Japanese driving license is your main need if you are looking to visiting the remote area in Japan. Sometimes it’s difficult to enjoy the place outside Tokyo, or prefecture where public transport has less frequency and you still want to visit the place with family. I consider rental cars are the best option for Japanese driving license. Now question goes to how to rent a car? Here you go: you must have Japanese driving license or Indian international license. If you come with Indian international license it will expire within one year of your stay so what next? Now you have the option you can make driving license by converting Indian driving license to Japanese driving license with a certain additional workout.To make driving license from your existing Indian driving license you should fulfil the following condition.
1- You should have 4 wheeler driving license valid till date.
2- You must have at least 3 consecutive months stay(anytime) in India after making license and before applying in Japan.
Special note on Japanese driving license
if you don’t qualify for the above process, then you’ll need to go through the same steps that a Japanese person must take to get a driver’s license. It’s a very long, tedious and expensive process.
Now next step how to apply for driving license centre
I was living in Matsuyama Ehime prefecture the time I changed my license.
The First Day
you have to translate your Indian license to Japanese using the translation service of Japan Automobile Federation (JAF). Go with license and residence card to JAF office they will take some fee at that time it was 3000¥ and return next day. Reference website link
The Second Day
you have to call driving license centre and make an appointment for face to face meeting. Go with residence card, JAF translated licence, Indian license and passport. Once you got appointment date they will take the first oral interview with you.
Question and answer
They will ask mainly from how many years you are driving and what kind of driving in India like right hand or left hand. Question about pedestrian rules and some other normal questions.Once they are satisfied with the oral interview they will ask you to take the written test and here you have to do it alone and it’s in English. You will get question sheet with 10 question and you have to finish all with 10 -15 minutes, they will ask you at the end that if you want additional 5-10 minutes. Questions are easy enough not so tough.
Also read: How to get married In Japan legally
Here you have to wait for 15 -30 minutes for the result, If they say you are qualified then you will be asked, that when you want to come for driving test. Because you don’t know driving rules and course points. So you can say that you will book driving test date later.
Driving practice before final test
Here your hard work start, you can go driving license centre for practice regularly to remember checkpoint and full path for the test. In starting you have to start with a teacher who will tell you rules and checkpoints that are necessary to pass the driving test.In driving checkpoint list English conversation is ok.
Money required for getting Japanese driving license
Fee for practice is 700¥ self and 400¥ teacher total 1100¥ per 20 minutes. The teacher will provide you checkpoint list printout of the route.once you remember all checkpoint and teacher is satisfied with your progress you can practice alone with just 700¥. I used to practice continue 40 Minutes 2-3 days in a week and was able to take driving test after practising 1 and ½ Month and cleared in the first attempt.The total cost of getting the license for me was 4,0000¥ – 6,0000¥ from first to last day. (vary person to person)
Once you give the driving test you have to wait for 30 minutes for the result. If the result is ok they will click your photo and start the process of giving licence to you. You will get the blue colour licence with the automatic car and they will take a 20-30 minutes class to teach transport system in Japan and point deduction system if you got in the accident and breaking traffic rules.
Special note for Japanese driving license
- Special note for oral interview- if you are not comfortable in Japanese please go with some friend who can understand a bit Japanese
- Drink and drive, Over-speeding and accident in railway crossing are very serious issues and cause jail with big fine in Japan above your expectation.
Good luck to get license and have a safe drive