Paradise Rent-A-Car Okinawa
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Renting a car in Okinawa made easy
For traveling around Okinawa, the car is emphatically king, so much so that the default setting for a holiday in Okinawa (among Japanese at least) seems to be flight, arrival, pick up the rental, and drive to the resort hotel. The do the same in reverse order a few days later. The travel partner and I had our rental as part of the flight / accommodation plan. As it was then, our rental was from Paradise Rent-A-Car. What happens when you rent a car in Okinawa (pre-booked) is that you make your way out of the arrivals lounge at Naha Airport then head to a member of the rental company’s staff, lined up with portable desk in amongst all the other car rental representatives, taxi ranks and bus stops. It’s something of a chaotic scene. The lady from Paradise Rent-A-Car has a list of names and ticked us off when we presented ourselves. We then waited with about 10 other Okinawa travelers for a shuttle bus to take us to our motors. The lot for Paradise Rent-A-Car is not far from Naha’s airport but it’s just off the busy Oroku By-pass. We arrived at about 6pm in Okinawa and got stuck in some heavy traffic trying to force its way into central Naha. It must have taken about 40 mins to get to the rental despite the location being only a few kilometers from the airport. In the dark, the lot for Paradise Car Rental looks like a scene from a Michael Mann movie, all dark and shadowy with some lonely neon lights dotted here and there. I half expected to spot a Robert DeNiro loitering in some dark corner. The Paradise Rent-A-Car office is small, and really just functional at best. There are a few chairs inside to take a rest on and a grubby smoking area just outside. Vending machines are your only option for some quick sustenance so make sure you get something from the airport if you’re in need (although there is a Japanese restaurant next door). There are toilets here. In terms of procedure - the shuttle bus drops you off and then staff call out your name when they’re ready to have you complete the paperwork. If you’ve pre-booked as part of a Okinawa holiday package, the car rental paperwork will be over in about 5 mins. The staff were efficient. You then wait a few more minutes before someone comes and takes you to the car. At this point they go over it with one of those luminescent lights that police use to pick up fingerprints and dodgy stains, and everyone nods that the condition of the car is fine. You sign another form, they give you the keys, and off you go. Note: There was zero instruction as to what button does what on the car. When returning, we pulled up to the car park where staff were waiting. As soon as we switched off the engine they were all over us hurrying us to get luggage out of the car. No one seemed to care about the detritus we’d left inside (although we did make a cursory effort to get rid of our trash at a garage nearby). As for checking for scratches, this seemed to be minimal. We made our way back to the Paradise Rent-A-Car office, waited a few minutes for the shuttle bus to arrive, and that was about it for renting a car in Okinawa. As the for the car itself, I couldn’t tell you much as I have scant interest in the things. It went. It didn’t do anything weird. It came with a full tank of gas, and Bluetooth tech that enabled us to hook up our smartphones to play music from. The navi was a God-send. Our Okinawa car rental experience was all conducted in Japanese. Quite what the English ability of the staff is, I don’t know, but the Paradise Rent-A-Car website is available in English. There’s an office at central Naha in one of the Aeon shopping malls.