Useful Tips

Embassy of the Russian Federation in Japan


uh ... I don’t even know where to start.
When I first arrived in Japan, I began to find out what needs to be done in order to buy a car and therefore drive it.
It turned out to be easy with the purchase (if necessary, I can tell you in a separate post), but with the rights ... how to say it ... everything turned out very difficult.
It all starts with the fact that a citizen of the Russian Federation, having an international (and not international) driver’s license issued in the Russian Federation, has no right to drive a car in Japan. About this I was immediately warned by our embassy in Japan. Holders of international driver’s licenses will now get their books out and see Japan on the list of countries, but it turns out we aren’t supposed to drive such a piece of paper in Japan. Here is what our embassy writes about this:
"We expect your surprise, since Japan is listed on the back of the Russian international certificate. At the same time, due to legal conflicts, the Japanese authorities will not recognize such certificates. Currently, this issue is being worked out with the Japanese side."
Now you know what it's called - "legal conflict." Need to remember :)
Well, I think, pipets ... What is it for me now, is studying to go to school, and then pass the exam?
By the way, what does the classic process of obtaining rights in japan look like: you pay from two to four thousand dollars to a licensed driving school, you will be taught (in Japanese esno) theory and practice for several months, after training there will be a theoretical exam of 100 (!) Questions, a practical exam on a test track and city. After that, you will be given a temporary driving permit and if you will behave yourself (drive without breaking) and pass another theoretical exam, then you will be issued a driver’s license.
Horror. And I already bought a car! In general, this clearly does not suit me, I thought. But! Not everything is so sad! It turns out that if there is an ordinary national (non-international) driver’s license, then you can apply for a simplified scheme for obtaining a Japanese driver’s license. No driving school, 10 questions in the exam instead of 100, and test driving skills only on the track, no city. Exactly what is needed!
So, having studied the Internet and called the consular department of the embassy, ​​I realized that to apply for the “simplified account” I need:
1. Translate my Russian rights into Japanese. Finding a translator from Russian to Japanese was not so simple. I found it by chance, through my work colleagues, it cost me dearly, 12,000 yen (4,000 rubles for the old "Dokrym" rubles), they transferred for a long time! (what is there to translate?)
2. To assure the transfer at the Russian Embassy or to JAF (Japan Automobile Federation or, for those who read my last post, "Salvation Army" :)). Our embassy, ​​this is of course something with something. A piece of the harsh "Our Rashi" on the Japanese territory of tranquility and peace. It seemed that I had already forgotten about A4 leaflets in the file, stuck with adhesive tape to the wall with inscriptions like "DO NOT ENTER!" or "ALREADY LIVE QUEUE!". Everything is here, everything is with us. Gray, sad, but in our opinion) Oh, I love the Motherland)
3. Take confirmation of registration at the place of residence (in English I do not remember how to spell, but pronounce "jumihё")
4. Attach photographs, a copy of the passport, rights, and of course the originals.

