Can I drive in Japan with an international driving permit?

PLEASE BE AWARE, it is not possible to drive in Japan with just your driving licence issued in your home country. This is not sufficient and you will not be allowed to collect a rental car and will be prosecuted if caught driving in Japan.
To drive in Japan you need to have either of the following types of documentation:

Scenario 1: International Driving Permit + Passport + Home Country Driving Licence


If your driving licence is issued by one of the countries in the following list:

Asia The
Philippines
Africa Rwanda Europe Luxembourg
India Senegal San Marino
Thailand Sierra Leone Vatican
Bangladesh Togo Kyrgyz
Republic
Malaysia Tunisia Slovakia
Singapore Uganda Czech
Republic
Sri Lanka Zimbabwe Americas The United
States of
America
Cambodia Namibia Canada
Laos Burkina Faso Peru
South Korea Nigeria Cuba
Middle
East
Turkey Europe United
Kingdom
Ecuador
Israel Greece Argentina
Syria Norway Chili
Cyprus Denmark Paraguay
Jordan Sweden Barbados
Lebanon The
Netherlands
The
Dominican
Republic
United Arab
Emirates
Italy Guatemala
Africa South Africa Russia Haiti
Central Africa Serbia Trinidad and Tobago
Egypt Montenegro Venezuela
Ghana Spain Jamaica
Algeria Finland Oceania New
Zealand
Morocco Portugal Fiji
Botswana Austria Australia
Democratic
Republic of
the Congo
Poland Papua New
Guinea
Congo The
Republic of
Georgia
Administrative regions Hong-Kong
Benin Ireland Macau
Côte d'Ivoire Hungary
Lesotho Romania
Madagascar Iceland
Malawi Bulgaria
Mali Malta
Niger Albania


It may be possible to drive in Japan with an International Driving Permit for a period of up to one year after this period, you must obtain a Japanese Driving Licence.

Be careful, however, Japan only recognises International Driving Permits based on the 1949 Geneva Convention. International Driving Permits conforming to the model of the Vienna Convention or other conventions are not valid.  Before arriving in Japan you must obtain your International Driving Permit from the national Automobile Association in the country which issued your licence.

CAREFUL: International Driving Permits emanating from certain countries such as France, Belgium, Germany, Monaco, Slovenia, Switzerland and Taiwan, are not recognised.

Scenario 2Home Country Driving Licence + Passport + Official Japanese Translation of Licence


 

Nationals holding a driver's licence from France, Belgium, Germany, Monaco, Slovenia, Switzerland and Taiwan are unable to use the International Driving Permits issued in these countries. To be able to drive in Japan you must obtain an official translation in Japanese of their driving licence.
Such translation can be done through the JAF (Japan Automobile Association).
Alternatively you can benefit from our driver's licence translation service and we will take care of all the details for you.

CAREFUL: At the time of your renting your vehicle, you will be required to show your original licence along with its translation as well as your passport.

A translation of your driving licence is valid for the entire validity of the licence. Keep it safe so that you can use it for any subsequent trips to Japan.

If your country does not issue International Driving Permits based on the 1949 Geneva Convention or does not have an agreement with Japan regarding official driving licence translations then your driving licence is not covered by either of the two scenarios above. We are sorry but you will not be able to rent a car or drive in Japan without obtaining a Japanese driving licence.

CAREFUL: The regulations for driving in Japan change and do change often so we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information contained herein, not be held responsible for any situation arising from the use of the information contained on this page. If you have any doubts about the requirements to be able to drive in Japan, please consult your local Japanese Embassy.

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