License Requirements

Persons who wish to drive in Japan but are residents of another country and do not have a Japanese driver’s license must have a passport and International Driving Permit” that complies with the Geneva Convention”.
If you do not have your passport and International Driving Permit with you, a rental car/motorcycle cannot be leased to you,even if you have a reservation.
Write to us (info@japantouringsystem.com), if you have questions/concern for license requirements or need arrangements for an official Japanese translation.

You must have either of the following licenses to drive legally in Japan:

  • License 1. An international driving license (issued by a signatory to the 1949 Geneva Convention)
  • License 2. Foreign driving license (issued in Switzerland, Germany, France, Taiwan, Belgium, Slovenia or Monaco)

License 1

International Driving Permit that complies with Geneva Convention and displaying “Convention on International Road Traffic of 1949”.
List of Countries signed Convention on Road Traffic done at Geneva 1949

Asia / Oceania (19) Europe (34) Middle East, Africa (32)
Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, India, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of San Marino, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Vatican City (Holy See) Algeria, Barbados, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Cote dÃ…fIvoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Israel, Jordan, Kingdom of Lesotho, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Malta, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Republic of South Africa, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Syria, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe
Americas (15)
Argentina, Barbados, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America, Venezuela

If your driving license was issued in a country not listed above, you cannot drive in Japan.
An international driving license is valid for one year from the date of issuance (the date of issuance to be confirmed), and the period of validity for driving a car in Japan is one year from the date of entry into Japan (the date of entry to be confirmed with the entry stamp in the passport). Those with an international driving permit issued under different conventions (the 1926 Paris Convention, the 1943 Washington Convention and the 1968 Vienna Convention) are NOT allowed to drive in Japan.


License 2

If you have driving license issued in Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Monaco, Slovenia or Taiwan, by obtaining an official Japanese translation of your home country driving license, you are able to legally drive car/motorcycle in Japan.

The Japanese translation MUST be issued by the aforementioned country’s or region’s embassy or consulate in Japan, or by the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF).
The processing time varies depending on the issuing country, condition, content of the driver’s license, and days required for issuance.
*If you would like us to handle the translation, it will cost 10,000 yen / license.
We would just require that you send us a high-resolution color scan of your license.


NOTE:
Italy, Poland and Russia signed both the: 1949 Geneva Convention on road traffic/1968 Vienna Convention on road traffic.
Therefore authorities of these countries have rights to issue IDPs based on both conventions, but they usually issue IDPs based on the 1968 Vienna Convention. However Japan only recognizes IDPs issued based on the 1949 Convention. If you can obtain an IDP based on the 1949 Geneva Convention (‘1949 Convention’ is written on the front cover) then you can drive in Japan. But with an IDP based on the 1968 Vienna Convention you cannot drive in Japan.

In the USA, only two organizations are allowed to sell real, legal IDPs: the American Automobile Association, and the American Automobile Touring Alliance, which offers IDPs through the National Automobile Club.

International licenses issued by the International Automobile Association (IAA) cannot be used in Japan.

An International Driving Permit will be valid for one year from the date of issue. An expired permit cannot be used.

In all cases, drivers are required to present their passport, an international driving permit, their local driving license and an official Japanese translation when renting a vehicle at our store.
Again, if you do not have the required documents with you, a rental car/motorcycle cannot be leased to you, even if you have a reservation.