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Getting a driver's license in Japan

By: staff

Date: Sunday, 03. June 2007

Japan has a reputation around the world as one of the toughest licensing system with high standards of training. The links provided below provide some sources of information on this topic but can take no responsibility for the reliability of the information.

Useful links

Melf's online book about driving in Japan

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i have expired local license, can i obtain japanese license? pls send me email pls some help.

Ken Zen Ichii,

This comment may be too late but i find this subject interesting.

first: Max maybe you already know the answer but just in case here is the answer regarding Bikes. Restriction for motorcycle is different here in Japan. In the Phil restriction 1 is for all type of motorcycles but in Japan there are 3 types namely, Futsu is up to 250CC class then chu gata which I think up to 400CC then the Ogata which covers the big bikes.

Second: Jenny I am sorry but I think you misinterprete the meaning of the word NEITHER with EITHER. Japanese english is somewhat....errr...bad but in this case the translation is correct. Must Neither change lanes means you should not change lane.

Third: International Lincense are valid for a period of 1 year from date of issue but as the law(Geneva Convention on International driving)states it can only be used in a foreign country for a period of 3 mos. So one can use his/her international license in four different counties within a year.

fourth: Luke If you use to have a Jap drivers license you can report it lost and they can retrieve the data from the database. If it is not expired they will issue you a new one but if it is expired they will check your visibilty ability and hearing ability. You dont need to go back from zero.

fifth: Stefanie, US intl license are issued by 2 US agencies one is the AAA. Embassies do not issue them. You need to go to at least hawaii to secure one.


hello guys..

my philippine drivers license restrction code is "1 & 2" (1 for motorcycle & 2 for car).
the question is, a friend of mine keep telling me to remove my "code 1" if il be applying for a japanese driver license.. im confused y?

anyone got the same issue!?


I don`t know how the Japanese people manage the english written test in driving to get a license. It is really questionable how did they come up with the right answers to all the 100 items questions. I took the exam, and in the first set I tried, i knew I got almost all the answers correct because I almost memorized all the principles of the book `The Road Rules Manual' but i was not able to passed. When I got home after that test, i checked the book again and try to look all the questions I have remembered, and I got it right. but debastatingly I did`t passed. The second time I tried the set of questions are so easy and simple. I answered it correctly I alsmost memorized the questions until now, after the exam I am preety sure that I almost got the correct asnwer only 3 or 4 items i think I got confused when I answer the test. But again surprisingly I didn`t passed. I think there is something wrong not only the on grammar but I think the answers are switching, its either the right answer is really O but the japanese answer to such particular quetions is X like what I have noticed in the exercises book.
it is written like this:
The picture is "NO OVERTAKING" and the question in english is this "On roads where traffic sign as shown in the figure is posted, motorized bicycles and other automobile must neither change lanes to overtake the vehicle in front of them nor pass the vehicle ahead. the translation in japanese is this このひょしきがある場所(ばしょ)では、じどうしゃや原動(げんどう)きつきじてんしゃをおいこずため、しんろをかえたり,ずぎてはならない。。。。。if you will analyze the question in english the answer is no X because of the word MUST NEITHER meaning you need to do it. but the translation in japanese the ansswer is off course yes O .bucause of the the word ならない the correct answer written in the book is O. kakaloka di ba? I think the japanese people inside the menkyou center should try to look for an expert who can translate the english test correctly, meaning grammatically correct, like the written test in Chinese. It is really unfair because other nationality like filipino tried to get the exam for many times, 10 times or more,before they passed, some gaved up because they can`t make it anymore while the chinese national majority of them who took the exam got it in just one take. not only filipinos but even american jin suffered from these caos. I urge the Japanese to please read these and take action we are also human like you please be fair.

Raul Morata,

well,we all have the same problem.I've been here for 9yrs.and did try scooter test and failed 9time.desperate also to have license.



Check out our driving in the Phillipines section
it may not be too difficult to get a phillipines license.

ivy sugitomo,

good many months required to stay in the philippines?the international license was is true that we need to stay 90 days..after the releasing of license?help



This is a nice topic and I found a article online about how to get a Philippine drivers license. Please see link below staff,

drivers staff writes:
Hi Grace - the 'Iberaki' link above should help you with this query


Im a military spouse. I have a USA California license, do i need to take all the test in order for me to get a Japan drivers license?


If anyone had a SOFA drivers license, then separated and came back to japan, the process for a Japanese drivers license is very easy. It only took one day with no tests and i they issued me Japanese license.

Yes, you can get a divers license on a tourist visa, you do not need to be a resident. I did it this way


You will need to be a resident of japan to get a japanese license.


I was born in Mexico but i want to start driving in Japan. Is it possible to get a drivers license in Japan although you were born in Mexico?


i am trying to get my japanese licence.i lost my licence in australia so i have 2 start from scratch,i havent the money to go 2 a driveing school in japan..i passed my learners with not that mutch drama but took the drivers licence theroy test yesterday an agree ,how can i pass this test if the questions are not writen properly ,some of the questions contradict them selves .any help would be grate thanks


how can i get a drivers lisence
in japan? im a japanese spouse..
what is the requirements...???


im taking a test for a student permit, i take 5 times now but until now i cannot pass the not the only one who had this problem,many said the english test is not correctly written thats why we dont understand it very much. how can we pass the test if the question is not correctly written...pls. help me! ill wait for response.


Does anyone know a way to get an international driver's license while you are in Japan if you are from America?

kushal dhital,

hi i am nepali. i have nepali license and i am how to change Japanese license. Your country have onlinesystem?


i have a philippine driver license before..but last year i change my a japanese now but cannot speak nihonggo well.. how can i get a japanese license? i change my name and nationality..



We just put up a link which will help. Go here . All these links will help, particularly the one we just put up JAPAN GUIDE - DRIVING


hi im from america and i have a valid TX state driver`s license. i just renewed it and i was wondering what do i need to get a valid japanese driver`s license in kanagawa. i have been here for over 7 years and have a valid spouse visa plz help me im desperate...


hi there just want to know if maebashi in gunma has english written test plz help anyone


Mercy, you can't change your International License into a Japanese license. The IDL is only a translation of your own license as a resident of wherever you live. You have to apply for a Japanese license based on your home country license.


advice pls. I want to change my international drivers liscense into japanese liscense, what shall i do?,

I whent driver licesen of japan ,how can i tek?

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