Driving in Japan

Here is our essential guide for driving in Japan. Including essential information on emergency contacts, road signs and alcohol limits.

Is there a special number to call in the event of a problem?

In the event of an accident: 

- the police. The number is 110.
- an ambulance or the fire service if there is anyone injured. The number is 119.
- your local Nissan rental branch. The number of your rental branch is indicated on your reservation form.

In the event of a breakdown: 

- the Japan Automobile Federation or JAF offers a 24/7 support service for problems on the road. If you call between 09:00 and 18:00 you will be able to talk to an English-speaking operative. Outside of these times the
service is in Japanese.
he number is 0570-00-8139 or #8139 from your mobile phone.
- your local Nissan rental branch to let them know that the car has broken down. The phone number of your rental branch is indicated on your reservation form.

If you have subscribed to our Drivin’ Assistance service, the number where you can reach our team in Japan will automatically be sent to you with the confirmation of your order.

Are road signs only in Japanese?

In the majority of cases, road signs, particularly place names, are also indicated in Roman letters.
However, occasionally this is not the case, for example on country roads or more remote areas.

It is therefore advisable to have maps available and be equipped with a GPS.



The highway code signs correspond to international standards, there should be no big surprises, but they can be slightly different.

To learn more, refer to our article on road signs and driving rules in Japan.


What is legal alcohol limit for driving in Japan ?

Driving in Japan under the influence of alcohol is strictly prohibited. The limit is 0.03 g of alcohol in the blood. That is to say one beer on average for women and a little more than one beer for men, and you would be over the limit.

It is also against the law to ALLOW someone to drive when they have been drinking or to lend a car to someone who has been drinking or to serve alcohol to anyone who has to drive. If you are a car passenger where you suspect the driver is under the influence of alcohol, you are yourself effectively in breach of the law.

Punishment varies from a fine to imprisonment. A fine will also be given to anyone who refuses to take a breathalyser test.

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