In order to drive in Japan, you must own one of the following driver's licenses:
- Japanese driver's license (for those residing in Japan) Driving license issued by the Public Safety Commission of Japan
- International driving license and passport License issued and following the format established by the Geneva Convention
- Foreign driver's license, Japanese translation of the license, and passport Driver's license issued in Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, Slovenia, Monaco, or Taiwan
International Driver's License
Use the checklist below to verify that your license qualifies as an international driver's license issued in accordance with the Geneva Convention, as well as that the license is valid in terms of period and vehicle type.
Only international driver's licenses that are issued in accordance with the 1949 Geneva Convention and by the signatories of the convention are valid for driving in Japan. Such licenses will also require the presentation of one's passport.
- (1) Size
- Is the license 148 inches wide by 105 inches high?
- (2) Color
- Is the license grey?
- (3) Country of issue
- Is the country a Geneva Convention signatory?
- (4) Name of Treaty
- Does the text read, "CONVENTION ON ROAD TRAFFIC OF 19 SEPTEMBER 1949"?
- (5) Required Information
- Are the family name, given name, place of birth, date of birth, and address completed?
- (6) Validity Period
- Is it still within one year of the date of issue?
- (7) License Category
- The category must be "D" to drive a 10-passenger seater in classes WB or WC. Category "B" suffices for other vehicle types
|Category||Type of vehicle for which this license is valid|
|A||Motor cycles, with or without a side-car, invalid carriages and three-wheeled motor vehicles with an unladen weight not exceeding 400kg(900lbs.).|
|B||Motor vehicles used for the transport of passengers and comprising in addition to the driver's seat, at most eight seats, or those used for the transport of goods and having a permissible maximum weight not exceeding 3,500kg(7,700lbs.). Vehicles in this category max be coupled with a light trailer.|
|C||Motor vehicles used for the transport of goods and of which the permissible maximum weight exceeds 3,500kg (7,700lb). Vehicles in this category maybe coupled with a light trailer.|
|D||Motor vehicles used for the transport of passengers and comprising, in addition to the driver's seat, more than eight seats. Vehicles in this category maybe coupled with a light trailer.|
|E||B, C or D above with attachment|
Driving with a non-Japanese driver's license
Citizens from one of the six countries and one region listed below may drive in Japan by presenting the driver's license issued by one's own country, together with its Japanese translation.
- Swiss Confederation
- Federal Republic of Germany
- French Republic
- Kingdom of Belgium
- Republic of Slovenia
- Principality of Monaco
- Republic of China (Taiwan)
Japanese translations may be obtained at the Japanese embassy or consulate of the respective country (East Asia Relations Commissions for Taiwan) or the Japan Automobile Federation).