For work, I often go on business trips, and in general there is not much free time, so it took almost a month and a half to collect documents.
He collected everything, took the day off and carried the documents to the local traffic police. Japanese counterparts look much nicer than ours, I tell you, there is no aggressive depressive atmosphere). He came, somehow explained to the Japanese at the counter what I needed and he sent me for a physical examination. Then I got a little nervous because I go with glasses, I haven’t updated the recipe for a long time, I definitely don’t have one. I will not pass! And still go somewhere now ... But what was my surprise! The medical examination took place right in the same building (I think I don’t need to remind about our medical examination procedure with a trip along the Golden Ring of Russia), I just went down to the floor below. I find the right door, I go up to an old man of about eighty, he greets me and turns on the projector. A HUGE right arrow appears almost in IMAX format on the wall ... I think what’s the catch ... I say: RIGHT! Left arrow is shown on the projector: LEFT! Down arrow: DOWN! Up: UP! The green traffic light comes on, I: GREEN! Red: RED! Arigato gozaimasu, thank you very much, you went through a medical examination. WHAT? So, in 40 seconds? Yes.
Okay, the beginning is not bad. I rise back, they direct me to a theoretical exam. They brought into the room, turned on the computer. The language selection screen appears. Between all sorts of Deutsch and Français, I quickly look for English and ... what do you think? I find the line "Russian". Well class! I press, put on the headphones, the girl begins to read the text from the screen (!), Explaining how to use the program. Let's go, the first question. "Look at the picture (road, passenger car, red traffic light) and answer if the car can continue driving: Yes No." Well, I think there’s certainly a catch in something. I also read it, looked again - everything is clean ... Hmm ... Well, okay, I click no. The next question: the same garbage, hanging speed limit sign 40, the question is whether it is possible to go faster and two answers. In general, the following six questions in the same style and with the same level of difficulty were successfully completed. I had to think about the last two questions. Question: "look at the picture and answer: can the driver on the right not give way to the driver on the left." There was something in the brain: Could NOT NOT yield. Transferred to the great and mighty, direct execution can not be pardoned. And what to answer, "no can not" or "yes can not." In short, I answered incorrectly to the last two questions. I think, well, everything, everything was going too well, I’ve advanced far, I know what to do now, I’ll come next. just give it up. I click "complete the exam" and ... Arigato gozaimasu, you passed the exam. WHAT? How? It turns out that out of ten questions, it is enough to answer correctly to seven.
In general, with a happy mug, anticipating the speedy receipt of rights, I left the examination room and went to record on the track. At that moment I did not know that my adventure in search of a Japanese driver’s license was just beginning. But more about that in the second part :)


Traffic rules are unified with international ones. The traffic in Japan is left-hand.

I would like to immediately warn Russian citizens who want to drive vehicles in Japan that neither Russian driver's licenses (plastic cards) nor Russian international driver's licenses (books) are valid here.

We expect your surprise, since Japan is listed on the back of the Russian international certificate. However, due to legal conflicts, the Japanese authorities do not recognize such certificates. Currently, this issue is being worked out with the Japanese side.

In the meantime, the only way to get the opportunity to drive vehicles in Japan is to issue a Japanese driver's license. At the same time, for foreign citizens with a national driver’s license, a simplified procedure for obtaining Japanese rights is provided.

To do this, it is necessary to submit a translation of Russian rights made in the consular section of the embassy to the Driving Test Examination Office ("Unten Menkyo Shikenjo:", 運 転 免 許 試 験 場) (for more details, see the "Certification of the authenticity of translation from Russian" section of the "Translations" section).

In this case, you will pass theoretical exams according to a simplified scheme (10 questions on a computer instead of 100) and the condition for studying at a Japanese driving school for several months will not be mandatory. In addition, you will need to pass a driving test and eye test.

Pass theoretical exams in Russian You can at two centers in the Tokyo area:
Samazu Center (“Samezu Unten Menkyo Shikenjou:”, 鮫 洲 運 転 免 許 試 験 場) Address: Tokyo, Shinagawa-ku, Higashi Oi, 1-12-5, tel .: 03-3474-1374.
Futu Center (“Futu: Unten Menkyo Shikenjou:”, 府中 運 転 免 許 試 験 場)
Address: Tokyo, Fuchyu-shi, Tamamachi 3-1-1, tel .: 04-2362-3591.

Theoretical exams in Russian are also accepted at some centers of Niigata and Hokkaido Prefectures.

Driving without insurance is not allowed. Car insurance can be full and partial (similar to the Russian "CASCO" and "CTP"). The insurance policy is issued by any auto insurance company.

Japan has an extensive network of car rental companies. To rent a vehicle, a foreigner must have an international driving license (recognized in Japan) or a driver’s license issued in Japan, a passport or a foreigner's registration card. The cost of renting a middle-class car is about 10 thousand yen per day. A rented car can be returned to the company or delivered at another location (for example, at the airport) to the representative of the leasing company. In any case, a prerequisite for returning the car to the company is to refuel a full tank.

In the event of a traffic accident, it is necessary to inform the insurance agent about the accident, call the police at the scene, and if necessary, ambulance.

