Driving Licences In Japan

Japan is one of 90 countries in the world where, if you are a holder of an International Driving Licence, you are legally allowed to drive .

International Driving Licences are usually limited to one year, but it is also possible to obtain a Japanese Licence, if you have an ordinary licence from your home country.

  1. Who may get a Japanese Licence?

    • Anyone who has had their own Driving Licence in their home country for more than 3 months.
    • Anyone who has succesfully passed the Japanese Driving Exam
  2. What is needed?

    • Valid driving licence from your own country
    • An official translation of the above
    • Passport
    • Alien Registration Card
    • 3cm x 2.4cm photograph taken within the last 6 months (Photographs can be taken at the application place.)
  3. Application Centre

    Yamanashi Prefectural Government Police Headquaters: Driving Licence Division
    828 Yagoshima, Minami Alps Shi, Tel: 055-285-0533
    By appointment only!

  4. Opening Times

    8:30am〜5:30pm(Mon.- Fr.)
    * However, to make an appontment phone between 4:00pm〜5:00pm.
    NB: Applications for motorbike licences can only be made on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

  5. Cost

    Approximately 4000-5000 yen.

  6. The exam

    Made up of 3 parts - Written, Practical and Eye Test (NB: The test can be done in a number of languages including English, Chinese, Portuguese, Spanish and Persian)Nationals of the following countries are not required to sit the written or practical exam - only the eye test:

    Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, England, Greece, Italy, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Holland, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria. (NB: For those wishing to ride motorbikes of 50cc and over, a special practical test must be set.)

  7. Other

    After obtaining a Japanese Driving Licence, it is valid for 3 years. After that, it must be renewed every 5 years (if you have a clean licence) or 3 years (if you have committed some sort of driving-related offence - e.g. speeding, illegal parking etc.)

  8. Car Insurance

    (NB: In Japan, the car rather than the driver is insured)

    In terms of legal car insurance, two main types exist: 1. Compulsory Insurance (Sekinin Hoken) and 2. Optional Insurance (Nini Hoken). In the case of an accident where you cause injury or death to another party, basic compulsory insurance is not always sufficient (compensation only will be paid), so it is strongly recommended that car owners also buy additional insurance to make sure you are fully covered.

    When purchasing a new car or bike, or taking ownership over from someone else, make sure you understand fully all the details of your insurance policy.

    NB: White plate cars are much more expensive to insure than the less powerful yellow plate cars (keijidosha).

  9. Traffic Accidents

    Even if it is not desirable of all parties concerned, when a traffic accident occurs, it should be reported to the police. If any injuries occur in an accident and it is not reported to the police, there is a possibility that those concerned will not be fully covered or compensated later on.