Driving licence

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It's possible to exchange a foreign driving licence for a Japanese driving licence. The police department in each prefecture manages the process, so it's best to check the website (invariably in Japanese only) of your local police department for the requirements.

JAF has an English article summarising the process.

Eligible holders of licences from the following countries, states and territories (correct as of May 2021) do NOT need to take either the written or practical driving test:

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

To be eligible for the exchange, licence holders need to be at least 18 years of age, hold a valid (not expired) licence with a Japanese translation (which is recommended to be done at JAF in Japan), be able to prove they lived in the country of issuance for at least three continuous months since the issuance of the licence, have a status of residence in Japan, and complete all paperwork and payment requirements. For them, it will be a paperwork plus eye-test exercise.

Holders of licences from countries, states and territories not listed above will need to take a written and practical driving test.