How to get a valid driver’s license in Japan:日本国内で使える免許証を手に入れる方法

There are two ways to get a license. One is to take a written test at your local driver’s license center after completing lessons at driving school and the other is called “Ippatsu-Shiken: direct exam” taking a practical test and a written test at local Driver’s License Center. However, the latter one is so difficult to pass that you might have to take it over and over. Many people complete lessons at driving school and take a written test at the driver’s license center to get a driver’s license.




Go to driving school in Japan :日本国内の自動車教習所じどうしゃきょうしゅうじょに通う

The most common way to get the license in Japan is to complete the lessons at driving school and then take a test at the Driver’s License Center.


Advantage of going to driving school in Japan :日本国内の教習所にかようメリット

After completing the lesson at driving school, you are exempted from practical exams at the Driver’s License Center. You also learn the contents for the written exam, so the pass rate of the exam will increase.



Cautions for going to driving school in Japan:日本国内の教習所に通う場合の注意ちゅういてん

Although there are schools that provide lessons in English and Chinese, they are only a few. So, the basic skills of conversation and writing Japanese will be required.



How to convert a foreign license to Japanese one:母国で取得した免許証を日本で使つかえるようにえる方法

By going through some formalities, there are some circumstances that you can convert your home country driver’s license to the Japanese one.


Countries and regions only with a vision test to convert to the Japanese driver’s license:運転免許の切り替えが視力しりょく検査けんさだけでできる国と地域

The license issued in the following countries requires only vision test for converting.


Iceland, Ireland, United States (Hawaii, Maryland, and Washington only), United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Austria, Netherlands, Canada, Korea, Greece, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, Norway-Hungary, Finland, France, Belgium, Portugal, Monaco, Luxembourg, Taiwan


Vision test, written exam, practical exam are required if the license is issued in other than above:上記じょうき以外の国と地域の運転免許の切り替えには視力検査・筆記試験・実技試験が必要

  • When switching from a foreign license, knowledge confirmation and skill confirmation will be performed. (Note 1) Skill confirmation can not be received on the day of reception as it is a reservation system.
  • As it is necessary to confirm whether it corresponds to a novice driver etc., please bring in one with an understanding of the driving history and the period of stay (past foreign license etc.).
  • In order to switch to a medium-sized license or a large-sized license, a regular license or a semi-medium-sized license is obtained, and the driving experience of an ordinary car or a semi-medium-sized car (including the driving experience in a foreign licensed country) For more than two years, a large license is required for more than three years.
    ※ Excerpt from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department website
  • 外国免許からの切替きりかえさい知識ちしき確認かくにん、技能確認をします。
  • 初心しょしん運転しゃ等に該当するかどうか確認する必要がありますので、運転経歴けいれきおよび滞在たいざい期間がかるもの(過去かこの外国免許証等)を持っている人は持っていきます。
  • 中型ちゅうがく免許、大型おおがた免許に切替えるためには、普通ふつう免許またはじゅん中型免許を取って、かつ、普通自動車または準中型自動車の運転経験けいけん(外国免許を取った国での運転経験をふくみます)が中型免許は2年以上、大型免許は3年以上必要になります。 警視庁のHPより

Where is the place to go through the formalities for obtaining and converting driver’s licenses?:運転免許の取得・切り替えの手続きをする場所は?

■Application place 申請しんせい場所

Prefectural police driver’s license center of your address in Japan


■Procedure 手続てつづき

You will be exempted from some exams, written exam and practical exam, if your knowledge and practical driving skills are confirmed as fine based on your application.


■Notes 注意ちゅうい事項じこう

1) After receiving a license from a foreign country, it is a condition that you have stayed for a total of three months or more in that country. (A document that proves the period of stay, such as a passport with a seal of entry and departure is required. ).

2) Application by proxy is not permitted, so you must make an application by yourself.



What should you prepare to get a license?:免許を取るために準備じゅんびするべきものは?

1) Application
* In conjunction with the application, it is necessary to submit a “questionnaire” about the symptoms of the disease. When there is a question item, staff of Driver’s License Center will listen to you specifically about symptoms.

2) 1 photo for application
* No cap, front, no background, taken from the chest, taken within 6 months before the application. Size 3.0 x 2.4 cm.

3) A copy of the resident card listed on the permanent register (If you do not receive the application of the Basic Resident Register, passports, etc.

4) Health insurance insured card, my number card, residence card etc (presentation)

5) A license pertaining to a license such as a foreign administrative agency (not just an international driver’s license)

6) Translation of the above license in Japanese (The type of car that can be driven, the type of license, etc. of the foreign consular body, etc. prepared by a government ordinance such as a foreign administrative agency, etc. that issued the license. Necessary items such as expiration date, conditions of the license, etc. are clarified)

7) Documents such as passports with a seal of entry and exit where you can confirm that you have stayed for three months or more in total in the foreign country after obtaining the license

8) Fee

It is necessary to inquire the driver’s license center of each prefectural police for details such as application place and reception time, documents required for application, fees.











Related Links:
Steps to getting a driver’s license in Japan for International residents: 外国人居住者が免許を取る方法
Employment Service for foreigners:外国人雇用サービスセンター
Free Wifi & hotspot in Japan :日本の無料Wifiスポット




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