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TO DRIVE LEGALLY IN JAPAN

YOU MUST HOLD A VALID DRIVER'S LICENSE OF ONE OF THE FOLLOWING TYPES

  1. A Japanese driver's license
  2. An international driver's license issued by a country that is party to the Convention on Road Traffic (Geneva Convention)
  3. A driver's license issued by any one of the following six countries and one region 
    • Swiss Confederation
    • Federal Republic of Germany
    • French Republic
    • Kingdom of Belgium
    • Taiwan
    • The Republic of Slovenia
    • The Principality of Monaco

A certified Japanese translation issued by an authorized organization must be attached to the license.  

※To those who have Italian driver’s license shall NOT be able to drive here in Japan from 1st.December, 2013. However, the international driver’s license issued by the said country is valid for driving in Japan.

Certified translations must be obtained from one of the following agencies.

  • The license issuing authority in the foreign country
  • An embassy or consulate of the license issuing country in Japan
  • A foreign diplomatic establishment in Japan that is authorized by the foreign country to issue Japanese translations, and which is recognized by Japan's National Public Safety Commission. In the case of Taiwanese licenses, an authorized organization is the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan
  • Japan Automobile Federation(JAF)

VALIDITY PERIOD FOR DRIVING IN JAPAN

  1. Japanese driver's license
    Within the validity period of the license
  2. International driver's license
    Until one year from the day of arrival in Japan or until the end of the validity period of the international driver's license, whichever is sooner.
  3. Foreign driver's license with attached Japanese translation
    Until one year from the day of arrival in japan or until the end of the validity period of the foreign driver's license, whichever is sooner.  

Caution regarding "re-entry to Japan"

If you are a Japanese national or a registered foreign resident of Japan and you re-entered Japan on re-entry permit within three months of leaving the country, the period of validity of an international driver's license or foreign driver's license does not start anew from the date of re-entry.

In other words, when going overseas and returning to Japan the period of license validity starts anew only if you are away for three months or more. Note therefore, that if you stay away for less than three months you may not be allowed to legally drive in Japan on your return.

お問い合わせ

(For Inquiries)
Kyoto Prefectural police Headquarters Driver's License Examination Center Driver's License Section
647, Furukawa-cho, Hazukashi, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto city
Telephone:075-631-5181