Foreign license conversion in Japan can be divided generally into two groups, depending on what country issued the foreign license. The first group includes license holders able to convert their foreign licenses directly to a Japanese license, while the second cannot.
Each prefecture in Japan has different rules and requirements for driver licensing. For the most accurate information please contact the licensing center in your area directly. You can find your local center by clicking this link, where we have prepared a list for you.
The best preparation for driving in Japan is knowing the the laws of Japan, most of which can be found in the book “Rules of the Road”. The Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) publishes and sells foreign-language versions of the Rules of the Road to help foreign motorists understand Japanese traffic rules.
For Group 1 conversion is a shorter bureaucratic paperwork process that takes a couple of weeks and one to two visits to the License Center.
You are a member of "Group 1" if you meet all of the following criteria:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Taiwan, South Korea, or USA (only Maryland [from Jan 2016] or Washington [from Jan 2017] )
If you are a member of Group 1, you are not required to take either the written test or road test to convert your license.
If you are in group 1, you can find out whats next by clicking here.
Group 2 includes license holders who require both a written and a driving test in order to get a Japanese driver’s license.
Valid foreign license holders from countries not listed in Group 1 who can prove a minimum of 3 months residency in the country that issued the license, after it was issued, may be allowed to convert their license only after filing paperwork, taking a short written test, and passing a driving test on an enclosed course at the Testing Center in your prefecture.
If you are a member of Group 2, you are required to take the written and road test to convert your license.
If you are in group 2, you can find out whats next by clicking here.