Toll cards in Japan   ETCカード

Date of publication :

A sign indicating the locations of gates with an ETC reader

Nissan Rent a Car is one of the agencies the offers ETC card rental.

Safety distances must be respected at toll gates.

Traffic jams, tolls, ETC...

Japan's toll gates represent 30% of the causes of traffic congestion on highways. Thanks to ETC (Electronic Toll Collection) gates, they'll soon be nothing but a bad memory.

Japan Tourism figures soared in 2014, and it became necessary for major players in the area of  Japanese traffic circulation to offer their services to tourists.

Recently there are more companies starting up who want to give foreigners access to services normally only used by Japanese tourists (due to the language barrier and terms of use). One of these services is the ETC card system.

The ETC system has multiple benefits: pollution and traffic reduction, convenience, and ecological advantages.

What is ETC?

It's a system with a device that you put in the car, and which, through its wireless transmitter, automatically pay the tolls without the driver having to stop the vehicle at a toll booth. Of course, it is necessary that each device is equipped with a valid payment card.

Now it is becoming common to see car rental companies offer a variety of options when renting, some of which include ETC cards preloaded with a certain amount. This way there's no need to own a car or do things the Japanese way.

Another great thing about this system: It's easy to switch the card inserted during the trip, so you can split the costs among travellers.

Safety and Security

Safety rules are generally made very clear, but here are a few reminders to be sure you can use the ETC system smoothly:

  1. Ensure your speed is about 20 km/h when going through the gate, to make sure the contact works correctly with the terminals and you do not damage the safety barriers. Also, never brake suddenly because the traffic can be heavy around toll gates.
  2. Respect the safety distances recommended by the Japanese government.
  3. Be sure you have correctly inserted the card into the communication box: this simple check can save a lot of unnecessary frustration.
  4. Remember to keep the card with you - it looks just like a credit card. Although the crime rate in Japan is low, the card could be tempting and easy to steal.
  5. Motorway entrances regularly have signs marking the presence of payment by ETC. That said, it is still possible to pay with the ETC device by asking the agent in the toll booth.

How can you get one?

Most major banks issue ETC cards, and it is therefore possible to do so by going to one of their branches. For residents in Japan, it is also possible to combine your credit card and ETC card on a single card.

A warning: although it is easy to obtain the card from partner banks, they may request a meeting, either remotely or locally. It is still a credit card, and the security measures remain the same. It is strongly recommended that you contact your agency for these details.

It is also recommended to pay with the ETC card by asking Nissan Rent a Car at the following agencies:

