Nagano Car Rental | Hire Car in Nagano

Coming to ski in Japan and thinking about a Nagano car rental? Increasingly in recent years many visiting skiers to the region choose to rent cars for their Nagano ski trip. Whilst it is not always straightforward to hire a car in Nagano, neither is it too difficult.

nagano winter car rental

Nagano Car Rental | Hire Car in Nagano

Rent a car in Nozawa, Madarao, Shiga Kogen, Hakuba and Myoko

Renting a car for your Nagano ski holiday is a great idea.  Public transportation in Japan is renowned for his excellence, but it doesn’t always get you close to the ski resorts in Nagano Alps. Nor do local resort shuttles necessarily – especially if you want first tracks. Car hire in Nagano will give you that convenience and freedom and you won’t be tied to timetables. For your rest days it’s great to explore and see some of the sights, do some shopping or find a hidden onsen. Plus Nagano car rental can also be an economical choice if you are travelling in a group.

Check the following hire car locations in Nagano

Nagano Car Rental (Shiga Kogen | Snow Monkeys | Myoko)

Nagano Car Rental

Nagano car rental location: Nagano Station

Best pick up spot for: Togakushi, Shiga Kogen, Myoko Kogen, Snow Monkeys, Togura-Kamiyamada Onsen

Nagano Car Hire Map


Iiyama Car Rental (Nozawa Onsen | Madarao Kogen)

Iiyama Car Rental

Iiyama Station car rentals - Madarao & Nozawa
Click for larger view

Nozawa/Madaro car rental location: Iiyama Station

Best pick up spot for: Madarao Kogen, Nozawa Onsen, Togari Onsen

If you are heading to Madarao Kogen, Nozawa Onsen, Togari Onsen, Kijimidaira or Ryuoo then Iiyama Station is the easiest choice. There is only a Nissan Car Rentals office available right opposite the station or Eki-Ren within the station. Given the limited choice of outlets, if there are no cars available that suit at Iiyama Station then Nagano Station (see above) offers a wider range. Navigation from Nagano will take about 30-45 minutes longer but is basically straightforward.

Matsumoto Car Rental (Hakuba)

Matsumoto & Hakuba Car Rental

Hakuba car rental location: Matsumoto Station & Otari Station

Best pick up spot for: Hakuba ski resorts, Matsumoto Castle, Alpine Route

If staying around Hakuba it’s a great idea to hire a car in Hakuba. Whilst there are local Hakuba shuttles, these can often be full or take time to get to the resorts. So Hakuba car rental is a wise choice, especially if you are in a group. There are a handful of small Hakuba car rental companies in town but a much wider variety of cars/prices are available in Matsumoto as well as Orix Rentals in Otari. Access from both locations to Hakuba is very simple.

Hakuba Car Hire Map

JoetsuMyoko Car Rental (Myoko Kogen | Lotte Arai Resort)

Joetsu-Myoko Station Car Rental

Myoko car rental location: JoetsuMyoko Station

Best pick up spot for: Myoko Kogen Resorts, Lotte Arai Ski Resort, Hiuchi Charmant

Unfortunately there are no local rental car options for foreigners in Myoko Kogen. The rental shops are either next to or really close to JoetsuMyoko Station and it’s a straightforward 25-30 minute drive up Route 18. Nagano Station is a similar distance to Myoko but navigation is a little trickier, but certainly doable.

Apart from Akakura Onsen and Akakura Kanko , there are another 7 resorts all within 30 minutes of Myoko Kogen (Kurohime KogenIkenotaira OnsenMyoko SuginoharaSeki OnsenArai Ski Resort, Madarao Kogen and Tangram Ski Circus) plus numerous others within 45-60 minutes inc.  Nozawa Onsen, Togakushi, Ryuoo, Hiuchi Charmant and Shiga Kogen.

Joetsu Myoko Car Hire Map

nagano car rental

Exactly where are all the local ski resorts?

The map below covers just about all ski resorts in the region of interest to foreign skiers and their location in regard to major train stations and Nagano car rental locations.

Important notes about car rental in Nagano!

  • Do make sure to have a valid international drivers licence and proper travel insurance covering any excess/liability;
  • Driving conditions here can be much more hazardous than in your home country. Drive carefully;
  • If renting in Tokyo or Narita do make sure the car is fully winterised and 4WD (these options are free in Nagano);
  • Japan has zero alcohol tolerance for driving. If you drink anything, don’t drive;
  • Some local hotels and ski resorts charge a parking fee when visiting (500-1,000 yen per day). Book accommodation with a free car park and make sure not to park in an undesignated parking spot (fines can be steep);
  • We’d recommend taking English GPS if there is an option available. If you have a wifi rental or roaming you can use Maps on your phone. If you can only get a Japanese GPS here are video instructions to help you: Part 1 and Part 2;
  • Remember to lift up your wipers when you leave your car to prevent them sticking to the windscreen and don’t put on your handbrake as it can freeze on. Instead make sure it is in gear and on a flat surface;
  • Ask your hotel if you can borrow a shovel and squeegee/scraper during your stay. These are definitely essential items on big snow days! If not, buy some cheap ones from a hardware store;
  • Go here for a comprehensive guide on winter driving in Japan.

This is why you need a shovel and scraper!

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