After entry to Japan, you are allowed to drive up to 12 months with a valid international driving permit. If you leave Japan for 3 consecutive months, the clock starts again. Remember to keep your eyes on the expiration of your international license.
For short periods of time, you can drive in Japan with an International Driving Permit.
However, if you plan to buy a car or reside in Japan for a long period of time, you will need to convert the driver’s license issued by your home country to a Japanese driver’s license.
*International Driving Permits cannot be transferred.
How to convert a Foreign Driver’s License into a Japanese Driver’s License
To change your driver’s license, you will have to meet certain conditions:
- Your length of stay at the issuing country of your foreign driver’s license must exceed three months after the license was issued.
- Your foreign driver’s license must be valid (expired driver’s license will not be accepted).
You must pass the following three tests:
- Aptitude test
- Japanese traffic rules knowledge check
- Driving skill check
*If your driver’s license is issued from the following countries, you are only required to pass the aptitude test and are exempted from Japanese traffic rule knowledge check and driving skill check.
Iceland, Ireland, United Kingdom, Italy, Austria, Australia, Netherlands, Canada, Greece, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Korea, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Finland, France, Portugal, and Luxemburg.
- All forms of your foreign license For example, British citizens are required to provide both the paper and card copies.
- Japanese translation of your foreign driver’s license by either the embassy of your country or JAF
- One official transcript of your Resident Card (no copies) including a record of your place of registry, or your Foreign Resident’s Registration Card
- One picture taken in the last six months (3 cm [H]/2.4 cm [W])
- Processing fee
*If your foreign driver’s license does not indicate the date of issue, you will need to provide a document that will prove the said same. Find more information at MyToyota.jp