Driving in Japan
To drive in Japan you must hold either:
- a valid Japanese licence; or
- a valid International Driver's Permit and a current Australian state driver's licence.
An International Driver's Permit is not a licence; you must also hold a valid Australian licence.
Australians can drive in Japan on an International Driver's Permit (in conjunction with your Australian driver's licence) up to 365 days following their initial entry into Japan. However, local authorities expect anyone who is residing in Japan (i.e. those not on a 90 day temporary visitor entry visa) to drive on a Japanese licence, not an International Driver's Permit.
- To obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP), please contact the relevant IDP authority in your state.
- Rules of the Road, a booklet that outlines traffic rules in Japan can purchased from the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF).
- For further information about driver's licence regulations in Japan, please contact your local Japanese licence office.
Converting your Australian licence to a valid Japanese licence
Australian driver's licence holders who reside in Japan are able to obtain a Japanese licence without sitting a written or practical driving exam. We provide the following as general information only. Please contact your local Japanese licence office for definitive advice.
To convert your licence, you will generally be required to produce an official translation of your Australian licence, prove that you resided for at least three months in Australia after your licence was issued, and take an eye test.
The Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) is able to arrange a translation of your Australian driver's licence for a fee. We do not provide translation services.
Some Australian driver's licences do not show the date of issue. Therefore, you may be required to provide an Australian driving record from your home state Transport Authority that shows the date of issue of your Australian driver's licence. This will also need to be translated into Japanese.
If you require a record of movements in and out of Australia to prove that you resided there for at least three months after your licence was issued, please apply for your International Movement Records online directly with the Department of Home Affairs.
For further information about driver's licence regulations in Japan, please contact your local Japanese licence office.
- Council of Local Authorities for International Relations – Driving information
- Tokyo Metropolitan Police – Transferring a Foreign Licence to a Japanese Licence
- Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation "TSUNAGARI" Tokyo Intercultural Portal site - Cars, motorcycles and bicycles
- Japan Automobile Federation (JAF)
- Japan Driver's License (contains contact details of licence centres in Japan)
- International Movement Records
Renewal of your Australian driver's licence
We cannot provide Australian driver's license renewal kits or process licence fee payments.
To obtain an overseas Australian driver's license renewal kit, please contact the Transport Authority in your state.
As part of the overseas Australian driver's license renewal application, some states require that you have your signature witnessed and photograph endorsed at an Australian mission. For more information, see Notarial services.
While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.