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Photo: Niconico Rentacar

Sleepable rental cars help travelers save money by skipping a hotel

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

While Japan has excellent train and bus networks, there are still parts of the country that you really need a private car to practically access. Unfortunately, many of these hard-to-reach yet beautiful parts of Japan are far enough off the beaten path that hotel choices quickly become scarce, and fewer options makes it harder to find budget-friendly accommodations.

However, rental car company Niconico Rentacar has a simultaneous solution to those problems, as it now rents a car that’s specifically equipped so that you can sleep in it.

Just to be clear, the car, a Daihatsu Wake, isn’t a jumbo-sized motor home. As a matter of fact, in its stock form the Wake is the farthest thing from a house on wheels. It’s a kei car, belonging to the class of Japan’s tiniest compacts.


But with a few additions, the Wake transforms into a place to hunker down for the night. Like most keis, the Wake’s boxy frame allows for a surprisingly roomy interior, and once the seats are folded flat, plopping down the specially designed mattress that Niconico Rentacar provides turns the entire interior space into a spacious bed that measures 185 centimeters in length.


Of course, it’s going to be hard to get any sleep with light streaming through the windows, so the car also comes with a set of curtains, which can be snapped into place to keep out the sun and give you extra privacy.


Niconico Rentacar says the Nicohaku plan (as it’s calling the service) is great for outdoorsy types who want to hike, fish, or otherwise commune with nature during the early morning or late at night, outside the time blocks when buses and trains are in service. However, it’s not strictly promoting the specially equipped Wake as a camping companion, as its website proudly boasts that renting a Nicohaku car will allow you to save the money you’d ordinarily be spending on a hotel room.


The Nicohaku plan is priced at 10,000 yen, which gets you the car for two days and one night, with additional nights available at 7,000 yen each. Currently, Nicohaku cars are offered at select Niconico Rentacar locations, which include Hachioji Horinouchi in Tokyo and New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido, one of the best prefectures to travel around by car in Japan (Nicohaku reservations can be made here).

Source: Niconico Rentacar via IT Media

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- West Japan’s new sleeper train looks more luxurious than most hotels

-- Toyota proposes a future where cars become pizza shops, hotels, and occasionally cars too

-- 10 car names Japanese bloggers think are funny to foreigners (and 8 that actually are!)

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Idea is good but there seems to be no space left for luggage....maybe a bit bigger car would be better , say Honda Freed size.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Where would you park? You can't just stop at the side of a road and set up camp. Where would you go to the lavatory? Wash?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This ranks as a giant Nope if Japan wants to develop their tourism industry properly. Multiple countries are experiencing issues with so called "freedom campers" who use vehicles such as this to get around and sleep overnight. Hygiene is a major issue as generally if they are cutting costs by sleeping in a vehicle, they are generally too cheap to pay for toilet and shower facilities and will try to 'borrow' those from someone else

Japan already has a huge number of low cost accommodation providers, extensive transport networks etc. Go for the high value tourists who are willing to pay to enjoy their experiences.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is possible for Asians, Not for Westerners.

If u long drive to the countryside landscapes, u don't have to worry about parking.

Sleepable cars are what meant for such camping sites, not in the town.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

The hotels do not like this. And there are problems, like difficulties in finding a safe quiet place to park, and air circulation - if you have the windows down mosquitoes, noise and robbers can come in, so you probably have to have the engine running to have the A/C on all night.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Good for a short especially if visiting an out of the way place. There are always toilets and plenty of washing places, restaurants. Price is good too.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Where would you park? You can't just stop at the side of a road and set up camp. Where would you go to the lavatory? Wash?

Aside from highway rest areas, the Michi-no-Eki system is pretty extensive. Well over a thousand locations in Japan, including on many smaller islands.

All have 24hr free parking and toilets, with sleeping in car OK. Most have restaurants, and lots have other things like local product markets, museums, and even onsen.

I've car-camped across the country at these places, for free. If you haven't yet discovered the world of Michi-no-Eki, then you are missing out!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I can't sleep in refugee conditions like that. Guess I'll have to stick to hotels.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

When I was a young man would spend the summer months sleeping on beaches in the South of France and Italy. Or up in the mountains in a tent. Many great days.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

the wife and i did this alot here before we became parents. Works great public toilets are everywhere and its not illegal used to get a van cover the side windows from the inside and run a simple curtain between the passenger and drivers seat.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

this car looks so nice would love to buy one

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow great idea, if the price isn't to high ...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not for me, I’d rather stay at a cheap hotel than to be cramped in a K-car.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Not for me, I’d rather stay at a cheap hotel than to be cramped in a K-car.

Why would someone with their own plane need to stay in a cheap hotel?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The hotels do not like this

And you know this because you've done a survey?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Who needs Toilets, do as the local Taxi cab Drivers do. They too sleep in their Cabs, as they themselves lease those cabs from the Taxi Company for a set number of hours, so time is quite literally Money for them.... and that's why some Cabs stink.

Now, for a young couple... who're living at home, and wish a weekend away - such a rental system seems idea, a lot cheaper than love hotels for the weekend, and you get to go places too. I just hope the Car valet system is over time, these Car are not going to be worth anything even on the 2nd hand market.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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