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.
7 thoughts on “Pass Your Japanese Driver’s Test in One Attempt”
Very informative, it helps the foreigners for sure. Cheers.
Thanks so much! I know that a little luck helps, but preparation is so important when outside of your comfort zone.
Totally agree, some times luck may not help at all in Japan as they look for perfection. Working with Japanese and blending with their mind set is a challenge always. Once you get used to take such sportier challenge there is no looking back. Japan is a fun as a traveller and Japan is a wonderland when its work and business. Your articles are interesting i love to read everything about Japan, even im visiting there for past 2 decades. Every micron information is an asset.
Thank you, im sure many will be benefited with the articles you post.
Have a wonderful day. 🍀🍀🍀🙌🙏
What a hassle. It’s so much easier for Canadians. I just had to hand over a bunch of paperwork, and I could get a Japanese license and even keep my Canadian one. No driving test.
JELOUS! Yes… for one thing Canadians have a better driving reputation. Also in the US drivers licenses are issued by each state (50 different agencies) versus nationally, so the likelihood of Japan ever striking 50 different agreements with the US is pretty much zero.
Wow…the test looks tedious..
It certainly can be. But i think preparing, practicing, and knowing what to expect can do a lot to help. Not to mention a native speaking friend and a little luck. 😉