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New Toyota Car Sharing Program Coming to Okinawa

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Toyota COMS Okinawa car-sharing (2)

The Toyota COMS car sharing program will allow tourists to easily navigate the island of Okinawa

Car-sharing has become quite popular in larger cities over the last few years. There’s something quite nice about not needing to buy a car of your own when you live in a place that is extremely walkable or has excellent public transit.

Now, Toyota is taking car-sharing to the next level by introducing a tourism-based program on the subtropical island of Okinawa next year.

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Beginning in January and running throughout 2016, the program will allow tourists to visit various attractions, such as the Nakijin Castle Ruins and the Churaumi Aquarium, which are not easily accessible from most of the island’s hotels.

The program, which will be run via the Motobu Town Tourism Association, the Nakijin Village Tourist Association, and the JTB Group, will station 30 COMS vehicles at hotels and tourist sites to allow visitors ease of mobility on their vacations.

Gallery: Toyota COMS Journey Around Okinawa

The COMS is an ultra-compact electric vehicle built by Toyota and already used in car sharing programs in other cities. The Okinawa vehicles will be equipped with tablets that will recommend various attractions to tourists and help them navigate the island more easily. The COMS’ ultra-compact size will allow it to navigate roads typically too steep for bicycles or too narrow for cars.

If successful, the trial could lead to similar programs being introduced in other tourist hotspots within the prefecture.

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Catherine Hiles is a native Brit currently based in Dayton, Ohio. Don’t ask how that happened. Cat has written about a variety of subjects, from dog training to fashion, and counts running and cooking among her hobbies.

Cat lives with her husband, Ben; their daughter, Rose; and their collection of animals, including an energetic mutt, an elderly basset hound, and a jerk cat. See more articles by Cat.