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Drive in Japan

To be able to ride in Japan, you must have a driving license issued by a country signatory of the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic.
Check on this page what do you need to ride in Japan.

What is Geneva Convention?

Geneva Convention on Road Traffic was signed on September 19th 1949 in Geneva, becoming the very first protocol on road traffic recognized by the United Nations. It was followed on 1968 by Vienna Convention, also considered an official protocol determining an International Driving Permit. Japan only recognizes International Driving Permits based on the 1949 Geneva Convention, while do not accept IDP based on 1968 Vienna Convention, therefore once you make the preparations for your IDP in your country, please make sure to get it based on the right protocol.To make sure you will get the right document, check the front of your IDP, which must have CONVENTION ON ROAD TRAFFIC 1949 written on its front.

Which document do you need to ride in Japan?

Between signatory countries of the Geneva Convention, conditions and required documents are different.
To know if your country is included in the Geneva Convention and to know precisely what you need to safely ride in Japan, please choose your license issuing country at below box.
○○○ issued driving licenses cannot drive in Japan.

Countries which need an International Driving Permit

List of the countries which need the International Driving Permit to ride in Japan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Benin
  • Botswana
  • Bulgaria
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cambodia
  • Canada
  • Central African Republic
  • Chile
  • Congo
  • Congo(DROC)
  • Cote d'Ivoire
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • Georgia
  • Ghana
  • Greece
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Jordan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Luxembourg
  • Macao
  • Madagascar
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Mali
  • Malta
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Namibia
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Norway
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Rwanda
  • San Marino
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sweden
  • Syria
  • Thailand
  • Togo
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Uganda
  • United Arb Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Vatican
  • Venezuela
  • Zimbabwe

The International Driving Permit (or IDP) is a document allowing its holder to drive a vehicle in all the countries officially recognizing it. To be considered valid, the IDP must be accompanied by a valid driving license issued by the same country, which must be the IDP applicant's country of residence too, and by a valid passport.
The riders coming from the countries included in this group have to make sure to prepare in advance their IDP by the issuing authorities in their country before their departure and set it with their passport and driving license.
Japan only accept IDP based on 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, therefore to make sure you will get the right IDP, check the front of your IDP, which must have CONVENTION ON ROAD TRAFFIC 1949 written on its front.

For more details regarding the documents needed to safely ride in Japan, check the 3 Fundamental Items to ride in Japan page into our website.

Important points regarding the IDP

  • The driver needs to get his IDP in the same country he got his domestic license.
  • Rental819 only accepts documents into the due date. *the due date of a IDP is one year from its issue date.
  • You must check that the IDP has the stamp on the A section for motorcycles.
  • Every time you ride on the road, please bring with you your IDP, domestic driving license and passport, as the IDP has no validity on its own. For more information check the 3 Fundamental Items to ride in Japan  page into our website.
  • U.S. military forces or in case of driver‘s license or permit recognized under the U.S. - Japan Status of Forces Agreement, are recognized as valid permit to drive in Japan.
  • Driver permits recognized under U.S. - Japan Status of Forces Agreement are
    • SOFA license
    • license for US Armed Force official vehicles
    • US Stateside license

Special Case: Countries signing both Vienna and Geneva Convention

Italy, Russia and Poland have signed both the 1949 Geneva Convention on road traffic and 1968 Vienna Convention on road traffic, therefore authorities of these countries have rights to issue IDPs based on both conventions.
However Japan do not recognize IDPs issued based on the 1968 Vienna Convention . Therefore when making the issuing procedures, make sure to obtain a 1949 Geneva convention based IDP.
For the details regarding the right IDP check this page Countries which need an International Driving Permit  section.

For more details regarding the documents needed to safely ride in Japan, please check the 3 Fundamental Items to ride in Japan  page into our website.

Countries which need an official Japanese translation instead of the IDP

List of the countries which need the International Driving an official Japanese translation to ride in Japan
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Germany
  • Monaco
  • Swiss
  • Taiwan
Belgium France Germany Switzerland Monaco Slovenia Taiwan Estonia

To drive in Japan you will need to obtain an official Japanese translation of your home country driving license. You can request the translation at Japanese Automobile Federation (JAF). 
Requests may be sent to JAF when being already in Japan, but the procedures may take more than expected so please make sure to send your request in a proper amount of time to get your translation before your rental.

For more details regarding the documents needed to safely ride in Japan, please check the 3 Fundamental Items to ride in Japan  page into our website.

Special Case: Countries which can ride with either an IDP or a Translation

You are allowed to ride in Japan with either:

Therefore you can choose which one to prepare between these documents before your trip to Japan

For more details regarding the documents needed to safely ride in Japan, please check the 3 Fundamental Items to ride in Japan page   into our website.

Japanese Driving License

People with a Japanese driving license do not need any additional document. However we suggest to bring with you your passport and your visa or other id valid in Japan.
Also, make sure that your Japanese license is still valid by checking the expiration date and, when driving with Rental819, not to book a vehicle out of your license's eventual restriction.