Driving in Japan
Japan's public transportation is the best in the world, if you want to get off the beaten path it's very helpful to have a car. It might seem intimidating to be a first-time driver in Japan, but depending on where you want to go it's a great opportunity to see a side of the country inaccessible by most tourist routes.
Access a new side of the country
For many first-time visitors, the standard "Golden Route" between Tokyo and Kyoto is convenient using public transportation, but it also means that you are quite limited to visiting the same sites as everyone else.
Top reasons to drive in Japan
Get away from the crowds: Small towns and hidden gems abound. Temples, scenic views, quiet restaurants, and the "real" Japan are in the back country.
Go at your own pace: Rather than be restricted to train or bus timetables, you can take your time and control your experience
Save time: While cities can be crowded, having a car actually saves a lot of time depending on where you are going.
Pack what you want:If you're carrying gear for snowboarding, photography, or children it's perfect to have a car and not worry about needing to lug everything through train stations.
Save Money: Depending on your journey and group size, having a car can actually save a lot of money, even factoring in gas and highway charges. The bigger your group the more you save.
It's also very easy for most visitors to drive in Japan. It depends on which country you're from (see this list) but for most people you only need to have an international license which is affordable and easily obtainable in your home country.
If you're worried about road safety, Japan has one of the cleanest and safest highway systems in the world. Yes, there can be congestion during certain times (such as returning to Tokyo on a Sunday evening) but on the whole a car is the only way to access rural Japan in an efficient and convenient manner.
You can check how exhilarating it is to ride on the Shimanami Kaido Expressway that connects Hiroshima and Ehime prefecture from the link below.