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 book a standalone ETC card without any expressway passes. 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 Pass

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. For the ToCoo! ETC card to use for TEP Kyushu, hotel and post office pickup is available. In addition, some TEP Kyushu plans have the special option for ToCoo! ETC card pickup at the  rental car outlet! For details on where to receive the ToCoo! ETC card, please check the email from ToCoo! One more 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.

53 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

  5. ausane say:

    TEP pass is enough for Nagoya airport to takayama and shiraakawako? Thank you

    • smith say:

      Hi Ausane. TEP covers all of Japan, so it will certainly be enough from NGO to Takayama and Shirakawago. Hope this helps!

      • ausaneya say:

        Thank you so much for Your reply . If I go to Takayama and Shirakawago TEP or ETC unlimited which one is better or more advantage?Or the same?

        • smith say:

          Both TEP and the ETC unlimited pass cover all expressways in Japan. The difference is that TEP is cheaper since it comes in a plan.

  6. premmika vesvijak say:

    how to get Tep,
    can i do when i pick up car at Narita.

    • smith say:

      Hi Premmika Vesvijak. There are 2 post offices in Narita Airport that you can choose from to pick up your TEP (ETC card) package when you make your reservation. Please check your arrival terminal before selecting!

  7. yongyut siawsolit say:

    Your Comment I’m fogot to add express plan for my booking. What i should do now

  8. James say:

    Hi, I plan to visit Kyushu (Fukuoka,Oita,Kumamoto,Nagasaki) for about 5 days in June.
    1. May I know which is the pass should I get? Is it KEP pass?
    2. How do I get the pass? can I booked via the website or need to call the car rental company?
    Thanks in advance.

    • smith say:

      Hi, James. The Kyushu Expressway Pass (KEP) is suitable for Kyushu travel, but please do not that there are some expressways not covered by KEP! For reserving the pass, you can book it through ToCoo’s KEP Plan by clicking the link below the KEP section of the post above.

  9. Niko say:

    If I going to drive around mount. Fuji. Do I need tep plan?

    • smith say:

      Hi, Niko. TEP covers all ETC gate expressways in Japan, so it can definitely be used around the Mount Fuji area. Whether or not you would like to use the TEP plan is up to you, but we do recommend it since it’s easy to use and unlimited, so you don’t have to worry about that during your trip. Please contact us via the Inquiry Form on our website or at rc-cs@coo.ne.jp for additional support help. Thanks!

  10. Philip Low say:

    Can I use the same ETC card on Okinawa and Japan Mainland ? Picking up ETC Card at hotel in Okinawa and returning card in Tokyo.
    Thanks.

    • smith say:

      Hi Philip Low. Yes, the ToCoo! ETC card can be used with any ETC gates in Japan, including Okinawa. Hope this helps!

  11. Chua Siew Bee say:

    Hi, I plan to Hokkaido this Summer, place to visit are Asahikawa, Furano, Biei, Noboribetsu, Lake Toya, Hakodate . I plan to pick up the car at Chitose Airport and return at Sapporo Susukino. May I know which kind of Pass should I get? Do I need TEP Or ETC ? Hope to receive your reply

    • smith say:

      Hi Chua Siew Bee. TEP Hokkaido and HEP are expressway passes you can use in Hokkaido, and both already include an ETC card to use for the pass. The standalone ToCoo! ETC card can’t be used for any expressway passes, but it could be good option if you will only be using expressways sparingly. The standalone ETC card means that you will have to pay all of your actual used toll fees after you return the ETC card to ToCoo. Hope this helps!

  12. Kylie say:

    I plan to Hokkaido this Autumn. Places to visit are Obihiro, Kushiro, Rausu, Shiretoko, Mashu, Kussharo, Tsubetsu, Abashiri. I paln to pick up the car at Chitose Airport and return at Memanbetsu Airport. Shall i apply for HEP for up to Kushiro and the rest i use ETC as there is no more expressway fro Rausu to Abashiri? Thanks.

  13. Tang say:

    Hi, I have reserved a car with TEP plan already. Do I need to rent a ETC card separately?

  14. Hi,I have reserved a car with ToCoo!unlimited ETC Pass and my trip is only in Hokkaido ,is it the good choice for this kind of ETC pass? If not, do I have a chance to correct it?
    Thanks.

    • smith say:

      Hi Teekhayu Chaiyasothi. The ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass covers all of Japan, so it covers Hokkaido, too. If you need support help, please contact us at rc-cs@coo.ne.jp

  15. Max say:

    Hi, there is a ETC card which i can collect at car outlet under the HEP plan, can i use the same ETC card in other areas or do I need to apply another card separately?

