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Gas Stations in Japan

Post: Thursday October 24, 2013

If you own a car or for whatever other reason need to drive in Japan, then you have no doubt encountered the Japanese gas station. Traditionally, Japanese gas stations were all full-service with some number of attendants waiting around for customers and then providing enthusiastic service. But times are changing and self-service stations are also appearing, having been first introduced in 1998.






Full-service gas stations

If you go to a traditional gas station, you will be greeted by one or more attendants who will guide you to an available pump with shouts of “Oorai, oorai, sutoppu!” (Keep coming, keep coming, stop!)



One of the attendants will then inquire what type of gas you need and how much to put in.
Attendant: “Mantan desuka?” (Should I fill it up?)
Driver: “Regular mantan de onegai shimasu.” (Please fill it with regular gas.)


If you prefer or require high-octane gasoline, you would respond:
Driver: “Haioku mantan de onegai shimasu.” (Please fill it with high-octane gas.)

If you wish to get only 2,000 yen worth of gasoline:
Driver: “Regular nisen-en bun onegai shimasu.” (2,000 yen worth of regular gas please.)

Then the attendant may ask you how you will pay.
Attendant: “Genkin desuka?” (Will you pay with cash?)

If you’re paying with cash:
Driver: “Hai, genkin desu.” (Yes, with cash.)

If you’re paying with credit card:
Driver: “Iya, kurejitto kaado de.” (No, with credit card.)


The attendant will then put gas in your car’s tank per whatever instructions you gave. Typically, another attendant will clean all of your windows and mirrors while the tank is being filled. They may also offer to empty your ashtray.
Attendant: “Haizara ha ii desuka?” (How is your ashtray?)
Driver: “Onegai shimasu.” (Please empty it)


Once he has completed filling your tank, the attendant will take your payment.
The attendant will probably then ask you which way you are going when you exit the gas station.
Attendant: “Dochira he ikimasuka?” (Which way are you going?)
Driver: “Hidari desu.” (Left)
Attendant: “Ryoukai desu! Arigatou gozaimasu!” (Understood. Thank you!)

After everything is complete, the attendant will then guide you out, even going so far as to block traffic to let you turn out in the direction you indicated.




Self-service gas stations

Self-service gas stations are indicated by the セルフ (serufu) signs that you see pictured below.
Self-service gas stations, similar to gas stations in other countries, are where you pull up next to an available gas pump. The pump will have a screen with instructions for purchasing gas and selecting which type you need.

Typically, there is an option for English-language menus and instructions. So, look for that if it’s required.
Another thing to note about self-service stations is that they are generally cheaper than their full-service cousins.

self gasself gasself2




Gas Cards

If you pay for gas at a station with the credit card issued by that company (Eneos, Shell, Mobil, Cosmo, etc.), you will often receive a discount of 2-3%. Alternatively, some cards give you points every time you fill your car and you can use those points to purchase items at the service station or else get a discount on the price of gas. Please refer to your specific card’s guidelines for details.  gascard






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