Driving Information

The roads in Japan are quite narrow and crowded with residents so there are many accidents.Please follow the rules of the road both when you are driving and when you are a pedestrian,so as not to be involved in nor cause any accidents.

(1) Driver's License
A valid International driver's license or a valid Japanese driver's license is necessary to drive in Japan.The minimum driving age is 18 years.
(A) International Driver's License
Those people who have an international driver's license issued in a country belonging to the Geneva Convention and who meet the following two requirements at the same time can drive vehicles within the terms and conditions of their license.
1) The international driver's license must be valid having been issued within the past year.
2) It must be less than one year since the license holder came to Japan.(For frequent tralt velers,a year or less from the date of your final landing in japan.)
An international driver's license is valid for one year from the date of issue.It must be renewed yearly for a total of three years,depending on the rules of the country where your license was issued.Contact the appropriate authorities in your home country for more information.When an international driver's license is no longer valid,a Japanese driver's license must obtained.
(B) Obtaining a Japanese Driver's License
1) Where to go
People should apply in person to the License Center (Unten Menkyo Sentaa) in Akita City
License Center  12-1 Minami Hamacho,Araya,Akita City
2) When to apply
Business hours are from 8:30amto 4:30pm.License application hours are from 8:30am to 9:30am Monday to Friday.The License Center asks that you come once before applying for your license to get the necessary paperwork and familiarize yourself with the course.Please go to window #23 with any questions.Those who do not understand Japanese should visit the office with someone who does.
3) Documents needed when applying
A valid foreign driver's license which was issued at least three months prior to arrival in Japan.
An official translation of the foreign driver's license.If your license is from an English speaking country then the center will translate it for you.If you are not from an English speaking country you will need to find an official translator.
A valid passport.
An Alien Registration Card.
A centified copy of Alien Registration (available from the office where you are registered).
A passport type photo (3cm×4.2cm),either black and white or color.
A license fee of \2,100 plus an additinal fee of \1.700 for auto licenses and \2,600 for motorcycle licenses.
4) Tests
there is no written or road test for those people who drive on the same side of the road as Japan in their home county.However,everyone must take an eye test and those who drive on the opposite side of the road must take a written and driving test.

(2) Owing a Car
If you own private a car you must fulfill the following legal obligations.
(A) Have a parking place
The vehicle must have its own fixed and exclusive garage or other space sufficient to accomodate the parked vehicle.When buying a car,the dealer often asks to see proof of parking.
(B) Register the vehicle
All vehicles must the registered,with the registration number appearing on the license plate.The license plate must be attached to the vehicle.
(C) Have it inspected
All vehicles must be periodically unspected.The inspection sticker is glued on to the windshield.You can tell the year of the next inspection by the color of the sticker.Note that the month for the inspection is designated by the big number on the sticker.
(D) Insurance
In Japan,it is compulsory that all owners of automobiles and motorcycles take out an “Automobile Liability Insurance”policy.In the past,there have been cases where drivers have not been able to pay enough to cover the damages and make up for the economic loss of the suffered victim(s) with this compulsory insurance policy.Sometimes the damages paid with this policy are simply not enough.Most automobile owners also buy “Optional Insurance”as well as the compulsory insurance.
(E) Protect your car and your liability
It's against the law to let an unlicensed individual,or one who has been drinking,drive your automobile.Hang on to your keys closely so that your car is not stolen neither driven without your permission.

(3) Japan Auto Federation
The Japan Auto Federation (JAF) offers emergency road repairs and towing service to its members nationwide.It also publishes a very useful English language guide to driving in Japan.JAF membership costs \2,000 for signing up and \4,000 annually.For further information contact the JAF Akita Branch.
Japan Auto Federation (Nihon Jidosha Renmei)
2-1 Okawa-machi,Kawashiri,Akita City 018-864-8492

(4) Road and Traffic Information

The following information centers offer free information on road and traffic conditions.However,they are all in Japanese.
Nationwide and Kanto Area 03-3264-1331
Tohoku Area 022-225-7711
Tohoku Expressway 019-638-8770
Akita Prefecture 018-862-7744


(1)手続きを行う場所 運転免許センター 018-862-7570 秋田市新屋南浜町12-1
外国人の自動車運転免許証 外国の自動車運転免許証の日本語訳 パスポート
外国人登録証 外国人登録済証 写真1枚

(A) 自動車の保管場所の確保など
(B) 自動車の登録
(C) 自動車の検査
(D) 保険
(E) 自動車の管理


全国、関東情報  03-3264-1331
東北情報     022-225-7711
東北高速道路情報 019-638-8770
秋田県内情報   018-862-7744