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Column / 2023.09.21

【Living in Japan】How to get a driver's license

In Japan, there are "教習所(きょうしゅうじょ)ーDriving Schools"  throughout the country where students study and practice driving. Generally, after attending a driving school, you will take a test, and if you pass the test, you will receive a driver's license. In this article, we will explain how to get a driver's license in Japan.

※If you have a foreign driver's license, check out this column!
※If you have been in Japan for less than a year, check out this column!

■Requirements for obtaining a driver's license
In order to obtain a driver's license in Japan, there are some requirements as follow.

・Age : 18 years or older
※For scooter bike, you must be 16 years or older.

・Visual acuity : 0.3 in one eye, 0.7 or more in both eyes
※It is OK to wear glasses or contact lenses.

・Hearing ability : Able to hear everyday conversations

・Color identification: Able to differentiate the color red, blue, and yellow of traffic lights

・Physical ability: No disability that prevents driving
※Even if you have a disability, as long as you can drive it's OK.

■How to get a driving license at a driving school

① Decide on the driving school and license type
Many people go to a driving school to get their license.
The cost will vary depending on the driving school and type of license, so let's first decide where and what license to get.

《Type of license》
MT (Manual Transmission): It is usually called "ミッション ーMission." You have to change the gear in your car by yourself. It is common in old cars, trucks, and sports cars.

AT (Automatic Transmission): It is  usually called "オートマ ーAutoma". The gear changes automatically, so it's easier to operate than a manual transmission. Most cars in Japan are AT.

② Orientation and aptitude test
Students will undergo school orientation and undergo vision and hearing tests.

③ First level of the class
Academic training: 10 hours
Skill training: AT - 12 hours / MT - 15 hours

④ Provisional license test
It is a test about what you learned in the first level.
If you pass, you will receive a provisional license and can move on to the second level.

⑤ Second level of the class
Academic training: 16 hours
Skill training: AT - 19 hours / MT - 19 hours

⑥ Graduation Certification Examination
If you pass this test, you can graduate from the driving school.

⓻ Regular license examination
You need to take a test to obtain your driver's license at the driver's license examination center in the prefecture where you live.
You can check the test site from the website of your prefectural police station.

If you pass the test, you can get a Japanese driver's license 🎉

As mentioned above, if you attend a driving school, you can graduate in about 2 to 3 months.
If you get your license at a driving camp, you can get it in about 15 days.

※Check this column for the difference between a driving school license and a driving camp license.

■For those who are worried about lessons using Japanese
Most driving schools require you to speak Japanese, but some driving schools also offer support in foreign languages.
Therefore, a new service has been launched to make it easier to find a driving school that suitable for non-Japanese residents!

For non-Japanese living in Japan, let's get a driver's license! "YOLO DRIVE" starts 🚙
✅ The website is available in English, Chinese, and Vietnamese
✅ You will be introduced to driving school that supports foreign languages!
✅ You will be supported by foreign language staff!

Click here for details ↓




Q: Which one of the following requirements for obtaining a driver's license in Japan is incorrect?
① 18 years or older
② Visual acuity of 0.3 in one eye and 0.7 or more in both eyes
③ Under 70 years old

  The answer is?★