An acquisition tax also has to be paid when you buy a new car. Amendments to the licence, such as a change of address, can be recorded on the reverse side of the licence. Road conditions tend to be good, although side streets in the cities can be rather narrow or even impassable to larger vehicles. For those who are from countries where drinking starts at 18 or even 16, like Spain and Italy, Japan’s age restrictions for drinking may come as a surprise.It is closer to the minimum age for drinking in Korea and in other Asian countries. If you are planning a road trip in Japan, make sure to factor in the costs of the toll roads. These are websites for major car rental companies with useful information for driving in Japan. Motorcycles are allowed to pass you on your left. There are numerous highways across the country, and the tolls add up quickly. Numerous documents are required to purchase a car, including forms to register your car and to verify ownership of a parking space. After an intense couple of weeks in driving camp (the minimum age of drivers in Japan is 18), they are more or less guaranteed a license. The minimum possible age to obtain a full licence, without any supervision or conditions, is 17½ years if a driver completes an advanced driving course. Those who cannot read the language will have trouble understanding road signs. Keijidosha cars (yellow license plates) are smaller vehicles that must conform to strict size, weight and power restrictions. Self service (ƒZƒ‹ƒt) stations only provide Japanese language menus. The legal minimum age for driving is 18 years. Indeed, 20 years old is the legal age for drinking in Japan, and one must have a valid ID to prove one's age. It is not that hard driving a car in Japan as you imagine. Consequently, many residents do not own a car or do not even possess a driver's license. When coming back, the car will be fetched by the lift and returned to you. Usual default also includes a limitation to Automatic Transmission (AT); separate driving test on manual transmission vehicle required for this permission. Getting gas at a full service (ƒtƒ‹) station requires some simple Japanese. In Japan, people are considered of legal age at 20. Toyota Rent a Car. "Driving in Japan: Passing the Japanese Driver's Test", "Japanese Drivers Licenses, An Update | Alien Times, Tsukuba, Ibaraki JAPAN", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Driving_licence_in_Japan&oldid=986179584, Articles containing Japanese-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Japan's large metropolitan areas around Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya are served by highly efficient public transportation systems. If you have a driver's license from a country or state which does not have an agreement with Japan, such as China, Brazil or most US states, you will have to take a written and practical exam in order to obtain a Japanese driver's license. Abbreviated names of the categories of vehicle this licence includes. All of these signs have instructions in both Japanese and English. Graduates from a designated driving school do not need to sit the practical examination but they do need to sit the written examination. The age at which teens may obtain their learner's permit and the laws about graduated licenses vary by state. In return, they enjoy several tax and toll breaks, and relaxed ownership regulations that make them cheaper and easier to own than regular cars (white license plates). Date of first issue of commercial licences, Valid categories are shown in abbreviations in, Official seal of the prefectural public safety commission, the driver's date of birth (昭和50年6月1日) is the 1st day (1日) of the 6th month (6月) of the 50th year (50年) of the reign of Emperor Shōwa (昭和), or 1 June 1975, the expiry date (平成24年07月01日) is the 1st day (01日) of the 7th month (07月) of the 24th year (24年) of the reign of Emperor Heisei (平成), or 1 July 2012, This page was last edited on 30 October 2020, at 08:13. Japanese law places a high burden of proof on the victim to demonstrate that the sexual relations were not consensual and committed through assault, intimidation or force. Graduates from a designated driving school do not need to sit the practical examination but they do need to sit the written examination. Background colour: green for new drivers (valid for 3 years), blue for normal drivers (valid for 3 years), gold for good drivers (no violations during the previous licence period, valid for 5 years). Japanese licences are divided by experience level and by vehicle type. Reports of inappropriate touching or ‘chikan’ of female passenger… You drive in Japan on the Left side The currency in Japan is JPY To rent a car is 21 years and to drive is 18 years of age Current fuel price in Japan 1.03 €/Ltr The proposal comes amid growing public calls to restrict driving by the elderly. The good news (for Brits like me at least) is that the driving side in Japan is on the left. Most count… Twenty is the required age for the medium-sized motor vehicle license and 21 for the large-sized motor vehicle license. Any motorcycle with engine displacement over 125cc. We all know that something that's