1. The Japanese, the bulk - mediocre drivers

Driving in Japan is extremely difficult due to excessive traffic. Even the centers of large cities are replete with multilevel interchanges, which a beginner can sometimes not understand.

All this leads to the fact that most Japanese are simply not ready for a dynamic ride and the emergence of extreme situations.

Despite this, driving courses in emergency situations are extremely popular in Japan, their cost is quite high and amounts to several thousand dollars, but this has not yet affected the general situation.

2. Japan Traffic Light Resolution - Blue

It is difficult to believe in it, but in Japan there is no green light signal familiar to us. A number of studies have convincingly proved that green light is much better perceived at a great distance, therefore, in order to increase safety, an attempt was made to change the traditional color of traffic lights and make blue possible.

Moreover, in a number of cities, the experiment was successful, but this does not stop drivers from calling the green signal “blue”, since this word has become synonymous with enabling color.

Despite attempts by the authorities to bring the organization of traffic to international standards, traditions prevailed and they refused to change the color. As a result, both types of traffic lights can be found on the streets of Japan.

When stopping for a prohibiting signal, drivers, as a rule, turn off the headlights so as not to dazzle the oncoming traffic of cars with their light. Driving on a prohibition signal is not only punishable by a large fine, but also causes public censure, as it is considered bad form. The Japanese will rarely cross the intersection even into yellow light.

3. Japanese drivers are extremely disciplined

It is difficult to say with certainty what is the reason for this phenomenon, but the cost of his car, his social status or mood does not at all influence the behavior of the Japanese driver.

Of course, this country has an extremely strict system of fines, and it is almost impossible to avoid liability, since the video surveillance system on the roads is one of the most developed in the world. The Japanese will never pretend to be a professional racer, even if his skills are high enough.

The fact that the arrangement of roads is performed in such a way that it is almost impossible to cross a solid or significantly exceed the speed also plays a role in this.

Politeness is manifested in everything, even when an accident occurs, drivers calmly get out of the car, say hello, discuss the situation and exchange insurance data and contact numbers.

When a traffic jam occurs or the flow merges, the generally accepted system is driving through one. If you need to rebuild, then just turn on the turn signal or wave the driver a hand, you won’t have to wait long.

4. Buying a car requires a thorough analysis of your financial capabilities

You can get rights in Japan at the age of 18, and many people take this opportunity, but as a rule, it takes about 7 years between obtaining rights and acquiring the first car.

The fact that the maintenance of the car is a serious waste and high responsibility, which is why not every driver is ready to become the owner of the vehicle. The cost of the car itself is quite acceptable, and taking into account quite decent salaries - not many can afford it.

The main difficulty is that Japan has an extremely difficult situation with parking space, so before you get permission to buy a car, you should provide information about the parking space that you own or rent, the distance from your permanent residence should not exceed 2 km.

Documents proving the presence of parking must be submitted to the police, and the size of the place also plays a role, since it can determine the class of the car that you will be allowed to buy.

As a rule, parking spaces are rented, and the cost is approximately equal to the cost of renting a one-room apartment in the city center. In addition, many suburban highways are paid, and the fare is quite high. The kind of drivers in Japan are usually mature and mature people.

5. Taxi drivers in Japan - the most accurate in the world

Japanese taxi drivers always keep their car in perfect cleanliness and they themselves are certainly dressed in a special uniform, including a jacket, tie, cap and snow-white gloves.

In order to become a taxi driver, you must have a driving experience of 10 years or more, be well-versed in the city, be able to provide advice to passengers regarding local attractions and shopping centers, as well as weather. And the most important thing is not to be noticed in violation of fairly strict rules of the road.

The salaries of taxi drivers, as a rule, are not large, which makes them work literally for wear and tear. Attempting to tip a taxi driver is regarded as an insult and giving, so any driver will give the expected change down to the last detail.

Each taxi driver seeks to attract as many customers as possible, so he equips the car with massage pads on the seat, a video player, the passenger will always have a bottle of water or chewing gum.

Do not confuse accuracy in terms of neatness and accuracy in driving: Japanese taxi drivers are forced to fight for each client, therefore they very often move at a minimum speed, looking for a potential passenger, thereby slowing the flow.

