Driver’s licenses which permit driving of automobiles in Japan are as follows:

  • Japanese driver’s license
  • International driving permit
  • Foreign driver’s licenses

Japanese Driver’s License

Driver’s licenses issued by public safety commissions in Japan.

International Driving Permit

International driving permit issued in one of the signatory countries/territories (not including Japan)
of the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (1949).

Must be able to simultaneously present passport.

Notes:

  • International driving permits are valid for one (1) year from the date of issue (be sure to confirm the date of issue) and their validity for driving in Japan is one (1) year from the date of landing in Japan (confirmed by the immigration stamp in the passport showing the date of landing in Japan).
  • However, persons on the basic resident register who leave Japan and subsequently re-enter the country within less than three (3) months will not have their re-entry date considered as their date of landing (the start date for driving eligibility in Japan).
  • International driving permit acquired from signatory countries to the Paris Convention (1926), the Washington Convention (1943) or the Vienna Convention (1968) are not recognized.

Foreign Driver’s Licenses

Drivers with licenses issued by Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Slovenia, Monaco or Taiwan must be able to simultaneously present their passport and a Japanese translation of their driver’s license.

Notes:

  • Japanese translation of the driver’s license must be issued by the respective country’s embassy or consulate in Japan or by the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF).
  • For Taiwanese licenses, a Japanese translation of the driver’s license must be issued by the JAF or the East Asia Relations Commission.
  • Foreign driver’s licenses are valid for driving in Japan for one (1) year from the date of landing in Japan (confirmed by the immigration stamp in the passport showing the date of landing in Japan) or until the expiration date of the foreign license, whichever is earlier.
  • However, persons on the basic resident register who leave Japan and subsequently re-enter the country within less than three (3) months, will not have their re-entry date considered as their date of landing (the start date for driving eligibility in Japan).