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Whether it’s for buying some furniture or taking a road trip, having a car in Japan has its benefits. The following guide will explain three options you can try to start driving in the country and how to go through each one. The good news is, you can still get a license even if Japanese isn’t your strong suit.

Can you drive with an international driving permit?</h3?

You might already have an international driver’s license and wish to use that because you’re not planning to stay long in Japan. Foreigners can use their International Driving Permit (IDP) in Japan. If this is your case, you can do so as long as the following prerequisites are met.

First, the IDP is issued in your home country and not in Japan. Second, they can only be used for one year in Japan, even if their validity is for much longer. If you plan to use it for more than a year, you can return to your home country for at least three consecutive months before using it again in Japan.

Take note as well that Japan only allows IDPs based on the countries included in the 1949 Geneva Convention, such as the United States, Canada, U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, India, Italy, Austria, Spain, Romania, Sweden, Denmark, Turkey. You can check out the complete list here and confirm with your Japanese embassy as a safety precaution. Furthermore, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Monaco, Switzerland, and Taiwan do not issue IDPs based on the 1949 Geneva Convention; thus, their permits require a translation to be used.

If you already have a license and need it converted

Another scenario to drive in Japan is to already have a driver’s license from your home country. If you plan to stay in Japan for a …continue reading