In addition, you need to be prepared for the fact that the taxi driver will begin to rebuild sharply, trying to be the first to drive up to the voting person. Affects their attentiveness and a general violation of sleep and rest. This in no way applies to a few individual entrepreneurs, owners of a taxi car - they take their car very carefully and often stick stickers on the bumper obtained for accurate and trouble-free driving.

6. Japanese motorists - tuning fans

Japan is the birthplace of many areas of tuning, which is associated primarily with the mentality of citizens. Despite the fact that as a result of building a unique car, he becomes capable of much, the driver rarely demonstrates sports driving on public roads, especially in cities.

Love for unusual cars is also expressed in the fact that the Japanese choose a means of transportation with their hearts rather than their minds, as a result of which the cars undergo the most incredible modifications.

Naturally, in such a high-tech country, the installation of various electronic engine control systems that increase power is flourishing, but the main emphasis is always on the exterior. For a Japanese tuning fan, bright airbrushing, huge chrome wheels and LED lights, a large exhaust pipe, as well as an abundance of multimedia electronics in the cabin are required.

7. Japanese drivers cannot imagine a car without a navigator

The reason for the Japanese love of navigators is that many neighborhoods have a complex system of lanes and driveways, and the numbering of houses is devoid of any logic, and sometimes even an indigenous person can not figure it out. The situation is aggravated by the fact that many streets do not have a name, but only a digital designation.

Nissan, for example, regularly began to equip its models with navigation systems back in 1989. Немаловажным преимуществом такого распространения электроники является вероятность постройки альтернативного маршрута и возможность избежать пробок.

The navigator in the modern Japanese sense is a multimedia center that normally paves the way, displays information about the availability of parking spaces, can suggest the presence of local attractions in the vicinity, and if necessary, switch to video player or TV.

8. The greatest danger on the road is the drivers of two-wheeled vehicles

Based on the characteristics of car operation in Japan, more and more citizens prefer bicycles or other two-wheeled vehicles. Of course, cyclists create a number of problems for car drivers and pose a potential threat, although they move exclusively along sidewalks, but in this section we will talk about motorcyclists.

If you remove from the attention of respectable students and housewives on slow-moving scooters, it turns out that the vast majority of motorcyclists are adherents of youth subcultures. This is reflected in the driving style, which they are extremely aggressive, and in regular speed rides in the night city, and in the appearance of such vehicles.

The fact is that obtaining rights to control motor vehicles is extremely simplified and boils down to passing a simple oral exam, which representatives of various informal movements use. This situation took decades to form, and was only slightly weakened by the adoption in 1979 of a special law - bosozoku. Now the popularity of biker gangs and cafeterics is growing again, which leads to the fact that more than 25% of fatal accidents are provoked by motorcyclists.

9. About the driver in Japan can be found on the sticker on the car

Japan has adopted an age classification of drivers, which also reflects their experience and potential danger to their neighbors in the stream. So, for beginners, whose driving experience does not exceed one year, a sticker in the form of a young leaf or shoot is applied, and for the elderly (over 70 years) - in the form of a four-leafed leaf.

It should be noted that after 75 years, the presence of a sticker on the car glass is a mandatory requirement. It is noteworthy that until 2011 a sticker in the form of a withering sheet was used for this category of citizens, but since it reminded the elderly of death, the sign was changed and now it symbolizes the letter S - “senior” (“aged person”).

10. Drivers in Japan are very careful about pedestrians

In this country there is an unwritten rule - “the pedestrian is always right”, as a result of which the behavior of some people in this category goes beyond all safety standards. Even if a person crosses the roadway across a moving stream, he can be extremely offended if the driver shows his indignation and beeps.

Most of the city streets in Japan are extremely narrow, which complicates not only traffic, but also reduces the opportunity to notice a pedestrian coming out from behind a parked car, which is why the drivers are very cautious in this regard.


As you can see, Japan’s intense motorization combined with local flavor, traditions and mentality have formed a special driving style, which is often a curiosity for foreign tourists. In general, a high level of traffic management can be noted, in which the discipline of motorists plays a significant role.