Driving In Japan
Drive on the left-hand side of the road
In Japan, vehicles usually drive on the left-hand side of the road.
Be sure to obey any signs that indicate a speed limit.
The legal speed limit is 60 km per hour on general roads and 100 km per hour on expressways.
The steering wheel is on the right side in Japan
In Japan, the steering wheel is on the right side. Make sure you obey the traffic laws and drive safely.
Wear your seatbelt while driving
All vehicle occupants in all seats must wear seatbelts. You can be penalized if seat belts are not worn.
Children under six years of age must be seated in child seats.
A red light always means “stop”
If the light facing you is red, stop and wait for it to turn green.
Follow the green arrow
If the light facing you is red, you must stop and wait for a green light. However, if you have a green arrow, you can turn only in the direction indicated by the arrow.
No turning is allowed at red lights
All cars must stop when the traffic light in front of them turns red, and are not permitted to go until the light turns green. This includes vehicles traveling straight ahead, as well as vehicles turning left.
Vehicles turning right must yield
In Japan, vehicles turning left get the right-of-way. If you are turning right, the oncoming vehicle has the right-of-way. Wait until the oncoming vehicle has gone straight or turned left before you turn right. Pedestrians always have the right-of-way, whether you are turning left or right, so pay adequate attention to pedestrians when turning.
Be aware of no-passing zones
Passing is forbidden in zones with a yellow center line. Wait until you have gone through the no-passing zone and are able to pass in a safe manner.
Call 110 for the police, and 119 for ambulance and fire assistance
If you are in an accident, first collect yourself and then look around to determine what you should do.
Contact the police by calling the number 110, and describe the accident and its location. If anyone is injured, call the number 119 to summon an ambulance. You must call the police even in the case of a minor accident.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is strictly forbidden
You cannot drive after drinking alcohol. If alcohol is detected during a breathalyzer test, you will be penalized for driving under the influence. You may also be penalized if you refuse to take the test.
The ban on drinking and driving extends to those who encourage it, and passengers who have not drunk as well as those who have encouraged you to drink can also face penalties.
Temporary stops require a complete stop
You must stop the vehicle completely and look both ways to ensure it is safe.
Always stop at railway crossings
Be sure to stop in front of the crossing, and look both ways to ensure there is no train coming, as well as at the road in front of you to confirm that you can cross the tracks safely.
Talking on a cell phone while driving is strictly forbidden
There are penalties for talking on a handheld cell phone while driving and for focusing on a screen to send or receive text messages.