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Driving

To drive in Japan you need a Japanese driving licence or an International driving licence.
In certain cases, foreign licences of some countries are also allowed to be used, but this needs to be confirmed.


1.Driving Licence

1)The variety of driving licences and how to apply for one

In Japan, there are various types of driving licences depending on the type of vehicle.
To receive a driving licence you normally take a driving school course, then pass the qualifying examination and written examination.


2)Renewal of driving licence and change of address

In Japan driving licences must be renewed periodically.
After moving house, the address must be amended on the driving licence at a police station.


3)Switching over from a foreign driving licence

Switching over from a foreign driving licence to a Japanese driving licence is allowed only if you have stayed in that country for more than three months after receiving a licence.
You are required to pass a written test and practical driving skill test at the Driving Licence Test Centre. Morioka-shi, Tamayama-ku, Shimoda, Aza Nakataira 183, (tel. 019-683-1251). However, depending on their country, some people may not have to take these tests. Forms needed for application.
● Driving Licence Application
● Driving Licence from home country.
● A certificate showing duration of your stay (passport etc.)
● Residence certificate showing your nationality and address (1 copy).
● Identity verification documents (Health Insurance Card, Residence Registration Card, Passport, Alien Registration Card, Special Permanent Residence Certificate.)
● A translation of your driving licence from your home country. Only accepted when issued by embassy, consulate, or Japan Automobile Federation.
JAF Iwate branch: tel. 0191-37-7110
● One photograph (two photographs if written test and practical driving skill test are required).
Photograph must be 3cm high, 2.4cm wide, with nothing in the background, full-face, with no hat, from shoulders up and taken within the previous 6 months.


2.Automobile insurance

1)Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance

All those who own a car must join a compulsory automobile liability insurance.
Insurance is automatic when you buy a car or renew the automobile inspection.


2)Voluntary Automobile Insurance

Voluntary automobile insurance covers damage that is not covered by compulsory automobile liability insurance. It will also cover third party property damage, own bodily injury and theft of automobile. You are highly recommended to join this policy as protection.