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Driving Bicycles and Motor Bike

Japanese traffic rules and transportation conditions are often different from overseas. Not knowing those differences might cause traffic law violations or serious accidents, and monetary compensation may be required. We recommend that you do not drive in Japan, as insurance is also very expensive. If you do, please follow the instructions below.

Driver’s License

You can transfer a valid driver’s license you have obtained abroad to a Japanese license if you have driven 3 months or more in that country. Please check the Fukui Prefectural Police website for more information about the procedures and tests.

The Fukui Prefectural Police website’s “Application for transferring foreign license to Japanese license”

International Driver’s License
An International Driver’s License is available to visitors who stay in Japan for 90 days or less. Therefore, international students may not apply for an International Driver’s License. There are also limitations on the validity of International Driver’s Licenses in Japan. Sometimes you may be considered an unlicensed driver even if you have a valid International Driver’s License. If you drive a motor vehicle in Japan, you should obtain a Japanese driver’s license, even if you have an International Driver’s License.

Parking space

You must rent a parking space if you purchase a car. It is prohibited to park a car on the street for a long time, and it may cause trouble for your neighbors. Make sure to rent a parking space when you have a car.

Automobile Insurance

Motor vehicles are very convenient, but dangerous tools at the same time. If you have an accident and injure people or damage private property, monetary compensation may be required. “Automobile Damage Compensation Liability Insurance (Jibaiseki Hoken)” is available. This is a compulsory insurance you must register for when you own a motor vehicle. It is usually not enough, however, to cover the expense of compensation in case of an accident. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you get optional insurance (Ninni Hoken) to cover the expense of compensation that compulsory insurance does not cover.

Automobile Inspection

If you own a motor vehicle in Japan, your vehicle must undergo an inspection periodically. The inspection is called “Shaken” and you will be issued a sticker after successfully completing the inspection. You cannot drive your motor vehicle without this sticker. The sticker indicates the next year and month you must get an inspection. You can get an inspection at automobile dealers or specified maintenance shops up to one month before the specified time of on your sticker.

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The Fukui Prefectural Government provides life information for foreign residents in Fukui in 4 languages (Japanese, English, Chinese, and Portuguese) on its website. Please check the website for more information about obtaining a driver’s license and owning a motor vehicle.