Japanese Driving Licences

Find out about getting a Japanese driving licence and learning to drive a car or motorbike in Japan...

Individuals who cannot convert a licence from their home country must apply for a Japanese licence. The procedures are the same as for native Japanese drivers. In this case the written and practical tests, to be taken at a local driving centre, are much harder than when converting a licence. An aptitude test must be taken along with the full Japanese written and practical tests.

The full written test has 100 "true or false" questions. To pass, 90 percent of the questions must be answered correctly. The test can only be taken in English in the following cities: Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba, Osaka, Kyoto, Aichi, Hyogo, Hokkaido, Saitama, Niigata, Shizuoka, Miyagi and Tokushima.

The practical test is both longer and harder than the one needed to convert a foreign licence. Many Japanese people pay to have tuition at one of the country's designated driving schools. Graduating from one of these schools exempts an individual from the practical examination. To take the practical examination, a local driving licence centre should be contacted to find out details and test dates.

Rules for New Drivers

For the first year after receiving a Japanese driving licence, an individual is considered to be a new driver and must display a "new driver" sticker on their car. If a new driver accumulates a certain number of penalty points they are fined and have to attend a new driver's lecture.

Driving Licence for a Scooter/Moped

In Japan a driving licence to ride a scooter can be applied for at the age of 16. A Japanese driving licence or an international driving permit, stamped "B", is necessary to drive scooters and mopeds.

To obtain a scooter/moped licence candidates must pass the following:

  • An aptitude test
  • A 30 minute written test

They must also have approximately three hours of driving instruction at a driving centre.

A local prefecture driving centre should be contacted directly to find out what documents are necessary.

  • For a list of driving licence centres: Click here

Driving Licence for a Motorbike

In Japan a motorbike licence can be applied for at the age of 18. A Japanese motorbike driving licence or an international driving permit, stamped "A", is necessary to drive motorbikes.

To get a Japanese motorbike licence an individual must take an aptitude test and pass written and practical exams. Many Japanese go to a designated driving school for tuition. Graduation from one of these schools means a candidate does not need to sit the practical exam. A local driving centre should be contacted to find out what documents are needed to get a licence.

  • For a list of driving licence centres: Click here

Further Information