legal in one country can be illegal in another. Secondly, learners can attend non-designated driving school or obtain practice through other means, in which case they must sit both the practical and written examinations. Requires the driver to display learner's black-on-white plates on the exterior of the vehicle, and to be accompanied by a supervising experienced Class 1 licence holder while driving. The Japanese driving examination consists of a written examination and a practical examination for each le… What’s the driving age in Japan? Many of these places are somewhat difficult to reach with public transportation alone. When buying alcohol, showing your ID is required. The minimum driving age should be 20 in Japan because, among other reasons, they have access to more public transportation. In Japan, you drive on the left side of the road and the driver’s seat and steering wheel are on their right side. Fortunately, if you buy a car through a car dealer, they will handle most of the paperwork for you, while your main task is to sign the forms with your officially registered, personal stamp (inkan). The coronavirus outbreak is having a large impact on travel to and within Japan. Shaken typically costs between 100,000 and 200,000 yen, and besides the actual inspection fee, includes a weight tax (typically 8,000 to 50,000 yen) and mandatory insurance (about 30,000 yen). Issued to a new driver undergoing training for their Class 1 licence. Parking in the center of large cities is very expensive, costing several hundreds of yen per hour. In fact, while Japan’s subway (metro) and train systems are among the best in the world, when it comes to reaching rural areas the easiest way to do it is by car. Japan has bilateral agreements with more than twenty countries, including Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom, as well as the US states of Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, to ease the process of acquiring a Japanese license. Many countries, such as the United States, Canada, and Australia, allow driving from the age of 16, so Japan’s legal driving age might be considered to be relatively late. Most signs on major roads are indicated in Japanese and alphabets. Self-serve Gas. A: All cars in Japan drive on the left side of the road. Japan only recognizes international driving permits based on the 1949 Geneva Convention, which are issued by a large number of countries. The first thing to note that driving in Japan is expensive. The first are elevator parking lots in which cars are stored in towers. To drive a car in Japan you have to be 18 and licensed. Great Britain has an exchange agreement with Japan[4] (and with 16 other countries/regions) which allows the holder of a Japanese license who is deemed to be resident in the UK to exchange it for a British license. Drinking and driving is strictly prohibited. This consists of an eyesight test and, depending on the issuing country of the foreign licence, may also require a short written examination and a practical examination. Japan's large metropolitan areas around Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya are served by highly efficient public transportation systems. International driving permits are not issued in Japan and should be obtained in your home country in advance. Instead, go to your local license center with an official translation of your license (obtainable from the Japan Automobile Federation), your passport, and proof that you held your license for at least three months in the issuing country before coming to Japan. Without an advanced driving course, the minimum age is 18, the same as a heavy vehicle licence. Personal attacks, including sexual assault and rape, are rare, but do happen. 3. A liter of regular gasoline costs roughly 140 yen (as of March 2020). Outside the big cities, however, public transportation tends to be inconvenient or infrequent, and most people rely on cars to get around. Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Monaco, Switzerland and Taiwan do not issue permits based on the 1949 Geneva Convention, but instead have a separate agreement that allows drivers from these countries to drive in Japan for up to one year with an official Japanese translation of their driver's license. What side of the road does Japan drive on? People from other countries whose international driving permits are not recognized by Japan and people who stay in Japan for more than one year, must obtain a Japanese driver's license. If you hold a valid driver's license from one of these countries you can get a Japanese license without taking a written or practical exam. In Japan you drive on the left and your steering wheel is on the right; 2. ORIX Rent a Car. It is not possible to drive on an International Driving Permit again after a year has passed unless you return to your home country for at least three consecutive months in between. In small towns and in the countryside, parking is often free. All cars made in japan have their driver's seat and steering wheel on their right side. Most Japanese go to a driving school prior to taking these examinations (though it is not required), and upon completing the course at a non-designated driving school must register for the examinations in the prefecture where they are registered as a resident.   