Combining traditional culture with vibrant modern day living, there is much to discover whilst travelling to Japan. From traditional temples and quiet Bonzai gardens, to mesmerising and almost futuristic looking cities; Japan boasts a massive range of things to see and do. There’s a lively shopping industry which is perfect for those who love indulging in a little retail therapy, and given that there are roughly three times as many shops as you’d find in the UK, the bustling malls and complexes are quite unlike anywhere else. The more traditional elements of Japanese culture are found beyond the glittering city limits, where you’ll discover the Golden Pavilion and peaceful temples.
Driving in Japan
Road Driving Side
Urban Speed Limit
Rural Speed Limit
Motorway Speed Limit
Important things to note
Signs outside the city centre will not have an English translation.
Look out for stop signs – an upturned red triangle.
Parking in major cities and other urban centre can be problematic owing to the limited amount of spaces.
Driving culture in Japan
What are the roads like in Japan?
Home to one of the world’s best transport systems, there are very few roads in and around major cities. These tend to be congested with high volumes of traffic and many city centre roads tend to be one-way. Roads are generally well maintained and driving in more rural parts of the country are much more pleasant due to having significantly less traffic than in cities. Country roads can be fairly narrow with occasional tunnels that are poorly lit.
What are the drivers like in Japan?
Generally courteous and patient but exercise caution around taxis as they are known to stop in the middle of the road for some time to collect passengers. It is advisable to keep your distance from long-distance truckers as they are known to tailgate slower vehicles. In rural areas, watch out for farmers appearing from side roads.
What are the best times to drive?
Avoid driving in and around major cities at rush hour, as roads tend to be heavily congested. It’s advisable not to drive in rural areas at night unless you know your route well. Watch out for pedestrians and cyclists at night too.
What are the driving laws?
It is compulsory to wear seatbelts in both front and rear seats of the vehicle.
Japan operates a strict zero tolerance policy for drink driving.
Children too young for adult seatbelts should be seated using an appropriate restrain for their age.
If you have an accident in Japan, the law states that you must not move your vehicle, unless it is causing a dangerous obstruction to other roads users, until the appropriate authorities arrive at the scene.
You cannot use a mobile handset for calls, texts or internet while driving as this is against the law. It is recommended to use a hands-free kit if you want to speak on your mobile phone whilst driving.