Driving in Japan

Driving in Japan for first-time renters and drivers in Japan. It has information on the Japanese license, traffic rules, traffic signs, and how to deal with accidents. Please read when driving a rental car in Japan.

Driving license permitted in Japan

Using international driving permit

International Driving Permit

You will need your passport and International Driving Permit (IDP), recognized under the Geneva Convention. The IDP must have an expiry date of one year after issue. It will be valid in Japan one year after entering the country (immigration stamp). IDP recognized under the Paris Convention (1926), Washington Convention (1943), Vienna Convention (1968) are not permitted in Japan. *IDP issued in Japan will not be accepted.

List of the contracting countries of the Convention at Geneva 1949

Using foreign driving permit

If you hold a driving permit from Switzerland, Germany, France, Taiwan, Belgium, Slovenia, Monaco, you may use your driving permit in Japan for one year after arrival, as along as you provide a Japanese translation of the permit. Please bring both documents and passport to our store.

Issuing a Japanese translation

You may issue a Japanese translation at your embassy, consulate, or JAF. Click on the following link to find out more about JAF. If you hold a permit from Taiwan, you must issue a translation from JAF or the East Asia Relations Commission.

JAF Foreign Support

For those who would like to rent either a WC class vehicle (van) or micro-bus

D: Large Vehicles (10 or more people) a reservation.

Please double check that your international license has a stamp in the D-Box.
This will allow you to rent out larger vehicles such as WC class vehicles and micro-buses.

If you do not have a stamp on this section, you will not be allowed to drive Large Vehicles in Japan. Please confirm before making a reservation.

Information about driving in Japan

Observe the traffic laws.

In the last year, there has been 3 death accidents by foreigners at AVIS Rent-a-Car.
List of important Japanese traffic laws for your safety

Keep to the left side of the street.

In Japan, cars must keep to the left side of the street. Please drive under the legal limit on street with traffic signs indicating speed limit.

Please fasten your seat belt while driving.

You must fasten your seat belt in all seats. You'll be fined if you violate this law.

Traffic signals

Green means to drive, red means to stop. Wait until it turns green if it's red. However, if the green arrow is lit, you may drive toward the direction of the arrow.

Please refrain from talking on the cellphone while driving.

You will be fined if you use your cellphone while driving. You will be fined even when you operate on your phone to check or send messages as well.

Please do not park on the street.

Parking on the street is violating the law, and you may be targeted for inspection even if parked for a short period. You can be fined up to \18,000.

Information about child safety seats

Use child safety seats for children under 6.

When turning right, you must give priority to other cars driving straight.

In Japan, cars must keep to the left side of the street. When turning right, you must give priority to oncoming cars driving straight and turning left before turning right.

Pedestrians are prioritized anywhere

Regardless of turning right or left, pedestrians are prioritized. Be careful with pedestrians while turning right or left.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is prohibited.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal. Never drink and drive! Also, the person who provides car for those intoxicated will be severely punished.

Emergency contact number: 110 for police, 119 for ambulance or fire truck

In the case of an accident, first, check your condition, then call an ambulance via 119 if there are any injuries and police via 110 to report the location. You must call the police no matter how small the accident is.

In Japan, stop signs are triangular shaped.

Internationally, stop signs are usually octangular shaped, however in Japan, stop signs are red, reverse-triangular shape that says "止まれ (STOP)" in Japanese.

Stop

Stop completely at the "止まれ (STOP)" sign, and check your left and right. You must always stop at the railway crossings even without the stop sign.

Information about traffic signs

Basic traffic signs

Other traffic signs and rules (pdf)

Information about renting and returning

Renting vehicles

Please bring these items to the store on the day of departure.

All drivers must have a license. Everyone who drives must show their license. You are required to have a valid license in Japan, eligible for the vehicle you are driving.
If you find any damage on the car when renting, contact us regardless of the degree of damage.

What to do in case of a parking violation…

If you commit a parking violation during the renting period, the police station will contact us. Afterwards, we will request you to move the rented car and report to the police station. Before returning the car, you must report to the police station and complete a specified procedure and pay the fine. You must provide a "receipt" with a stamp and "documents you received at the police station" to our staff before returning.

※If you did not report to the police, or have not paid your fine, you will be required to sign an acknowledgment specified by us.

※If you do not deal with your violation, we will report to the police, public safety commission, and All Japan Rent-a-car association, and you will be prohibited to rent cars from our company and other companies affiliated with All Japan Rent-a-car association.

In case of an accident, you must call our Help Desk (092-687-5139) and the police (110).

Video for Measures Against Traffic Accidents

We introduce measures against traffic accidents in the video. Please watch to drive safely in Japan.

Short Ver.

Long Ver.

If you want to rent a car in Japan, use AVIS Rent a Car