What to do to drive a car in Japan ~International Driving Permit & Foreign Driver’s Licenses~

Dear international students, this article will provide you with facts you need to consider when it comes to obtaining a driving permit in Japan.

First of all, you need a driver's license to drive in Japan. Let’s say you do not have a license yet. Like everywhere else, it takes several months of attending driving school to obtain a license. Is there any easy way? There you go!

There are 2 options:

Option ① International Driving Permit (IDP)

Those who hold an International Driver's License (IDP) under the Geneva Convention may drive a car in Japan. You can find the list of eligible countries on the website of the Metropolitan Police Department.

List of the contracting states of the Convention at Geneva 1949

Option ② Switching from Foreign into Japanese License

You can switch your license into a Japanese one. For this you have to pass the knowledge check and driving skill test. Some countries refrain from testing.

Those who have a driver's license issued by the authorities in the following countries and regions will be exempt from the knowledge check and driving skill test:

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

Those who have a driver's license issued by the authorities in the following countries and regions will be exempt from the driving skill test:

United States (State of Indiana only)


What is the fastest and safest way?

① Participation in a foreign license switching course at a driving school.

Search for "Foreign Driver's License Switching Driving School"

Those who live in Tokyo may visit the course at Samezu or Fuchu center.
Driving schools that are close to the test site will be able to offer knowledge mock tests inside the site, which will help you pass the test more quickly!
② Participate in a driving course at the license center

Driver's License Examination Offices offer their driving courses to those who are not confident in their driving skills and to those who are taking the skills test.

・Residents of Tokyo
・18 years of a bge or older
・Accompanied by an Instructor who have a driver's license to drive a standard car and have at least 3 years of driving experience (excluding the period of suspension)

Driver’s License Centers in Tokyo↓↓
We introduced some ways to be able to drive in Japan. Take advantage and spend your life in Tokyo more joyfully!

Useful Links:


& DM