Japan Driving Licence or Driver Permit

Japan Driving Licence : Getting your driver’s license in Japan involves studying for written exams, taking driving lessons, passing road tests and more.

This guide covers everything you need to know about obtaining a new license, renewing, replacing, updating addresses, taking tests and following Japan’s road rules.

Getting a New Japan Driving Licence

To obtain your first driver’s license in Japan:

Meet Age and Residency Requirements

  • Be at least 18 years old (or 16 for a motorcycle license)
  • Have valid residency in Japan with a resident card

Study and Pass Written Exams

  • Pass a written exam on road rules and signs
  • Also pass a written exam on the mechanics of driving
  • Exams have true/false and multiple choice questions
  • Offered in English and other languages

Take Driving Lessons

  • Take lessons at a certified driving school
  • Get a completion certificate once you finish the lessons

Pass the Practical Road Test

  • Perform a driving test with an examiner from the center
  • Assessed on steering, turns, braking, parking and other skills

Obtain Your License

  • Passport photo, exam certificates and fees required
  • License issued same-day after tests are passed

Renewing Your Japanese Driver’s License

To renew a license in Japan:

  • Licenses expire every 5 years
  • Renewal process begins up to 6 months before expiration
  • Complete renewal application at license center
  • Have new photo taken
  • Pay renewal fee
  • New license issued immediately

Replacing a Lost or Damaged License

If your Japanese license is lost, stolen or damaged:

  • Report loss to police to get required documentation
  • Bring police report and ID documents to license center
  • Fill out application and pay fee for replacement
  • Have new photo taken and license reprinted

Updating Your Address on Your License

When you change addresses in Japan:

  • Visit your local license center within 14 days
  • Bring your current license and proof of new address
  • Complete change of address notification document
  • Pay small fee for updated license
  • Carry old license until new one arrives in mail

Taking the Driver’s Exam in Japan

To prepare for and pass the license exams:

For written exams:

  • Study the official translated rule books
  • Take practice tests at license centers or online
  • Exams have True/False, multiple choice questions
  • Passing score is at least 96 out of 106 questions

For the practical exam:

  • Use driving school car for the test
  • Examiner will assess basic driving skills
  • Scored on steering, turns, braking, observation
  • Points deducted for errors – pass is 70 points or more

Traffic Violations and Fines in Japan

Some common traffic fines and penalties:

  • Speeding: ¥3000 to ¥10,000 depending on excess speed
  • Running a red light: Up to ¥7,000
  • Using a mobile phone while driving: ¥5000
  • Not wearing a seatbelt: ¥5000 per unbelted person
  • Drunk driving: License suspension up to 10 years, fines up to ¥500,000

Other key rules:

  • Drive on the left side of the road
  • Strict drink-driving laws – 0.03% BAC limit
  • Mandatory liability insurance for all vehicles
  • Priority given to pedestrians at crossings
  • Helmets required for motorbike riders

FAQs on Japan Driving Licence

1. Is an International Driving Permit required to drive in Japan?

Yes, an IDP is recommended along with your native license to drive legally in Japan.

2. How long is a Japanese driver’s license valid for?

Licenses in Japan expire every 5 years and have to be renewed.

3. What side of the road do Japanese people drive on?

Always d4. Can I exchange my foreign license for a Japanese one?rive on the left side of the road in Japan.

4. Can I exchange my foreign license for a Japanese one?

No, you must take the written and practical exams to obtain a Japanese license.

5. Can I drive with just an English license in Japan?

You can drive on your foreign license for up to 1 year. After that you must convert it.