Drive in Japan

Although Japan has an efficient public transportation network, it can save you a lot of time if you drive especially in smaller cities or when you travel around the country. Today, we will be taking a look at the basics of driving in Japan.


You must be at least 18 years old and will either need a Japanese driver’s licence or an international driving permit. Switzerland, Slovenia, Germany, France, Belgium, Monaco, and Taiwan do not issue permits based on the 1949 Geneva Convention, but instead drivers from these countries are able to drive with an official Japanese translation of their driver’s license.

General Traffic Rules in Japan

All vehicles must drive on the left side of the road. Fasten all seat belts on highways, put children on car seats, and no cell phone usage while driving – these are all obligated under government law. Note Japanese highways generally cost more money than in other countries. It is good to have an ETC card (Electronic Toll Collection System: automatic deduction from your credit card account) in your car to save time at toll booths. Drivers with no ETC cards must pass the 一般 lane and go through manual process.

Parking Areas

Generally drivers are required to pick parking tickets at the entrance and pay at the exit based on time length. Some parking lots do not issue tickets, and have drivers pay by entering their parking lot numbers at the machine before departure.


It may sound stressful at first but you will get used to it in no time. If you need any assistance at the car rental receptions or gas stations, let us know and we will be there for you to help.


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