    • smith say:

      Hi, Max. HEP (Hokkaido Expressway Pass) can only be used in Hokkaido. The ETC card for HEP will be provided by the rental car outlet. If you use any tollways that are not covered by HEP (i.e., outside of Hokkaido), they would be charged separately, on top of the HEP fee. If you need support help, please contact us at rc-cs@coo.ne.jp

  16. Kanchana say:

    Hi, how can I reserve a car with KEP ? We can pick up a car together with KEP at the same time at car rental outlet ? Please advice.

    • smith say:

      If you would like to use KEP, please book the KEP Plan. You will receive the ETC card (KEP) at the outlet if you book the KEP Plan. Please see the link in the article above for the KEP Plan. If you need further support help, please contact us at rc-cs@coo.ne.jp

  17. Felix Ng say:

    Hi there, how do I return the ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass after my trip? Thanks for your help.

    • smith say:

      Hi Felix Ng, it depends on your other options but please follow the written instructions that were included in your package. If you need further support help, please contact us at rc-cs@coo.ne.jp

  18. Sandra Lee say:

    Your Comment
    Hi, I’m planning to rent a car for 4 days in Okinawa. Which pass should I get for driving around Okinawa?

  19. Alvin Li say:

    Hi, I plan to rent a car for 6 days from Oct 13 at Sapporo Station North Exit & returning the car on Oct 18 at the CTS & would like to take the WiFi & ETC plan. Please advise if I can have the ETC card on Oct 8-9 at the hotel that I’ll stay as I won’t be staying in a hotel from Oct 10-13. Thanks.

    • smith say:

      Hi Alvin Li, we usually only ship packages out about 4 days in advance, and we can’t guarantee it will arrive until your reserved rental car date. We do have some other pickup options available for cases like yours, so please use the Inquiry Form on our website for further support. Inquiry Form: https://www2.tocoo.jp/en/contents/inquiry

  20. jean say:

    Hello there, we’re planning a 2D1N trip from New Chitose Aiport to Furano area and back to Sapporo to return the car. I’m not sure which card is more suitable given the short period of time we’re driving, or do we need to get an ETC in the first place?

    • smith say:

      Hi Jean, whether or not you want to use an expressway pass, standalone ETC card, or just pay the tolls in cash depends on your preferences, but many people do prefer to use an expressway pass just to make things easier. You can also contact us via the Inquiry Form on our website for further support. Inquiry Form: https://www2.tocoo.jp/en/contents/inquiry

  21. Low say:

    Hi, I plan to use 3 days from Tokyo to Kawaguchi, Shirakawa and Nagoya. May i know ETC Car Rental or ToCoo Unlimited ETC Pass is more suitable for us? thank you

    • smith say:

      Hi Low, both the standalone ETC card rental and the ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass can be used for your trip, so it depends on whether you would like to pay the exact toll fees you use, or prepay for unlimited access to all ETC expressways in Japan. The ToCoo! Expressway Pass Plan would also be an option for you, and it’s a bit cheaper than the ToCoo! Unlimited ETC Pass because TEP comes in a plan. If you have any further questions, please contact our support team via the Inquiry Form here: https://www2.tocoo.jp/en/inquiry

  22. how ETC card to use for TEP Kyushu?

  23. Mario say:

    Hi i am planning self drive in Shikoku (TAKAMATSU), will be spending 3 night at Takamatsu which included 1 day trip to shido island ( with the rental car) . After will be spending 1 night at iya valley ( ie to and back from Takamatsu to iya valley) so which ETC is recommended?

  24. Lam Siew Fern say:

    Where do I collect my ETC card? My flight arrival time is 4.05pm but the post office closed at 5.00pm.

  25. Austin say:

    I have about 2 years left in Okinawa. I want to use ETC to get back and forward between Naha and Nago instead of buying yens almost every 2 weeks. Any suggestions on what I only need? Also, is it going to save me money compare to using yens or debit card at the toll?

    • smith say:

      Hi Austin, we’re sorry but we currently don’t offer yearly ETC card rental. Our ETC cards can only be rented together with a rental car. If you have any further questions, please contact us via the Inquiry Form on our website: https://www2.tocoo.jp/en/inquiry

  26. Carman Lau say:

    we already reservation a car pick up in Osaka airport but no ETC included, I want to rent a “tocoo unlimited ETC pass” with you but then I don’t have card reader in my vehicle so do you provide the said card reader ?

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