Related articles: Complete guide of Tabirai Car Rental
Tabirai Japan Rent a Car provides 3 ways of ensuring that your vehicle comes equipped with studless snow tires, that are “(1)standard equipment“, “(2)option selection” and “(3)make a request after reservation“. This is described in more detail in the following section.
- 1 Before booking your rental car, you should first understand about the periods and regions that studless snow tires are needed.
- 2 Three ways to rent a car equipped with studless snow tires on Tabirai Japan Rent a Car
- 2.1 Pattern 1: Book a plan that comes included with studless snow tires as standard equipment
- 2.2 Pattern 2: Add a studless snow tire option to your reservation
- 2.3 Pattern 3: When there is no plan that comes included with studless snow tires, or no related option provided
- 2.4 Safe driving tips for winter in Japan
- 3 Let’s rent a car equipped with studless snow tires to enjoy winter driving in Japan!
Before booking your rental car, you should first understand about the periods and regions that studless snow tires are needed.
For safe winter driving in Japan, from December to April of the following year, you need a vehicle equipped with studless snow tires. Especially driving in heavy-snow derivatives, such as Hokkaido, Tohoku, Koshinetsu and Hokuriku. Regarding other regions, if it may snow during your trip, it’s safe to reserve a car equipped with studless snow tires in advance.
Even in Kyushu on the south side of Japan, winter tires are needed when driving towards mountainous winter sport areas in Oita and Kaumamoto. As the use of winter tires mainly depends on the regions and snow depths, you are suggested to check the weather forecast for your travel schedule in advance.
Three ways to rent a car equipped with studless snow tires on Tabirai Japan Rent a Car
Pattern 1: Book a plan that comes included with studless snow tires as standard equipment
* For the regions and period of winter tires, please refer to “Regions and periods that studless snow tires are equipped as standard equipment“.
Regions and periods that studless snow tires are equipped as standard equipment(Winter 2017- Spring 2018) in Tabirai
※Tabirai Japan Rent a Car offers some plans which all its vehicles come equipped with winter tires by default, in which case their costs are included in the basic price. The following regions and period include winter tires for free. Selecting the studless option or making a request are not necessary for these plans.
Tohoku region(Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata, Fukushima)
Koshinetsu region(Nigata, Nagano, Yamanashi)
Hokuriku region(Toyama, Ishimawa, Fukui)
STEP 1: If there is a notation of “Studless snow tires” in the search result, winter tires are included as standard equipment.
STEP 2: Go to “Product details” and make a online reservation. The arrangement of a rental car equipped with studless snow tires is completed.
Pattern 2: Add a studless snow tire option to your reservation
* If there is no plan that comes included with winter tires, you can select a plan with a studless snow tire option (charged). However, please note that not all car rental companies offer this option, and the regions are also limited.
STEP 1: In the option selection of the product details, put a checkmark to the “Studless snow tires”.
STEP 2: Go to “Input reservation information” and complete your reservation. The arrangement of a rental car equipped with studless snow tires is then completed. If there is a studless snow tire option, you no need to make a request after reservation.
It’s probably the most common pattern. For example, you’d have a trouble to find that there is no studless snow tire option when arranging a rental car in Oita or Kumamoto, or in Nagoya or Chubu Centrair International Airport.
If you do need to rent a car with winter tires, try to send a request to the car rental company by the following flows.
STEP 1: Make a online reservation as usual.
STEP 2: Login to the “Reservation Information Box” described in the reservation confirmation e-mail.
STEP 3: Use the message function, request the car rental company to arrange a vehicle equipped with studless snow tires. The car rental company will reply you probably within a few days.
· If the answer is YES (a vehicle equipped with winter tires can be arranged):
You are so lucky! It might be a fee-charging service, but just go ahead to complete the reservation.
· If the answer is NO (no vehicle with winter tires can be arranged or ask you to contact Tabirai):
Let’s give up, it seems that the car rental company is unable to provide this service. Cancel your reservation, search for other products and make a new reservation on Tabirai Japan Rent a Car. Repeat the steps to make a request via the Reservation Information Box.
Aside from Tabirai, other car rental websites like Rakuten and ToCoo Car Rental also offer some plans that come included with studless snow tires. The prices seem just a little bit high but it’s also a way to arrange a vehicle for winter driving.
Safe driving tips for winter in Japan
Winter driving is not recommended in the snowy area, if it’s your first visit to Japan. Since the feeling of driving is completely different on snow-covered roads and dry roads. If you’ve visited Japan several times that are familiar with Japanese culture, or you’re used to driving long distances, winter driving could be one of your choice.
When you plan to rent a car in heavy-snow areas, think about an alternative plan when something unexpected happens, such as vehicle breakdown or roads become off-limits due to heavy snowfall.
· What are “studless snow tires”?
Studless snow tires are tires made of hydrophilic rubber with special tread designs that reduce their susceptibility to slipping on frozen and snow-covered roads. When driving in snowy areas, or toward mountainous winter sport areas, you need a vehicle equipped with either studless winter tires or snow chains.
* It is a violation of law not to apply antislip measures such as studless snow tires on frozen and snow-covered roads.
· What should I be careful of when driving on snow covered roads?
Even studless snow tires have been equipped, you should also take caution when driving on snowy roads to prevent traffic accidents caused by slip or iceburn. For that reason, keep in mind that a low speed can help you react safely when driving on snow-covered roads. Other vehicles also reduce the speed compared to normal times. Also, remember to secure sufficient time for returning the rental car.
* What is Iceburn?
Iceburn happens when snow melt and get frozen on the road surfaces. Driving on snow covered roads is very dangerous even studless snow tires have been equipped. You should pay attention especially driving in bad weather and at night with limited visibility.
· Four-Wheel Drive (4WD) equipped with studless snow tires is the best solution for driving safely on snow-covered roads.
What is Four-Wheel Drive (4WD)?
A four-wheel drive vehicle (4WD) is a vehicle in which all four wheels receive power from the engine. Since the engine supplies power to all four wheels, it’s possible to increase the traction and achieve high running performance. Given that, four-wheel drive is suitable for travelling on rough roads such as snow covered roads. There is no problem if you equip studless snow tires on a two-wheel drive, but a more steady driving becomes possible with a four-wheel drive.
* If there is no mention of “4WD” in search results or plan details on Tabirai Japan Rent a Car, basically a two-wheel drive will be prepared for you. If you want to rent a four-wheel drive, make a request in the Reservation Information Box.