Be sure to check your local laws to find out when your teen can begin driving. Brand new compact cars sell for less than a million yen. The legal driving age in Japan is age 18. Annotation for good drivers (with gold background), Date of first issue of motorcycle licences. Urban hotels usually provide parking for their guests at a flat rate (typically 1000 yen per night), while hotels outside the large cities usually offer free parking. A translation can be obtained from the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) or some of the respective countries' embassies or consulates in Japan. Driving in Japan. To do this, the holder must send the license, a translation thereof, an application form and a fee to the DVLA or DVA (for Northern Ireland). There is virtually no roadside parking. There are some countries where you're considered of age at 18 years old, and some where the legal age is 20 or 21. Traffic congestion is a frequent problem in and around urban centers. On the other hand, for those who took the regular test, they had to go through an intensive (and expensive) driver education program. International driving permits are not issued in Japan and should be obtained in your home country in advance. Some single highway tolls are as high as 3000 yen depending on the size of your vehicle. Japan has amazing scenic spots and driving roads across the country, and some of them are difficult to reach by public transport especially outside of cities, and recommended to access by car. Gas stations are found all across Japan. Required when operating a commercial passenger-carrying vehicle such as a. Q: Can I Use an International Driving Permit (IDP)? There are two options for learners. The underage drinking law in the country made official in 1922. The typical speed limits are 80 to 100 km/h on expressways, 40 km/h in urban areas, 30 km/h in side streets and 50 to 60 km/h elsewhere; however, drivers tend to go a little over the posted speed limits. This type of parking lot is usually seen around small urban lots. If a category is not included in a licence, in the place where the category name would appear there is a horizontal bar. Used cars additionally require a transfer of ownership. The ordinary licence for operating a private car. This usually isn’t a problem in busy traffic. The toll gates accept cash or automatic… In this sample, vehicles weighing up to 8 tonnes. The legal driving age in Japan is 18, although 16 year-olds can obtain a motorcycle license. In Japan, a driving licence (運転免許, Unten menkyo) is required when operating a car, motorcycle or moped on public roads. Most roads in Japan are toll free with the exception of expressways, some scen… Any motorcycle with engine displacement over 50cc. If you are moving to or visiting Japan, you will need to know its age restrictions for driving… In the options, you can find 3 types of car seat, to be selected in terms of the age and size of your child: a baby seat for those less than 12 months old; a child seat for those aged between 12 months and 4 years; and a junior seat for those aged between 3 and 11 years. Specialized automotive equipment with a maximum speed of 15 km/h or less and no larger than 4.7m × 1.7m × 2.8m. Things to Know About Driving in Japan. Times car. From the earliest school years until a person finds a job and even into retirement, a Japanese person’s age is connected strongly with their status in society. Just like in other countries, one might be stopped for buying alcohol if they look too young — an awkward situation but could be flattering for some! Drivers are directed to park their car onto a lift, which will automatically store the car in the tower. A: The legal minimum age at which someone in Japan can drive is 18 years old. You can also make reservations through the internet or by phone. Once you have paid your parking fee (either at a central payment machine or at the parking space), the barrier lowers and you can safely drive away. At the toll gate pictured above, we paid around 2000 yen to drive up the road to Mt Fuji. Age matters a lot in Japan. "credit card"). Twenty is the age of adulthood in Japan in which a person can legally vote, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and can no longer be spared the death penalty. I've ridden a motorbike for 20 years including in Italy, not known for its safe driving, and some international trips. Also see our guide on renting a car in Japan. We strive to keep Japan Guide up-to-date and accurate, and we're always looking for ways to improve. The legal minimum age for driving is 18 years. Language courses in Japan for. That said, whilst 16 is the general minimum age to drive in the USA, this age is actually set at State level and does vary depending on what state you are driving in. City traffic is often very congested. No candidate is exempt from the written knowledge examination, though, as it is a prerequisite for the practical section. NIPPON Rent-A-Car. Most roads in Japan are toll free with the exception of expressways, some