{Travel Tuesday #1} How to use Japanese GPS to Avoid Tollways

When driving in Japan, can I set the GPS to avoid tollways?

In my Japan Travel Blog, I get this question very often.  In short, the answer is YES.  But I only know how to do it on a Japanese language GPS.  The ONE occasion I used an English-language GPS, I couldn’t find the option to do so.

So anyway, here is a quick guide on how to use a Japanese GPS, and setting it to avoid tollways when doing a self-drive trip in Japan.

1.  Enter your destination.

Choose 目的地 (destination) to begin entering your destination.

How to Use Japanese GPS Avoid Tollways 01

2.  Choose Method of Input

For foreign travelers, the most common methods of input are telephone numbers or map codes.

To input using telephone number, choose 電話番号 (telephone number).

How to Use Japanese GPS Avoid Tollways 02

To input using Map Code, choose マップコード (Map Code).  >Click here to read about how to search for Map Codes of your destination.< Very often, Map Code is at the bottom of the list.  So if you don’t see it, see the scroll bar on the right? Scroll down to find the Map Code option.

How to Use Japanese GPS Avoid Tollways 03

3.  Key in the Telephone Number  / Map Code

You will come to screen with a keypad to enter the telephone number / Map Code.  After you are done keying in, press 検索 (search).

How to Use Japanese GPS Avoid Tollways 04

For telephone numbers, if they have more than one search result in their database that matches, a list will be displayed. Select your destination from the list.

How to Use Japanese GPS Avoid Tollways 05

If there is only one match, it will bring you directly to the map.  Similarly for map codes, once you enter the map code and press 検索, you will be brought to the map.

When you have verified that the + is on the destination you want to go, press ここに行く (Go Here).

How to Use Japanese GPS Avoid Tollways 06

4.  Display Alternative Routes

The map will show you a recommended route. Just below the map, you will find information such as distance, toll fees and time required (from top to bottom).

How to Use Japanese GPS Avoid Tollways 08

You can get the GPS to display alternative routes by pressing 5ルート表示 (Show 5 routes).

How to Use Japanese GPS Avoid Tollways 07

5 routes will be highlighted, based on ‘Standard Route’, ‘Shortest Distance’, ‘Use Main Roads’, ‘Avoid Tolls’ and ‘Other Route’.  If want to avoid tolls, press 有料回避 (Avoid Tolls).

How to Use Japanese GPS Avoid Tollways 09

5.  Let’s Go!

After you have chosen the option you want, it will bring you back to the map.  Press 案内開始 and start driving! :)

How to Use Japanese GPS Avoid Tollways 10 (2)

Hope this guide has been helpful.  Drive safe and have a great trip!

Other Related Guides

If you want to know my money-saving tips for Hokkaido Self-Drive holidays, check out my post “Money-Saving Tips for Free and Easy Self-Drive in Hokkaido“!

If you want to know how to search for Map Codes, check out my post “How to search for Japan Map Codes“.

My Japan Travel Blog

Find more Japan travel itineraries and travel tips on my Japan Travel Blog!

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19 Comments on {Travel Tuesday #1} How to use Japanese GPS to Avoid Tollways

  1. Angie Yeow
    July 8, 2015 at 8:06 am (1 year ago)

    Thank You for the ink up! You are amazing to go through GPS details in Jap! : )

    • bumblebeemum
      July 8, 2015 at 10:10 am (1 year ago)

      Aiyah.. Because I get asked this question quite often, so thought I would just write it down in details and in future, I can just refer my readers to the post. :p

  2. Anonymous
    October 5, 2015 at 2:17 pm (1 year ago)

    Hello! If we are renting a car from Odawara to hakone, should we rent the English or Japanese GPS ?

    • bumblebeemum
      October 6, 2015 at 1:53 pm (1 year ago)

      If you do not know Japanese, you should try to rent an English GPS if it’s available. Not all car companies have English GPS or some may charge more for one, so keep this guide handy just in case you end up with a Japanese GPS.

      • Anonymous
        October 6, 2015 at 2:15 pm (1 year ago)

        Thks for answering all my questions! First time driving in Japan n w kids quite daunting n need to really plan!

        Just to check if it’s better to take the romance car to odawara or hakone yumoto to pick up the car?