  • Akabane Ekimae
  • Akihabara Ekimae
  • Asahikawa Airport
  • Asahikawa Ekimae
  • Ayase Ekimae
  • Central Japan International Airport
  • Chiba Ekimae
  • Chofu Station South Exit
  • Ebisu Station East Exit
  • Esaka Ekimae
  • Fuchu Ekimae
  • Fujisawa Ekimae
  • Fukui Ekimae
  • Fukuoka Airport
  • Fukushima Ekimae
  • Fukuyama Shinkansen Ekimae
  • Funabashi Eki Minamiguchi
  • Gifu Hashima Shinkansen Ekimae
  • Gotemba Ekimae
  • Gyotoku
  • Hachioji Ekimae
  • Hakata (Hakata Front Exit)
  • Hakata Ekihigashi
  • Hakata Shinkansen Ekimae
  • Hakodate Airport
  • Hakodate Ekimae
  • Hamamatsu Shinkansen Exit
  • Hamura Ekimae
  • Haneda Otorii Ekimae
  • Higashiosaka Kosaka
  • Hikifune Ekimae
  • Hirokoji-Sakae
  • Hiroshima Airport
  • Hiroshima Hacchobori
  • Hiroshima Shinkansen Ekimae
  • Hon-Atsugi Ekimae
  • Ibaraki Ekimae
  • Iidabashi Station West Exit
  • Kagoshima  Chuo Ekimae
  • Kagoshima Airport
  • Kakegawa Shinkansen Exit
  • Kamata
  • Kamimaezu
  • Kanazawa Ekimae
  • Kanazawa Station West Exit
  • Kannai Ekimae
  • Kansai Airport
  • Kashiwa Station West Exit
  • Kintetsu Yokkaichi Ekimae
  • Kitakyushu Airport
  • Kobe Sannomiya Chuo
  • Kochi Ekimae
  • Kochi Ryoma Airport
  • Koiwa
  • Kokura Shinkansen Ekimae
  • Komatsu Airport
  • Koriyama Ekimae
  • Kumamoto Airport
  • Kumamoto Ekimae
  • Kurobe Unazukionsen ShinkansenEkimae (Uozu Ekimae)
  • Kurosaki
  • Kusatsu Ekimae
  • Kushiro Airport
  • Kyoto Ekimae
  • Kyoto Shijo Karasuma
  • Kyoto Shinkansen Ekimae
  • Machida
  • Machiya
  • Matsuyama
  • Matsuyama Airport
  • Memanbetsu Airport
  • Mishima Ekimae
  • Mishima Shinkansen Exit
  • Mitaka Ekimae
  • Mito Station South Exit
  • Miyazaki Airport
  • Morishita Ekimae
  • Musashi-Shinjo
  • Nagai Ekimae
  • Nagasaki Airport
  • Nagasaki Ekimae
  • Nagoya Shinkansen Ekimae
  • Nagoya Station Sakuradori-guchi
  • Namba OCAT
  • Nara Ekimae
  • Narita Airport
  • New Chitose Airport
  • Niigata Airport
  • Niigata Ekimae
  • Nishi Shinjuku Yamate Dori
  • Nishi-Akashi Shinkansen Ekimae
  • Nishijin
  • Numazu Ekimae
  • Obihiro Airport
  • Ohashi Ekimae
  • Okayama (Okayama Station West Exit)
  • Okayama Airport
  • Okayama Station East Exit
  • Omiya Station East Exit
  • Osaka Airport
  • Osaka-jo business park
  • Roppongi Hills
  • Saga Airport Counter
  • Sangenjaya
  • Sapporo Odori
  • Sapporo Station North Exit
  • Sapporo Station South Exit
  • Sendai Airport
  • Sendai Aoba Dori
  • Sendai Kakyoin
  • Sendai Shiyakushomae
  • Sendai Station East Exit
  • Shibuya Cross Tower
  • Shimbashi
  • Shimoigusa Ekimae
  • Shin-Osaka Shinkansen Ekimae
  • Shin-Osaka Station North Exit
  • Shin-Shirakawa Ekimae
  • Shin-Takaoka Shinkansen Ekimae (Takaoka Station South Exit)
  • Shin-Yokohama Ekimae
  • Shinagawa Station Konan Exit
  • Shinjuku Station West Exit
  • Shizuoka Shinkansen Exit
  • Tachikawa Ekimae
  • Takadanobaba Ekimae
  • Takamatsu Airport
  • Takamatsu Ekimae
  • Takasaki Station East Exit
  • Tanimachi 2-chome
  • Tenjin
  • Tennoji Ekimae
  • Togoshi
  • Tokyo Station Yaesuguchi
  • Toritsu Daigaku Ekimae
  • Totsuka Station East Exit
  • Toyama Airport
  • Toyama Ekimae
  • Toyohashi Shinkansen Ekimae
  • Toyosu Ekimae
  • Tsudanuma Ekimae
  • Uehommachi Ekimae
  • Ueno Ekimae
  • Umeda Center Building
  • Umeda Marubiru
  • Utsunomiya Station West Exit
  • Wakura Ekimae
  • Yodoyabashi
  • Yokohama Landmark Tower
  • Yokohama Station West Exit
  • Yonago Airport

Comments Read comments from our travellers