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 Receiving Place
ETC Card only Nationwide × Post Office/Hotel
TEP Nationwide (except Okinawa and Hokkaido) Post Office/Hotel
 ToCoo! ETC Unlimited Pass Option Nationwide Post Office/Hotel
TEP Hokkaido Hokkaido 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, except for Hokkaido and Okinawa)
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 mainland Japan – in other words, everywhere but Hokkaido and Okinawa. 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! ETC Unlimited Pass Option (Nationwide)
The ToCoo! ETC Unlimited Pass Option is a special ETC card similar to TEP, but you can use it in ALL of Japan. We recommend the ToCoo! ETC Unlimited Pass Option if you’re going to be travelling across Japan. The ToCoo! ETC Unlimited Pass Option can be added on as an option to almost any reservation. Just like TEP, the ToCoo! ETC Unlimited Pass Option fee is paid at the time of reservation, so it’s extremely convenient. You can pick up the ToCoo! ETC Unlimited Pass Option 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! ETC Unlimited Pass Option? The difference is that the ToCoo! ETC Unlimited Pass Option can be used in all of Japan. Because of that, it’s also a little more expensive than TEP.

More info here! → ToCoo! ETC Unlimited Pass Option

ToCoo! ETC Unlimited Pass Option 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

 

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.

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