        There shd be no need to choose winter tires right.

        • bumblebeemum
          October 6, 2015 at 2:41 pm (1 year ago)

          Romance car would take you all the way to Hakone Yumoto. I recommend picking the car up from Hakone Yumoto to save the driving time (and traffic jam) from Odawara to Hakone. There is no need for snow tires in the Hakone region.

      • Anonymous
        October 6, 2015 at 2:18 pm (1 year ago)

        By choosing an English gps n driving to hakone,hope there is no toll n no need to rent a toll card

        • bumblebeemum
          October 6, 2015 at 2:43 pm (1 year ago)

          There is toll if you drive up to Fuji Safari Park / Grinpa, but it is not expensive and that toll road doesn’t use the ETC (toll card) system. There’s just a little toll booth and you pay in cash to the staff there.

  3. kaysiddhartha
    December 3, 2015 at 8:16 am (11 months ago)

    Hi bumblebeemum, so nice to read EVERY single posts here. so informative! i even write down all the food you ate LOL.
    Anyway, i want to ask about tollroad. if we avoid tollroad, so it means we will avoid all paid road? i just want to make sure.
    another thing, are you using child seat for both of your kids?

    thank you in advance

    • bumblebeemum
      December 24, 2015 at 1:38 pm (10 months ago)

      Hi, sorry for the late reply as I have been overseas. If you choose the avoid toll road option, it will essentially search for a road that avoid the expressways with tolls. BUT, there are some roads that are not expressways but charge a small fee for passing through. These are not recorded in the GPS and you may still encounter such toll booths.

      And yes, I use child seat for both kids.

  4. Mindy Lim
    December 7, 2015 at 4:47 pm (11 months ago)

    Hi will go to Tokyo mid of Dec. planning to rent a car to nagano. Any advice for car rental co. ?? Have been searching for long time but still no idea which to go. Some don’t even provide English GPS. Can gimme some advise pls. Thanks.

    • bumblebeemum
      December 24, 2015 at 2:31 pm (10 months ago)

      Hi, sorry for the late reply as I have been overseas. Think I’m too late to reply? Heh… Hope you had fun! I just came back from Nagano too. I rented from Times Car Rental and they provided me an English GPS.

      • Mindy Lim
        December 29, 2015 at 5:15 pm (10 months ago)

        Thanks, I’m back too! Good experience for self drive to nagano. I’ll try again to Hokkaido next trip.

        • bumblebeemum
          December 29, 2015 at 9:01 pm (10 months ago)

          Hokkaido is great for self-drive, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it there. :)

  5. Ai
    April 23, 2016 at 12:40 pm (6 months ago)

    Hi! Thanks so much for sharing so much with us about your experience in Japan Travels! really helps a lot! I managed to get the map codes following your instructions to the tee! :)

    i’m wondering if i could ask you about japan mobile phones/sim cards/wifi router.
    i’m intending to buy a sim card for a wifi router that we currently own but am not sure whether it’s something you might have done before? if not do you have any experiences with sim cards?

    thanks so much for your help!

    • bumblebeemum
      April 24, 2016 at 9:44 am (6 months ago)

      You’re welcome. Unfortunately I haven’t done the buying sim card for WIFI router thing before so can’t really advise you on that.

      • Ai
        April 24, 2016 at 8:19 pm (6 months ago)

        Hi Bumblebeemum!!
        Thank you very much for your prompt reply!! that’s alright then. will try and figure that out.

  6. eco
    June 23, 2016 at 3:33 pm (4 months ago)

    Hello BBM, I have rented a car with GPS for my trip next month. How is the latest English GPS now if it has the detection for toll free route?

    I am thinking to do this route on my first arrival day, yes prefer toll free as I surf it on https://www.google.co.jp Map from one point to another it shown option for toll free. Just want to make sure bit for English GPS up to date if able to show the same.

    Chitose airport > Lake Shikotsu (stop 30mins have a look) > Noboribetsu (4-5hours) > Muroran check in hotel rest and sleep

    • bumblebeemum
      June 27, 2016 at 5:35 pm (4 months ago)

      The English GPS I used for my most recent trip had the option to choose between the 5 routes. Look for a button that says ‘5 routes’.


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