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Thread: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

  1. #241
    disobedient avocado Lianwen's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    Quote Originally Posted by coop52 View Post
    So you need to do license from scratch. You can either pay for driving school, which costs a lot of money and can take over a month, or study and do the tests by yourself. You can get textbooks in Japanese, but I believe most test centers in populated areas offer the test in English. The full test is something like 90-100 true false questions. It's not terribly hard. The problem is the practical test. You need a driver's permit (仮免許) first, then you can do the test for the regular license. There's a practical part of that test. I'm not sure how hard it is though. Even if you don't do the full course at a driving school, it's probably a good idea to book a few hours to practice. I think some centers even have hours where you can practice with actual proctors. Once you get the permit, you have to practice with someone who's a licensed driver. You have to drive for two hours a day for at least 5 days on the road (this may vary by prefecture) and report it on a 路上練習申告書. Then, you can do the test (there's another paper and practical) for the regular license. Apparently, only 7-8% of Japanese people pass without going to driving school, so who knows how many times you'll have to take it.
    Thank you! I found some old out of date info, but I didn't understand it 100%. I'm in Kanagawa, so I hope it's not too bad.
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  2. #242

    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    I'm moving back to Japan in August (from the UK) and I'm currently learning to drive, hoping to pass soon.

    The Japan Automobile Federation site (JAF|For foreign nationals who wish to switch their foreign drivers license to a Japanese license) says:


    A driver’s license issued by a foreign administrative office can be switched to a Japanese license (hereinafter referred to as “Gaimen Kirikae”) by applying to the Driver’s License Center.


    To apply for Gaimen Kirikae, applicants must fulfill the following two conditions:


    The applicant’s foreign driver’s license must be valid (expired licenses cannot be transferred).


    The applicant must be able to prove that he or she stayed in the issuing country for at least three months in total after obtaining the license.
    Does anyone know how strict this is? I'll be a resident in the UK for that time, but I was hoping to visit a friend in Iceland for a weekend. Would that really void my ability to transfer the license?

    I can't find any other information about it.

  3. #243
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    Quote Originally Posted by prazza View Post
    I'm moving back to Japan in August (from the UK) and I'm currently learning to drive, hoping to pass soon.

    The Japan Automobile Federation site (JAF|For foreign nationals who wish to switch their foreign driver�s license to a Japanese license) says:




    Does anyone know how strict this is? I'll be a resident in the UK for that time, but I was hoping to visit a friend in Iceland for a weekend. Would that really void my ability to transfer the license?

    I can't find any other information about it.
    Reasonably strict...

    ...but if the pages of your passport that reflected an overseas trip during that time were to ... not be present for some reason ... there's no actual way that they'd know.
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  4. #244
    Senior Moment Antonath's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    Quote Originally Posted by word View Post
    Reasonably strict...

    ...but if the pages of your passport that reflected an overseas trip during that time were to ... not be present for some reason ... there's no actual way that they'd know.
    Pretty sure that tampering with a passport is illegal, so I'll just remind everyone that neither Word nor ITIL are suggesting that you remove them. Especially as that might get you in much bigger trouble than your driver's license further down the line.
    ...because Japan.

  5. #245

    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    The biggest issue with travel is making sure they stamp you on the way back home. Open-ended incoming stamps with no outgoing stamps get their suspicions up. You can't prove how much time you were in your own country.
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  6. #246
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    Ant is right; it's an incredibly bad idea to mess with the pages of your passport for any reason. Don't listen to me ( <-- usually good advice in most situations).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  7. #247
    Perpetually confused. johnny's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    Quote Originally Posted by word View Post
    Ant is right; it's an incredibly bad idea to mess with the pages of your passport for any reason. Don't listen to me ( <-- usually good advice in most situations).
    Yes, sempai.
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  8. #248

    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    Thanks for the info.

    So just to double-check: this really does mean "stay in the country for three months", and not "be a resident of a country for 3 months", right?

    I'm not going to tamper with a passport, but could I just buy a new clean passport before I go to Japan?

  9. #249
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    Quote Originally Posted by prazza View Post
    Thanks for the info.

    So just to double-check: this really does mean "stay in the country for three months", and not "be a resident of a country for 3 months", right?

    I'm not going to tamper with a passport, but could I just buy a new clean passport before I go to Japan?
    It should be resident, but don't take any chances with Japanese ability to interpret law.
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  10. #250
    read half. react. BifCarbet's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    Here's a JAF (like AAA in the US) page about the process. It says you have to stay in the country for three months.
    JAF|For foreign nationals who wish to switch their foreign driver�s license to a Japanese license

    I think they just want the license to be valid for three months, and they don't care if you took a weekend trip, but they do check your passport when transferring to a J license. I sat with a guy who wrote down all my exit/entry dates to figure out where I've been and for how long.
    Last edited by BifCarbet; April 28th, 2015 at 06:09.
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  11. #251
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    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    Here's the official Police Department page for Chiba (had to pick one). It says the same thing. I would go in with the assumption that they count the days, including days you may spend in your home country for a trip during your first year (if you plan to go home in the winter).
    Switching from a Foreign License
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  12. #252
    Crustacean Sensation Ebi's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    It doesn't need to be consecutive, but you do need to have been in the country your license was issued for 3 months or longer. Apparently it's to stop Japanese people from taking a brief vacation somewhere and getting a license rather than go through the Japanese system.

    Also, if you can prove you've had your license longer than one year you can skip the "novice" stage of the license system where you have a green band on your license and you must put magnets on the front and/or back of your car showing you're a beginning driver. I couldn't prove that since I renewed my license 5 months before coming and I didn't bring my expired license with me.

    Technically you are supposed to bring all current and expired passports with you when you go to start the process. If you only bring one, they will ask you if it's your first passport. I don't recommend lying, but I know people who had a lot of hassles because they didn't have their old passports.

  13. #253
    read half. react. BifCarbet's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    Yeah that's definitely part of it. Also, they don't want to put a bunch of foreign two-week paper drivers out on their roads. I was thinking there might be a chance that if you had it in your own country for 92 days, but were on a trip for 5 of them, they might be fine with that. It seems they might not, though.
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  14. #254

    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    Sheesh, what a hassle. OK. Thanks very much, everyone.

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