How to get a driver’s license in Japan
Obtaining a Driver’s License (Unten Menkyo 運転免許) is one of the things that will make life easier here in Japan. There will be times where going by car would be more convenient than going by train or public transport. And it’s not just for just being able to drive, having a Driver’s License is a good Personal Identification document that will prove useful for some applications here. So, how do we get a driver’s license? Where should we start?
If you’re thinking of getting one, I would suggest you look for a Driving School which is near to your home. Not only it will be convenient, but a lot of driving schools here also offer free shuttle service to their students so they won’t have a hard time going to school. Usually, it would take around 2-3 months before you get your own license. Some even took 6-months. But it depends on your schedule and how often you can attend lessons. Some schools offer 1-month driving lesson campaigns.
Some schools nowadays offer English courses, they even have other languages like Portuguese, Tagalog, etc. Even the final written exam can be taken in English. Please consult your preferred driving school for more information. If you’re having difficulty speaking in Japanese, I suggest either bring a friend who knows how to speak or look for a school who has English speaking staff available.
Payments will depend on the Driving School’s pricing. But the usual amount for the Regular Automatic Vehicle License course costs about 300,000JPY in total. The Manual Vehicle License course requires more amount though (approximately additional 30,000-40,000JPY). Please consult your preferred Driving school for the pricing.
In getting a license, there are documents that you need to submit. I made a list for reference but keep in mind that the requirements might change depending on the school.
1. Health Insurance Card (KenkouHokensho)
2. Residence Certificate (Jyuuminhyo) – Can be obtained from your City Hall
4. Residence Card (Zairyuu Card)
5. Student Certificate (if studying)
6. Employee Certificate (if employed)
7. Certificate of completion (First Aid Class) – You can submit this if you have already taken the First Aid Class. Showing the certificate will allow you to skip taking the 3-hour lesson.
After submitting the documents, you will be asked for an Eye Examination. This is to check if you’re capable of driving properly without having problems.
※ FOR REGULAR VEHICLES, HEAVY SPECIAL VEHICLES, ORDINARY MOTORCYCLES, HEAVY MOTORCYCLES
Each one of the eyes should have 0.3 results of eyesight examination or both eyes total to 0.7.
※ PARA SA MGA SEMI-MEDIUM VEHICLES, MEDIUM VEHICLES, AT MGA TOWING VEHICLES
Each one of the eyes should have 0.5 results of eyesight examination or both eyes total to 0.8.
It is possible to pay the driving fees by a loan. Please consult the school if you’re eligible to pay by a loan. If you don’t have issues in paying bills or using your credit card, then you will have a chance to get approved.
OBTAINING A LEARNER’S PERMIT
If this is your first time getting a license and enrolling at a driving school, in order to get a Driver’s License, you must first finish the required hours of lessons for class lessons and driving lessons.
Some call this stage “The First Stage” because you have to pass and get Learner’s Permit first before challenging the actual Driver’s examination. At this stage, you will learn the basic rules of the road, how to’s and whatnots. The driving lessons will be held inside the school grounds.
On the Learner’s Permit written examination, you have to get 45 points out of 50 points to pass. Points lower than 45 will be considered fail and you will have to get a re-take. Remember that the Learner’s Permit is only valid for 6 months. This means if you fail to get a Driver’s License after 6 months, your permit will expire and you will have to re-take again.
FINALLY OBTAINING A DRIVER’S LICENSE
Once you pass and obtained a Learner’s Permit, next will be the preparation for getting the actual Driver’s License. This proved difficult for a lot of people. Some had re-takes for 10 times. You need to give a lot of time to study the rules of the road and make sure you’re getting good results from mock-up examinations.
At this stage, the driving lessons will be held outside the school grounds, meaning you’ll be driving outside together with your instructor.
The challenging part comes after you pass the final driving exam. The written exam, which has 100 items in total. If the Learner’s Permit has a rule of 45 out of 50 to pass, the actual written final exam will be 95 points out of 100 items. Passing this in one take is not an easy feat so make sure you get enough time to study before the exams.
Once you pass the exam, CONGRATULATIONS! You’re going to get your driver’s license on the same day! The license costs around 2000 YEN.
Kapag napasa na ay agad namang ipoproseso ang opisyal na Driver’s License sa halagang mga nasa 2000YEN.
- ● I suggest talking to your acquaintances who already have their licenses for actual tips on the examination part.
- ● Also, I suggest answering a lot of mock-up examinations. There’s a lot of it on the internet. Some of the questions on the mock-up exams even appeared on the actual examination.
Information site supporting foreigners living in Japan.