JDL Beginner’s Guide
This site provides a variety of information on how to obtain a driver's license for foreign nationals living in Japan.
The method of obtaining a driver license in your home country and Japan can be very different. We hope that the information on this website would be of help. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
First, there are two ways for foreign nationals to obtain a driver's license in Japan.
- 1. Those who have a valid driver’s license from their home country
- 2. Those who do not have a driver’s license
Those who do not have a driver’s license
Q. Is the driver's license valid at present?
Q. Did you stay in the country for more than 90 days after obtaining the license?
If you answered yes to both questions, you can convert your license into a Japanese Driver’s License.
Procedures vary depending on the country where you obtained your license. For the list of required documents, click here. ([Must see! ] A guide to switch a foreign driver’s license to a Japanese license | All procedures, conditions, necessary things to bring etc.). One of the required documents is a Japanese translation of foreign license. This is available through our company. Please click on this link or contact us. (外国免許証の翻訳文のリンク)
2. Those who do not have a driver's license
There are two ways for foreigners to obtain a driver's license in Japan. First is to go to your local license center and take all the required tests in one go. The other is to graduate from an authorized driving school.
- 1. Take the tests at the license center (One shot)
- 2. Graduate from an Authorized Driving School
We highly suggest foreign nationals and beginners to go with option two (graduate from driving school). Why? Because the passing rate is very low for the first option. It is not easy to pass the tests in a few tries. Only 2% of license holders obtained theirs via the first option (one shot). In other words, almost everyone got their Japanese driver’s license by graduating from driving school and getting their license.
Read this article for more information. (How to select a suitable driving school in 5 minutes)
Next is how to choose a driving school. There are two types of driving schools- normal driving school and driving camp.
- 1. Normal driving school (commute course)
- 2. Driving Camp
In a normal driving school, you would book driving lessons and attend classes during your free time after school or work. While in a driving camp, you would be staying at an accommodation prepared by the school and attend driving lesson for about two weeks.
In fact, majority of foreign nationals choose to get their license through driving camps. The reason for this is the reasonable price, and driving camp being the fastest way to get a driver’s license in Japan.
In driving camps, the school fee already includes accommodation and meals for two weeks, and transportation. In addition, if you don’t feel confident in taking the Written Test in Japanese, depending on the prefecture, you can take the test in English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Portuguese, etc. To those who don’t feel confident with their Japanese, please feel free to contact us. We offer English, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog language support.