Although public transport is very efficient in Japan, it is notoriously crowded, especially around rush hours. For this reason, car hire at Okinawa Naha Airport (OKA) is a good option to avoid the crowds after a long flight with your luggage and drive away in the comfort of your own vehicle. You will also have the benefit of being able to explore more remote areas of Okinawa Island which has limited public transport, and you are only around a 2.5-mile drive to the centre of Naha.
Rush hours in Japan tend be busiest in the morning between 07:00 and 09:00 and again in the early evening after 17:00 until around 19:00. There is no railway on Okinawa Island so expect roads to be generally busy. To avoid busy traffic congestion on your return, aim to drive in the late morning to late afternoon if possible, back to Okinawa Naha Airport or give yourself extra time if you cannot avoid these hours. Be careful of the bus lanes in the cities as these are often restricted driving zones.
The Okinawa Expressway is a convenient toll road you can connect to with your rental vehicle from Okinawa Airport. It runs for around 35 miles between Nago in the north and Naha in the south of the island taking around an hour. You can also choose a less busy route by taking Highway 58 which takes around two hours to travel between these locations. The Naha Airport Road is toll free and provides a rapid transit to the city in around 15min. You can also take your hire car on some of the car ferry services which connect to a lot of the larger islands of which there are over 160 to choose from.
On the first floor of the arrival lobby near to the car hire reception desks, you can locate various services in Okinawa Naha Airport to assist you with your journey. Here you will find information points, nursery rooms, a tourist information centre with maps and several food and refreshment outlets at your disposal. Currency exchange and ATMs are available, and it may be beneficial to have some loose change to hand for the toll roads you may encounter.
Book your car hire at Okinawa Naha Airport at least 1 day before your trip in order to get a below-average price
FAQs about hiring a car at Okinawa Naha Airport
Consider using Nissan Rent-A-Car who have outlets in all of Okinawa airport’s three terminals. They also offer a wait-and-meet service where a representative will take you to your car. You should wait for the courtesy shuttle bus at Stop 11 outside the terminal to take you to the car facility. Europcar also offers a meet-and-greet service at the same point from bus lot 11 to their rental offices.
You can find Okinawa Naha Airport car hire reception desks in the arrival halls on the first floor. Most companies have their rental offices and car facilities off the airport grounds, meaning you must take a courtesy shuttle bus from the airport which can be accessed from bus stop 11 outside the terminal. Times Car Rental alternatively will meet you in the arrival lobby, holding a placard, otherwise, it takes just a couple of minutes to walk to the pick-up stand from the international arrival hall, which you will see as you turn right outside the terminal. Regular shuttle buses take around five minutes to reach the outlets.
You will need your full valid photographic driving licence and an International Driving Permit which you can access through your local licencing authority for a small fee. You must be at least 18 years of age to hire a car in Japan and you must complete your transaction with a credit card which is registered to the main driver. It is also advisable to have another form of ID such as a passport.
Car hire companies that offer shuttle or pick-up services from Okinawa Naha Airport to off-airport locations include ABC Car Rental, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Nippon Rent-A-Car, Nissan Rent-A-Car, ORIX Rent a Car, and Times.