All About ETC Cards & Expressway Passes

This article will explain all about the ETC system. Not sure which ETC card is right for you? Keep reading and find out!


What is an ETC card?

It’s a card that can be used with the ETC system. If you use the ETC system, you don’t need to understand Japanese, you don’t need to use cash, and you don’t have to stop at toll gates, so it’s a very convenient system. The ETC card reader device is equipped as standard in all rental cars in Japan, so all you have to do is put the ETC card into the ETC device and you’re good to go! There are many different types of ETC card passes and services available, so keep reading and we’ll go through the main ones.


What is an expressway pass?

An expressway pass is a special ETC card with the pass preloaded onto it so that you can use the expressways as much as you want. There are various kinds of ETC passes, but there are 4 that you can reserve from ToCoo! Also, you can’t reserve just an ETC pass on its own, so make sure to book the rental car with it.


Each ETC option covers a different area! Keep reading to find out more.

Area Unlimited ETC Card Pickup Place
ETC Card  Nationwide × Post Office/Hotel
TEP  Nationwide Post Office/Hotel
ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass  Nationwide Post Office/Hotel
TEP Hokkaido Hokkaido Post Office/Hotel
TEP Kyushu Kyushu Post Office/Hotel
HEP Hokkaido Rental Car Outlet
KEP Kyushu Rental Car Outlet

 


About the ETC Card Types


1. ETC Card (nationwide)
You can just book a standalone ETC card only. You don’t need to reserve a rental car with it, so we recommend it if you have your own car! After you return the ETC card at the end of your reservation, your actual used toll fees will be charged to the credit card you register.  After the ETC card is returned, we will confirm the toll road usage details with NEXCO, the highway provider in Japan. If you rent a ToCoo! ETC card, you can pick it up from your hotel or a post office, but please note that rental car companies don’t offer delivery service for packages,  so you can’t get it from the outlet.
We recommend the Free ETC Card Plan!
Check it out here! → ToCoo! ETC Card Plan

ETC System Area


2. ToCoo Expressway Pass (Nationwide)
The ToCoo Expressway Pass, or TEP, is a special ETC card that is only offered by ToCoo! It’s an unlimited expressway pass for all of Japan. TEP can only be reserved from the TEP plan, and the TEP fee is paid at the time of reservation, so it’s super convenient.  All you have to do is pick it up from your hotel or a post office and basically forget about it until your return date! Total driving freedom.  You can pick up the TEP ETC card package from a hotel or post office, but rental car companies don’t offer delivery services for packages, so you can’t get it from the outlet.

Check out the plan here! → ToCoo Expressway Pass Plan


TEP Coverage Area

4. ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass (Nationwide)
The ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass is a special ETC card similar to TEP, but unlike TEP, the ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass can be added on as an option to almost any reservation. Just like TEP, the ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass fee is paid at the time of reservation, so it’s extremely convenient. You can pick up the TToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass ETC card package from a hotel or post office, but rental car companies don’t offer delivery services for packages, so you can’t get it from the outlet.
★ What’s the difference between TEP and the ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass? The difference is that the ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass can be added onto any existing plan. Because of that, it’s also a little more expensive than TEP.

More info here! → ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Passn

ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass Coverage Area

5. TEP Hokkaido (Hokkaido)
It’s similar to TEP, this is a special ETC card offered only by ToCoo, which offers unlimited expressway use only in Hokkaido, so we recommend it for anyone who is traveling to Hokkaido! You can reserve it under the TEP Hokkaido plan. You can pick up the TEP Hokkaido ETC card package from a hotel or post office, but rental car companies don’t offer delivery services for packages, so you can’t get it from the outlet. One advantage of TEP Hokkaido is that you can drop off the car anywhere with it!

Check out the plan here! → TEP Hokkaido


TEP Hokkaido Coverage Area


5. TEP Kyushu (Kyushu)
Similar to TEP, this is a special ETC card offered only by ToCoo, which offers unlimited expressway use only in Kyushu, so we recommend it for anyone who is traveling to Kyushu! You can reserve it under the TEP Kyushu plan. You can pick up the TEP Kyushu ETC card package from a hotel or post office, but rental car companies don’t offer delivery services for packages, so you can’t get it from the outlet. One advantage of TEP Kyushu is that you can drop off the car anywhere with it!

Check out the plan here! → TEP Kyushu

TEP Kyushu Coverage Area

6. Hokkaido Expressway Pass (Hokkaido)
The Hokkaido Expressway Pass (HEP) is an unlimited expressway pass that can only be used in specific Hokkaido expressway. This pass is only offered by the rental car companies, so not every outlet offers it. Also, if you use HEP, you have to pick up and return the car to the exact same outlet. If the outlet offers HEP, you can get it when you pick up the car.
★ CAUTION! ToCoo’s ETC card can NOT be used for HEP! If you want to use HEP, please book the HEP plan and don’t reserve any other ETC cards.

Check out the plan here! → Hokkaido Expressway Pass

出典:HEPホームページ

7. Kyushu Expressway Pass (Kyushu)
Kyushu Expressway Passis an unlimited expressway pass that can be used only on specific Kyushu expressways. This pass is also only offered by the rental car companies, so not every outlet offers it. Something to watch out for is that it doesn’t cover all the expressways in Kyushu. Please check the map below and make sure that the roads you plan to use will be covered before booking it, so that you can avoid an unpleasant surprise when you return your car.
★ CAUTION! ToCoo’s ETC card can NOT be used for KEP! If you want to use KEP, please book the KEP plan and don’t reserve any other ETC cards.。

Check out the plan here! → Kyushu Expressway Pass

出典:NEXCO

Summary

It might seem a bit complicated, but we hope this has been helpful. Check your travel schedule and choose the best ETC card for you! As always, if you have any further questions, let us know down below or from the inquiry form on our website.

7 thoughts on “All About ETC Cards & Expressway Passes

  1. Simon Lim say:

    Do I need the TEP if I plan on driving from Matsuyama to Fukuyama across the Shimanami Kaido?

    • smith say:

      Dear Mr./Ms. Simon Lim,
      TEP covers all expressways in mainland Japan with ETC gates. Whether you need TEP or not depends on your exact route, preferences, etc. You can also contact us by email and we can try to answer your questions better within 24 hours (business days).
      ToCoo customer support: rc-cs@coo.ne.jp

  2. Aiden say:

    Hi, if I drive from Fuji mountain -shirakawago-shinbokata ropeway-takayama- ainokura-Nagoya-Kyoto-osaka,do you advise me to get ETC?

    • smith say:

      Dear Mr./Ms. Aiden,
      Whether you need an ETC card or not depends on your exact route, preferences, convenience, etc. You can also contact us by email and we can try to answer your questions better within 24 hours (business days).
      ToCoo customer support: rc-cs@coo.ne.jp

  3. Nice Post.. Its Helpfull.. Thank You.. you are Awesome.

  4. Fiat say:

    what are difference between Tocoo Express Way and ETC unlimited pass? I plan to use 3 days from Tokyo to Takayama , Shirakawa ,Kawaguchi, Tokyo

    • smith say:

      Hi, Fiat.
      Both the ToCoo! Expressway Pass and the ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass include ETC cards and cover all ETC expressways in Japan. The difference is that TEP is cheaper because it comes in a plan. The ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass is a little more expensive, but it can be added on to almost any existing plan. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us at our customer support email address: rc-cs@coo.ne.jp

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *