International Driving Permit Japan

International Driving Permit Japan

Japan is a mystery. It’s the perfect combination of a long tradition with lightning-fast, cutting-edge technology. Many first-time visitors to Japan know that one of the most advanced industrialized nations in the world, this relatively small Asian country also has a rich and fascinating history dating back thousands of years.

Indeed, long before the construction of many of the most monumental shrines in Europe, Japan’s Buddhist temples and shrines were very well built and attracted pilgrims and patrons with their elaborate designs and decoration. Japan is a country known for its booming success in tourism. Before anything else, you should know about some things regarding driving in Japan.

What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driver’s License (IDL)?

An International Driving Permit is a small grey booklet marginally larger than a passport containing a translation of your original driving license in 10 languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. It is recognized by 141 countries worldwide and is valid for one year.

In comparison, an International Driving License is not a legal document and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries or instead of an IDP.

Benefits of carrying an International Driving Permit

Not only does it complement your passport when traveling abroad, but you can also easily rent and drive an IDP-accepted foreign car. The IDP grants the holder the right to drive in all contracting states other than the country of residence, as long as the person holds a valid national driver’s license. A Contracting Party is a country that has signed one or more of the United Nations International Road Transport Conventions.

Foreign companies may not want to rent cars to foreigners without an international driver’s license. The International Driving Permit is a United Nations-approved legal document accepted by most domestic and international car rental companies as a valid driving license.

United Nations Convention on road traffic

The Convention was prepared and opened for signature by the United Nations Traffic Conference held in Vienna convention from October 7th to November 8th, 1968. The Secretary-General of the United Nations adopted it on July 27th, 1966, and May 26th, 1967, respectively, by U.N. Economic and Social Council Resolutions 1129 (XLI) and 1203 (XLII) 5. The conference also prepared and opened the Geneva Convention on Road Signs and Signals (see Chapter XI.B-20) and adopted the final law.

Driving requirements in Japan

Japan accepts an International Driving Permit (IDP). This is considered a valid I.D. to translate your driver’s license into the 12 most commonly used languages ​​worldwide. Whether your country’s driver’s license is in English or not, this document tells the local government that you are a driver who understands the Traffic Act, whether in urban or rural areas. This IDP provides a Japanese translation of all driver’s license information. U.S. citizens can Get their IDP from the American automobile association.

However, they can only be used for one year in Japan, although their validity is much longer. If you plan to use it for more than a year, you have to leave Japan and return home for at least three consecutive months before using it again in Japan.

To be able to drive a car in this country, you must be at least 18 years old and have passed written and practical tests. If you are under 18 or over 80, you can take the written exam, but not the practical one.

Driving in this country can be confusing for foreign tourists who do not know what documents to bring upon arrival. The following documents are required for foreigners to get when driving:

  • A passport
  • A state license
  • International Driving Permit (IDP)

Foreigners can also obtain a Japanese driving license in the city or countryside. However, this is only required if you plan to stay and drive in the country for at least three months and have a national residence permit.

Obtaining a Japanese driver’s license

If you already have a driver’s license in your country and plan to stay in Japan for a long time or live permanently, consider converting your driver’s license to Japanese. The first stop is the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF). This organization is the only organization that is allowed to translate existing licenses. You can download the application form from the Japan automobile federation website and visit the nearest office. You will need a residence permit, a copy of your residence card, and an application form. The cost of translation is about 3,000 yen, and it takes about a week to reach your home.

Once you receive the Japanese translation, you can request the order. Go to the nearest license testing center.

Renewing your IDP

The IDP is not a separate document for driving in the country, so you need a valid, non-expired driver’s license that you can present on request. If your driver’s license expires abroad, you will need to renew your driver’s license to continue driving in that country. The process of renewing a license varies significantly from country to country. License renewals may include vision tests that are not available online. You must return to your country of origin to renew your license. Most governments provide expatriates with online license renewal services.

For an IDP, all you need is your current driver’s license details, photo, and an I.D. to verify your identity for the application process on our website.

Driving a car

Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya are well-connected by well-equipped transport networks. Many people don’t own or hold driver’s licenses. But in the smaller cities, public transport is usually inconvenient and infrequent, so many rely on automobiles when traveling. Check out the guide for the rental of car rental in Japan.

Car rental in Japan

Here’s what you need to rent a car in this country: To do this, you must comply with the following requirements:

  • Passport
  • If you have been driving for less than three months, your country’s driver’s license
  • International Driving Permit (IDP) with Japanese translation
  • Japanese driving license during your longer stay

A country with many car rental companies. K.K. founded the first car rental company in 1928. Car Rental Co., Ltd. In the 1960s, the Japanese economy was booming, car ownership increased significantly, and many other car rental companies were established in the country. Car rental companies, home to world-renowned Japanese cars such as Toyota, Mitsubishi, and Nissan, offer these brands’ best and latest models. Whether you’re traveling in an SUV with your family, as a couple in a minivan, or traveling alone in a sedan while on a business trip in this country, there are many cars you can rent.

This country is one of the most expensive countries to rent a car, but there are still fair choices. Car rental costs vary by company and location; the price also depends on the season. Therefore, you can expect reasonably high rents if you travel all over the country during the high season. However, it’s generally not very expensive and can cost as much as $ 20 per day.

The role of mandatory insurance in the country is more than just protection, and it provides a social safety net and is the basis of the national pension system.

Japan has its own car insurance. National car insurance covers all car accidents, including fires, thefts, and damage to Japanese licensed cars due to natural disasters. Car insurance costs vary depending on the country – costs range from $ 1,000 to $ 2,000 per year.

Driving rules in Japan

The country has a very strict road system, and old regulations are constantly being updated to ensure the country’s road discipline and conditions. The following are some of the standard road traffic regulations in the country.

  • There is a drunk driving law in this country, which prohibits anyone from driving if they drink more than three times in a given period. In addition to this law, there are fines and penalties for drunk driving.
  • Drivers, cyclists, and drivers must drive on the left side of the road, as pedestrians are encouraged to stay on the right side to avoid breakdowns. Overtaking is a national legal term, which includes cases where a vehicle must overtake another vehicle on the right, and the driver cannot see the escape route. In such cases, the driver must slow down and wait for the opportunity to pass safely.
  • In some countries, horns can signal vehicles in front of you to move or warn vehicles that have cut lanes, but this is illegal in Japan. Indiscriminate barks are illegal in Japan, especially in major cities such as Tokyo and Shibuya.
  • It is illegal to drive with a mobile phone in the country. And if you’re distracted by the car’s navigation system, that also applies to this rule. Therefore, if a local government catches you, you will be fined.
  • Most Japanese drivers adhere to strict speed limits while driving. You never see them passing through cities or highways at high speeds. As a foreign driver, you are not exempt from national traffic regulations. These rules must be strictly adhered to by both local and foreign drivers. Below are the speed limits for foreigners who want to continue driving in this country.
  • General speed limit-60km / h (37mph)
  • Highway speed limit-100km / h
  • Urban area-40km / h
  • The person sitting in front should always buckle. You can use it if you have a seat belt for the back seat. In Thailand, children under 12 must sit in a child seat. They should not be allowed to use the front.
  • The legal driving age of the country is 18 years old without exception, which means that most of the population can drive by the age of 18. The same age requirements apply to rental cars. Japan has three types of licenses: L-2, L-3, and L-4. The first two are for learner drivers who have not passed the test yet and need to practice before getting a public transport driver’s license. The third type is for professional drivers who have passed the test and are allowed to drive publicly.

Top 6 Places to Visit in Japan

Mount Fuji

Arguably the most famous landmark in Japan, the magnificent Mt. Fuji (Mt. Fuji) is the highest mountain in Japan. Towering 3,776 meters above the flat landscapes of the south and east, this magnificent and legendary mountain is high enough to be seen from Tokyo, more than 100 kilometers away. Celebrated with art and literature for centuries, Mt. Fuji is now regarded as an essential icon, as UNESCO recognized the importance of world culture in 2013. Mt. Fuji, part of Fuji Hakone Izu National Park, is visited by more than 1 million people every summer, and you can watch the sunrise from the top of the mountain.

The imperial palace

Tokyo’s most famous landmark, the Imperial Palace, is a must-see when visiting the capital, with its beautiful 17th-century park surrounded by walls and moats. Don’t hesitate that most palaces aren’t open to the public (used by the imperial family), as there are plenty of things to see just by strolling around the grounds. In addition to the many beautiful views of the palace from many places in the surrounding green space, visitors can enter the East Gardens and other open areas on organized tours. One of the most romantic landscapes is the famous double bridge or “double bridge,” named after the reflection of water.


Kyoto, one of the most visited cities in Japan, attracts more than 10 million visitors annually. Many haven’t changed since the imperial family lived here over 1,000 years ago. Nevertheless, the city was the most important cultural center in Japan. Its heritage continues today, with many museums and art galleries full of important sculptures, paintings, and other art forms. The highlight of Kyoto’s Buddhist-influenced architecture is the many well-preserved temples, 30 still in use today. Also, visit Nijo Castle, a 17th-century fortress with its original walls, towers, and moats. The beautiful gates of the castle and the beautiful palace inside are also worth a visit.


Miyajima, just a short ferry ride from the mainland of Hiroshima, is known worldwide as the island of Japanese shrines. Miyajima, which covers an area of ​​30 square kilometers in Hiroshima Bay, is best known for its Itsukushima Shrine, a shrine dedicated to the daughter of the princess of the wind god Susanoo. Most of the shrine’s buildings were built in the 8th century and rise from the surface of a small bay supported only by stanchions. The effect at high tide is excellent, and these structures, including the famous Great Floating Gate (O-Torii), look as if they are floating in the water. Another notable feature is the shrine stage, where visitors can enjoy traditional dances and music performances.

Temple city in Nara

Beautiful and pristine, Nara has been the center of Japanese culture for centuries, with numerous historical buildings, important national treasures, and works of art. In addition to many historic streets, the city has many important ancient temples. These include perhaps the most famous of the seven great temples of Nara, the magnificent 7th-century Kofukuji Temple. And the magnificent 8th-century Todaiji Temple (Todaiji Temple), which is renowned for the huge statue of the Great Buddha (Big Buddha) cast here in 749. Also interesting at Todaiji Temple is the Dainanmon (Nandaimon). This magnificent two-story structure is supported by 18 pillars with two statues of Nio, 8 meters high, guarding the entrance to the temple. Also noteworthy here is the Hall of the Great Buddha, the largest wooden structure in the world.


How do I get an International Driving Permit in Japan?

You can apply for an IDP through our website easily. For the application, you will be required a valid driver’s license, passport-sized photographs, and I.D. for verification. The whole application process will take around 20 minutes.

Can you drive in Japan with International Driving Permit?

Foreign drivers may be allowed to drive in Japan on IDPs for at least one year, even if they have a shorter validity. The issuance of a driving permit for a foreign country is suspended after one year of valid driving privilege if the driver leaves Japan three times in succession.

How long does it take to get an IDP in Japan?

While you can receive an IDP in Japan by applying online, the online permit process takes around 20 minutes, and you can get one to your postal address in 2-30 days.

Is it easy to drive in Japan?

Driving is effortless in Japan. Roads in Japan are in good condition and easy to drive. Most road signs are in Japanese and English, but many warning signs such as “danger” are in Japanese.

Can tourists drive in Japan?

To drive in Japan, you need an IDP, a passport, and your own driver’s license. An IDP in Japan can be used for up to one year from the date of issue. After a year, you will need to get a Japanese driver’s license.

What side of the road should I drive in Japan?

In Japan, vehicles usually drive on the left side of the road. Be sure to follow all signs indicating the speed limit. The legal speed limit is 60 km / h on local roads and 100 km / h on highways.

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