national license. For Australians, we need the physical card, not a digital license on your phone as issued in New South Wales. Please bring your license card to Japan.
2. An official Japanese translation of a driving license from Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Monaco, Slovenia, Switzerland, or Taiwan, plus the license itself. Plan in advance about getting a translation. JAF can do this on the same day, certainly at their office in Tokyo. It may be possible at their office in Nagano City, one hour from Hakuba, but we have not checked. The contact information is here.
3. A regular Japanese driving license.
We cannot make exceptions to the above rule. You can check on what you need to drive in Japan with this excellent page by Maricar, the well-known go-cart rental operation in Tokyo. Many thanks to Maricar for inviting car rental operators like us to use this resource.
Every member of your group with an eligible license may drive. There is no fee for additional drivers. There are no restrictions on mileage. We like our customers to get out and see more of Japan!
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