Gas Stations In Japan
Gas Stations ガソリン・スタンド
Gas stations are everywhere in Japan: on main roads, before the entrances to Expressways (highways) and at highway service stations.
Before the 1990's most Japanese gas stations (gasoline stands) were peopled by a small force of uniformed attendants, both male and female, who filled up your car, cleaned your windscreen and took away your garbage (with a smile and much doffing of baseball-style caps). The gas station attendants also helped you re-enter the traffic flow.
Those days are long gone and most urban gas stations are now self service (セルフ) and are open 24/7. Some rural gas stations are still full service (フル) but they charge more and usually close in the evening. Highway services stations also have gas stations.
Using a self service gas station may be tricky even if you speak Japanese. You will need to operate a machine and pay in cash or by credit card. Don't panic, there will be an attendant in the main office if you get stuck.
Japanese gas stations dispense regular, diesel and high-octave fuel. If you are driving a rental car it is common practice to return the vehicle with a full tank. The word for full tank in Japanese is mantan (満タン). Your car rental dealer may ask you to bring the receipt from the gas station and may provide a form for this process.
As from 2014 gas is around 160 yen a liter.
Driving In Japan Video
Manned gas stations may try to talk you in to having an oil change, which will be charged. For free you can ask to have your vehicle's tyre pressure checked or if you are a cyclist get your tyres inflated.
Also if your indicators are not working, you can have the bulbs changed at a Japanese gas station, or maybe even have them change a faulty windscreen wiper. All of these parts, though, are much cheaper at such specialists auto stores as Autobacs or Yellow Hat on a Do It Yourself basis.
Japanese gas stations also have washrooms and vending machines and sometimes even small shops selling maps.
Some rural gas stations offer the full Japanese road test or shaken.
If you are lost on your journey, it is better to seek directions at a gas station, rather than pull over to ask an old lady (obasan).
Useful Links & Addresses For Driving In Japan
- (Tel: 0570 002811) Japanese Automobile Federation
Driveplaza - Has a search feature to calculate Expressway tolls (in Japanese)
W-Nexco - West Nippon Expressways (English)
E-Nexco - East Nippon Expressways (English)
US Embassy Tips For Driving In Japan
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