Need to drive in Japan more than the 1 year given to you by your International driving permit? Your going to need a Japanese drivers license.
You could face a fine of up to 300,000 Yen or up to 1 year imprisonment for driving on an expired permit.
This could take several months – so you better get head start my friend because the clock is ticking. Does 3, or 5, or 10 attempts sound crazy? Because the Japanese practical test often presents a challenge to foreigners.
As an American – it’s more work than simply swapping out a US license for a Japanese one, unfortunately. On the positive side, neither do you have to go through the process that locals go through which includes months of driving school, and likely thousands of dollars in training and fee’s. Yes – they take driver’s licenses very seriously in Japan!
The steps you will need to take will look something like this:
- Setting your initial DMV paperwork appointment
- Gathering the necessary information and documentation
- Providing this information to the DMV, and likely a short interview in Japanese
- At least one drivers training session with an instructor
- Memorizing the route/map for your practical test
- Taking a simple written test (true or false)
- Taking a practical driving test on a track at the DMV
- Filling out forms and paying fee’s
This doesn’t look very appealing. But it’s not as bad as it seems and it can actually be quite simple provided you do a few things the right way.
You will not pass the practical test without at least one driving school session.
I know what your’e going to say. Probably the same thing I said. “That’s crazy! I’ve been driving in the US for 25 years!”, well yes, but there are many little things specific to the test in Japan that a foreigner would never think of. Examples?
- Examining the car before you enter it
- How smoothly you are turning the wheel
- Listening for trains at railroad crossings
- Having your blinker on almost entirely through the course
There’s many more, and every instructor/prefecture is looking for different things. So what is a person to do? Most likely there is a nearby driving school (in my case, less than a mile away) which has the very SAME course as the actual test! This is a huge benefit to you. Most people recommend at least 2 hours of training, but i did it with a single 30 minute session.
I’m going to tell you how – plus everything else that I learned. But since this blog post got really long – I’ve created an entire page dedicated to the subject!
That way the rest of you don’t have to sit through all the boring details. Just know that if you plan to get a Japanese drivers license – it will take sincere effort, patience and preparation.
To view this post in its entirety, visit the dedicated page – How To Pass The Japanese Drivers Test in One Attempt.