Speed Limits and Types of Road

Information about the types of road, speed limits and parking regulations in Japan...

Types of Road

The following types of road are found in Japan:

  • Expressways / Highways: These roads form a national traffic network connecting areas which are politically, economically and culturally important to the country. They are toll roads; drivers collect a ticket from an automated machine when they join an expressway and pay when they leave. The amount charged varies with the type of vehicle
  • General national highways
  • Prefectural roads: These make up the regional road network
  • Municipal roads: Roads within a city, town or village

Japanese roads are generally in good condition; the main problem on the roads tends to be congestion. It is common for roads to have either two or four lanes, or six in urban areas. In rural areas, some roads have one narrow lane.

  • For a guide to driving on Japanese expressways: Click here

Speed Limits

The speed limit is generally between 80-100 Km per hour on expressways, 50-60 Km per hour elsewhere and 30-40 Km per hour in urban areas. These speed limits can be enforced by speed cameras and police on any road at any time. The fines imposed on people caught speeding are high and also include demerit (penalty) points.

Breakdown and Recovery

There are a number of recovery companies which provide assistance to drivers in the event of a breakdown:


In Japan it is against the law to park a vehicle in the following places:

  • In zones where there is a road sign or marking on the pavement indicating no stopping
  • In a tunnel
  • On, or within five metres of the edge of an intersection
  • Within three metres of the automobile entrance of a garage, car-park or similar
  • On pedestrian or cycle crossings and railway lines
  • Within ten metres of a bus stop or a bus stop sign
  • Within five metres of the edge of an area of road works
  • Within five metres of a fire hydrant, water tank or other fire safety equipment

Parking fines are imposed on drivers who park in areas where it is prohibited to do so. On receiving a parking ticket the fine must be paid by the date given on the statement of payment which accompanies the ticket. Fines can be paid through banks and post offices. If a fine is not paid by the given deadline, the offender receives an official letter informing them of the additional fee, or default interest, they are now liable for.