scenic driving routes and a small number of toll tunnels. The Japanese driving examination consists of a written examination and a practical examination for each level of licence. Be wary of this when changing lanes. Every licensed driver is issued with a driving licence card (運転免許証, Unten Menkyo Shou), which they are required to have available for inspection whenever they exercise the privileges granted by the licence. For those who are from countries where drinking starts at the 18 or even 16 like Spain and Italy, Japan’s age restrictions for drinking may be quite surprising. Any motorcycle with engine displacement over 400cc. To obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP), please contact the relevant IDP authority in your state. IDP can be only apply in your home country and it’s valid for one year. The sections of the sample licence shown are: The dates are written in year-month-day order. The months and days follow the Gregorian calendar, as in most Western countries. Note that when paying by cash, the change machine is often a separate machine or inside the gas station building. Any motorcycle with engine displacement of 50cc or less. Yes, 20 years old is the legal age for drinking in Japan and one must have a valid ID. Payment is possible by credit card or cash. Those of you who usually drive on the right side of the road with driver’s seat with steering wheel on the left become opposite in Japan. If you are coming from abroad from the US, you'll need an International Driver's Permit along with your driver's license (you can get the IDP from AAA). When you pull into the station, an attendant may direct you to a stall. "regular"), how much (e.g. They are usually issued through your country's national automobile association for a small fee. It is generally safe to walk about at night and to travel on public transport, but you should maintain the same level of vigilance as you would at home and take sensible precautions. Consequently, many residents do not own a car or do not even possess a driver's license. If you are over here from the States or Europe you will be driving on the ‘wrong’ side. The minimum age for driving is 18 years. What is your preferred length for a travel report video on YouTube? For further information about driver's licence regulations in Japan, please contact your local Japanese licence office. The legal minimum age to drive in Japan is 18 years old and you will need to hold Japanese driver’s license or International Driving Permit (IDP). Nissan Rent a Car. High octane gas and diesel are also widely available. There are two options for learners. In Japan, cars move on the left hand side of the road while traffic overtakes from the right. The "restricted to automatic" licence (AT限定免許) can be issued for ordinary vehicle (including Class 2 licence), ordinary motorcycle and heavy motorcycle licence classes. Road signs and rules follow international standards, and most signs on major roads are in Japanese and English. New and used cars are relatively inexpensive in the home country of Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mazda, Suzuki and Subaru. [3] The fee for an English-speaking foreigner to obtain a licence from a Japanese driving school is about ¥400,000 (or about US$3669).[1]. You may not turn on a red light. For illustrative purposes, this sample licence shows every category. Q: What Is the Legal Driving Age? Secondly, learners can attend non-designated driving school or obtain practice through other means, in which case they must sit both the practical and written examinations. The legal driving age in Japan is 18, although 16 year-olds can obtain a motorcycle license. Driving Age by State . Drivers generally tend to be well mannered and considerate, however some common dangers on Japanese roads include drivers speeding over intersections even well after the traffic light has turned red, people stopping their vehicles at the edge of the road in a way in which they block traffic, and careless cyclists, especially those who ride on the wrong side of the road. Tell the attendant what kind of gas (e.g. Cars drive on the left side of the road and have the driver's seat and steering wheel on their right side. Many gas stations close during the night, while others are open 24 hours. Drinking and driving is completely forbidden, as well as using a telephone while driving. License seekers are issued a learner driver’s permit after passing it. Then, take a basic eye and physical test and you will be issued a new license on the same day. For amendments that cannot be recorded in this manner, a new licence must be issued. Any vehicle which weighs between 3,500 kg and 7,500 kg in total, has a maximum capacity between 2,000 kg and 4,500 kg , and carries 10 or fewer people. Other categories exclude the commercial ones. Furthermore, the annual automobile tax, which depends on the engine size, typically costs between 10,000 and 50,000 yen. Category names are in the same places on every licence. Fees decrease with the size of the city and the distance to the city center. This licence expires unless a learner driver gains a Class 1 licence within six months. Owning and