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Driver's License in Japan

 Automobile Related Top ya 
 One of the following licenses is required for a foreigner to drive a car in Japan.  <PDF >

 If you hold an
 driving permit
 *1. If you hold a valid
 driver's license of
 Switzerland, Slovenia,
 Germany, France,
 Belgium, Monaco or
     Drive with a Japanese Driver’s License

 If you hold a foreign
 country’s driver's
 license except*1

 If you do not hold a
 foreign country’s
 driver's license or
 Japanese one.

 Please read No.1   Please read No.2  Please read No.3-1   Please read No.3-2

  1 Drive with an IDP together with Foreign country’s driver’s license

    ・Only International Driving Permit issued by a member nation of Geneva Treaty concerning the
     traffic rules is valid in Japan
    ・IDP is valid for one year from the date of issue.

    We recommend you get an International driving permit before your departure of your
     home country.

  2 Drive with your country’s driver's license with an official translation to Japanese.

    ・Foreign driver's license issued in Switzerland, Slovenia, Germany, France, Belgium, Monaco or
     Taiwan is valid in Japan. However, you must hold your country’s driver’s license with an
     official translation to Japanese from your foreign driver's license, as you drive. A translation of
     your foreign driver's license will be prepared by the embassy of your country or JAF(Japan
     Automobile Federation).
    ・It is valid for one year from your arrival date in Japan..
  3 Drive with a Japanese Driver’s License

    3-1. If you hold a foreign country’s driver's license 
       → Exchange a Home country’s driver's license to Japanese one,”Gaimen Kirikae",
     Pleases read “Gaimen-kirikae”

    3-2. If you do not hold a foreign country’s driver's license. 
     → After learning a Japanese traffic regulation and driving skills, you need to a pass written test
      and driving skills test at Mito Driver’s License Center to get it.

    Please see more information about driving a car. ya

   It is a important note, if you are going to drive a car in Japan (PDF )

 How to Apply to JAF for Japanese translation of your license.

 orenji_pin Documents required

  1. Application form for Japanese Translation of foreign driver license. The form can downloaded from
   the JAF website at ya

  2. A driver’s license (original. In principle). Your license will be returned as soon as JAF copy it.
   Photocopies are acceptable if you are not able to send the original license. In that case, please
   prepare clear photocopies of the front and back of the license, preferably in color, enough to allow
   the inscriptions on the license to be read clearly.

  3. A photocopy of a Residence card. This is required only for the license written in Arabic or Russian,
   or for the license issued in certain countries, including the Republic of Korea, the Kingdom of
   Thailand, and the Union of Myanmar.

  4. Issuance fee is 3000 yen / per license and Return postage money, handling fee is 500 yen.

 orenji_pin Send the required documents to JAF Ibaraki Office or Tokyo Office.

  Put document 1 to 3 and 3500 yen into registered mail and send it to JAF.
  You can get a registered mail envelope"Genkin-kakidome" at KEK Grocery. 

     Address : JAF Ibaraki Office : TEL 029-244-2660 / 〒310-0851  2475-7 Senba-cho Mito
       JAF Tokyo Office  : TEL 03-6833-9100 / 〒105-0014  2-2-17 Shiba Minato-ku Tokyo

  In principle, the Japanese Translation will be issued in one working day. It takes approximately two
  to three weeks to obtain translations for the driver’s license listed in 3) of “Documents required”.

  Information on the Japanese Translation for changing a Foreign Driver's License to Japanese License.

 orenji_pin Website about English written tests of Papanese Driver's License:

 Change to Japanese driver's licenses

 orenji_pin Preparation before going to Mito Driver's licenses Center.   

 1 Confirm that driver's license of your country can be changed to Japanese Driver’s License at Mito
   Driver's License Centre by phone.(☎029-293-8811) (Japanese only)  < Access >

 2 Ask official translation to Japanese of your driver license either to JAF (Japan Automobile Federation)
   or to an Embassy. We recommend JAF.

 3 We recommend receiving training at the Tsukuba Driving School for preparation of skill test at Mito
   Driver’s License Centre.
   The Tsukuba Driving School needs reservation by phone. (☎029-857-5030) (Japanese only)

   Tsukuba driving school pdf - Can prepare documents to be submitted to Mito Driver’s License Centre.-

 orenji_pinChange to Japanese driver's license.”Gaimen Kirikae"

 1 Before applying for ”Gaimen Kirikae" at the Mito Driver's License Center, following requirements must
   be fulfilled.

   1. The driver's license of applicant must be valid.
   2. The applicant must be able to prove that he/she stayed in the country where he/she obtained the
    driver's license for three months or more after obtaining the license.
   3. You have registered 「Moving-in」 in Tsukuba (Ibaraki Prefecture).
   4. You have a legal status of residence (Your Visa is valid).

 2 Documents required for switching to a Japanese driver's license.

   1. Driver's license obtained outside Japan
   2. Passport
   3. Residence Card
   4. Two Photos ( 3cm in length × 2.4cm in width )
   5. Certificate of Residency
   6. Japanese translation of the foreign driver's license (How to get the Japanese translation will be
    described later)
   7. Application Form (You can get it at No12 window-counter at the Mito Drivers License Centre.)
    <How to write application is here pdf>
   8. Admission ticket for an examination (You can get it at No12 window-counter at the Mito Drivers
    License Centre.)
   9. Questionnaire (You can get it at No12 window-counter at the Mito Drivers License Centre.)     
 3 General “Gaimen Kirikae “procedure at the Driver's License Center

    1. Submission of application documents
        2. Aptitude test (Vision test, etc.)
        3. Interview (What method did you get your driver's raicense in your country,etc.)
    Interview will be conducted in Japanese.
        4. Examination about the traffic rule in Japan.
     You are able to request them to take the written test in English or in Chinese.
        5. Driving skill check (Driving skill check will be conducted in Japanese)

        6. Issue of the Japanese driver's license.

  You can exempted from the Knowledge confirmation of drive(4) and Drive skill check(5), if your
  nationality is Auatria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece,
  Germany, Holland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, United Kingdom, Italy,
  Slovenia, Switzerland, South Kores, Sweden, Spain, Taiwan or Portugal.

   Please visit the Japan Automobile Federation website to see more information: ya

 updated: 2018-07-09