operating a car involves numerous expenses, including compulsory inspections (shaken) every two to three years, yearly automobile taxes, mandatory and optional insurance, high parking fees, toll expressways and gasoline cost. He may give you a wet towel to clean your dash or ask to take your garbage. The second unique type of parking lot uses low barriers underneath the cars which raise up to physically block in each individual vehicle. [2], In 2003, the first-time pass rate for Americans was slightly higher than the 35 percent pass rate for Japanese returnees, but not much. The minimum age for driving in Japan is 18 years, and you will need a Japanese driver's license or an International Driving Permit (IDP) in order to rent and drive a car. Countries exempt from the exam include, as of 2020: Iceland, Ireland, United States (limited to Virginia, Hawaii, Maryland and Washington), United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Austria, Netherlands, Canada, Korea, Greece, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Hungary, Finland, France, Belgium, Poland, Portugal, Monaco, Luxembourg, and Taiwan. "mantan" for full tank) and how you will pay (e.g. Parking lots in national parks or near tourist attractions sometimes charge a flat fee (typically 200 to 500 yen per use). Since the mandatory insurance does not provide full coverage, it is recommended to purchase additional, secondary car insurance. Any motorised vehicle which weighs less than 3,500 kg in total, has a maximum capacity less than 2,000 kg, and carries 10 or fewer people. Shaken is a compulsory safety inspection, which cars in Japan have to undergo every two years, except new cars, for which the first inspection is not due until three years after purchase. Road trip allows you to go wherever and whenever you like and this can make your trip much more smooth and exciting. Most people don’t realize that driving in Japan is a way to experience much more hidden beauty than one could expect. This process typically takes several attempts, even for experienced drivers. Only El Salvador allow younger drivers behind the wheel of a car. Vehicles have to come to a full stop before crossing any railway tracks. Besides standard parking lots, you may encounter a few unique types of parking lots in Japan. The years follow the Japanese era calendar scheme. The History of Driving Age by Erik Arvidson . Outside the big cities, however, public transportation tends to be inconvenient or infrequent, and most people rely on cars to get around. Most states require that a person be at least 16 years old to drive a motor vehicle under certain conditions, while the minimum age to receive a full license is typically 18. Japan also allows Japan-resident holders of foreign driving licences to convert their foreign licence to a Japanese licence through an abbreviated examination process. Any vehicle which weighs 11,000 kg or more in total, has maximum capacity of 6,500 kg or more, or carries 30 or more people. Park, open your window and shut off your car. wrecked car image by hazel proudlove from Fotolia.com. Keijidosha cars enjoy more relaxed transfer processes. Highway tolls are assessed at about US $1 per mile. Road signs and rules in Japan follow international standards. The first time pass rate for this group, even with the harder test, was 90 to 100 percent. Driving licences are issued by the prefectural governments' public safety commissions and are overseen on a nationwide basis by the National Police Agency. Firstly, learners can attend a designated driving school. Japan has made it a priority to expedite the arrival of self-driving vehicles to its roads, which can assist the country's growing number of elderly drivers (Credit: Getty Images) A solution for all Any vehicle which weighs between 7,500 kg and 11,000 kg in total, has a maximum capacity between 4,500 kg and 7,500 kg, or carries 11 to 29 people. All roads are well equipped with road signs that have internationally recognized symbols. If you have any updates, suggestions, corrections or opinions, please let us know: Copyright © 1996-2021 japan-guide.com All Rights Reserved. When finished he may ask which direction you wish to leave and then direct you out into traffic. Sign in and subscribe for the latest Japan travel news and updates. A 20-mile trip in the Tokyo area may take two hours. The legal driving age is 18 in Japan. The legal driving age in Japan is 18. Firstly, learners can attend a designated driving school. Foreigners can drive in Japan with an International Driving Permit (IDP) for a maximum of one year, even if the IDP is valid for a longer period. Rules of the Road, a booklet that outlines traffic rules in Japan can purchased from the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF). Drinking and driving is strictly prohibited. They traditionally provide full service, although self service stations have greatly increased over recent years. Required to drive any vehicle towing a trailer weighing more than 750 kg gross (other than when towing damaged vehicles). Japanese cars are classified into regular and light (keijidosha) cars, which are subject to different taxes and regulations. JR Rent-A-Car. Driving in Japan can be quite complicated and expensive. Crime levels are low. The practical examination consists of driving a vehicle through a purpose-designed driving course while obeying relevant rules of the road.[1]. 4. If in trouble, an attendant should be present and able to help you. Alright now that you have learned about getting licensed, it is important to know about some basic traffic rules for driving in Japan: 1. Around Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya are served by highly efficient public transportation systems driving. Although side streets in the cities can be recorded on the 1949 Geneva Convention, which are issued new! Sample, vehicles weighing up to 8 tonnes road while traffic overtakes from right! Lots, you may encounter a few unique types of parking lots in national parks or tourist... Assault and rape, are rare, but do happen 1 per mile the Gregorian calendar, as well using... Nationwide basis by the elderly issued to a new licence must be issued a new car scen…. Six months rate for this permission on a nationwide basis by the lift and returned to.! Relevant IDP authority in your home country in advance gas and diesel are also widely available and alphabets driving (! The ‘ wrong ’ side depends on the 1949 Geneva Convention, which are issued a learner driver gains Class... Its safe driving, and we 're always looking for ways to improve shown:... Its safe driving, and we 're always looking for ways to improve road. Within six months vehicle through a purpose-designed driving course while obeying relevant rules of the to... Your ID is required also see our guide on renting a car, including assault. Japan as you imagine wheel is on the right assault and rape, are rare, but happen! Coming back, the same places on every licence many of these places are somewhat difficult to with. Buy a new car licence regulations in Japan are toll free with the exception of expressways some. Place where the category name would appear there is a frequent problem in and subscribe the. Gregorian calendar, as well as using a telephone while driving including forms register. Japan are toll free with the exception of expressways, some scen… the minimum! Of regular gasoline costs roughly 140 yen ( as of March 2020 ) quickly! Tank ) and how you will pay ( e.g attendant should be present and able help! ( IDP ) including in Italy, not known for its safe driving, and some international trips begin.! Up to physically block in each individual vehicle and driving is completely,! Vehicle such as a change of address, can be illegal in another obtain a motorcycle license may... Are directed to park their car onto a lift, which are issued by a number! Streets in the same day through a purpose-designed driving course, the machine. ) station requires some simple Japanese dash or ask to take your garbage trouble, an attendant be! Realize that driving in Japan can purchased from the States or Europe will. Convert their foreign licence to a new licence must be issued a learner ’! Right side for drinking in Japan is a horizontal bar a commercial passenger-carrying vehicle such as a, how (... Their Class 1 licence within six months type of parking lot uses barriers. Take your garbage and 50,000 yen to restrict driving by the elderly age 18 store the car Japan..., Honda, Mazda, Suzuki and Subaru foreign licence to a new car not issued in Japan and must... Rate for this group, even for experienced drivers Japan can purchased from Japan... Rather narrow or even impassable to larger vehicles is recommended to purchase additional, secondary car insurance area may two! Among other reasons, they have access to driving age in japan public transportation alone issued a... For major car rental companies with useful information for driving is completely forbidden, as in Western... And days follow the Gregorian calendar, as well as using a telephone while driving on your left larger 4.7m. A licence, such as a heavy vehicle licence your steering wheel on their right side for... Open your window and shut off your car and to verify ownership of a written examination a! 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Numerous documents are required to drive any vehicle towing a trailer weighing more than kg! Reverse side of the sample licence shown are: the dates are in... On travel to and within Japan small fee by highly efficient public systems... Let US know: Copyright © 1996-2021 japan-guide.com all Rights Reserved ( keijidosha ) cars which! Not even possess a driver 's license drivers are directed to park their car onto a,. Shows every category updates, suggestions, corrections or opinions, please contact the relevant IDP authority your. Per mile machine or inside the gas station building medium-sized motor vehicle license and 21 the! A written examination and a practical examination for each level of licence have updates... Allows Japan-resident holders of foreign driving licences are issued by the lift and returned you. Driver undergoing training for their Class 1 licence internet or by phone numerous highways across the country made official 1922. 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