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License Requirement to Ride in Japan

VERY IMPORTANT: Digital versions of the international driver's permit (IDP) are not accepted in Japan by law. We are unable to rent a you vehicle, and unable to issue any refunds if you cannot physically present a valid printed and stamped IDP from your country's authority, a valid home license, your passport or a valid credit card.

What do I need to drive/ride in Japan with Bike Rental Japan?

  • Be at least 20 years of age.
  • Passport.
  • Credit card (we recommend bringing more than one just in case).
  • Have a valid motorcycle driving license from Japan or from one of the following countries, plus an international driving permit stamped on “A” for motorcycles or an Official Japanese Translation, depending on the country. For more details please continue reading:
AlbaniaAlgeriaArgentinaAustraliaAustriaBangladeshBarbadosBelgiumBotswanaBulgariaBurkina FasoCambodiaCanadaCentral AfricanChileCongoCongo(DROC)Côte d'IvoireCubaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDominican RepEcuadorEgyptFijiFinlandFrance 1GeorgiaGermanyGhanaGreeceGuatemalaHaitiHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIrelandIsraelItaly 2JamaicaJordanKyrgyzstanLaosLebanonLesothoLuxembourgMacaoMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaliMaltaMonaco 1MontenegroMoroccoNamibiaNetherlandsNew ZealandNigerNigeriaNorwayPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPoland 2PortugalRomaniaRussia 2RwandaSan MarinoSenegalSerbiaSierra LeoneSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSouth AfricaSouth KoreaSpainSri LankaSwedenSwitzerlandSyriaTaiwanThailandTogoTrinidad&TobagoTunisiaTurkeyUgandaUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited States 3VaticanVenezuelaZimbabwe
Congratulations you can drive or ride in Japan if you have the above license issued to you from that country. Also please check notes regarding foreign driving licenses at the end. 1. Monaco, France and Belgium: Please see especial note at the bottom of this page.
2. Italy, Poland and Russia: Please see especial note at the bottom of this page.
3. United States: Please see especial note at the bottom of this page.
The documentation needed depends on the country:
Home Country Driving License + International Driving Permit
(based on the Geneva International Road Traffic Convention of 19th September 1949)
※If in the International Driving Permit has
"1968" written in the front cover, it is NOT valid in Japan:

CANNOT Drive in Japan

It also has to be stamped on "A" for motorcycles, and the 1 year validity has to be in force:
If your country signed several International Road Traffic conventions (Paris, Geneva, Vienna), please make sure that you ask the traffic authorities to issue the International Driving Permit based on the 19th September 1949 Geneva Convention because this is the only one valid in Japan.

Full list of countries Listed at the top of this page.
Important notes regarding the International Driving Permit (IDP):If your driving license was issued in a country not listed above, you cannot drive in Japan. Also please check notes regarding foreign driving licenses at the end.

1. It has to be issued in the same country than the driver license.
2. It has to be based on the 1949 Geneva Convention. Only these are recognized by Japan. It has to say "1949 Geneva Convention" on the front cover.
3. Check that the IDP is not expired.
4. Check that the IDP is correctly stamped for motorcycle use.
5. Check that the IDP is issued by the correct licensing authority.
6. The IDP has no validity on its own. It has to be accompanied at all times by a valid driving license.
Home Country Driving License + Official Japanese translation of the Driving license

If your license is issued in Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Monaco, Slovenia, Taiwan or Estonia you will need to obtain an official Japanese translation of your home country driving license. This can be obtained at the Japanese Automobile Federation or official authorities like Embassies and consulates.

Japanese Driving License
If you have a Japanese driving license, you will not need any additional document.

Notes regarding foreign driving licenses:
1. Please check the expiration date, make sure it is still valid.
2. Does your motorcycle license have any restrictions like engine displacement, transmission type, etc.? If so, the same restrictions will apply in Japan.
3. You must have spent 3 months in the country where your motorcycle license was issued after obtaining the license. This is a requirement by Japanese law.

Special notes:

licence licence licence
License holders from Belgium, France and Monaco have two options:
Obtain a 1949 Geneva Convention based IDP, as the "Group 1" countries mentioned above.
Obtain an official Japanese translation of their driving license, as the "Group 2" countries mentioned above.

licence licence licence
Italy, Poland and Russia signed both the:
– 1949 Geneva Convention on road traffic.
– 1968 Vienna Convention on road traffic.

Therefore authorities of these countries have rights to issue IDPs based on both conventions, but they usually issue IDPs based on the 1968 Vienna Convention. However Japan only recognizes IDPs issued based on the 1949 Convention. If you can obtain an IDP based on the 1949 Geneva Convention ("1949 Convention" is written on the front cover) then you can drive in Japan. But with an IDP based on the 1968 Vienna Convention you cannot drive in Japan.

In the USA, only two organizations are allowed to sell real, legal IDPs: the American Automobile Association, and the American Automobile Touring Alliance, which offers IDPs through the National Automobile Club.

licence licence

License translation service.

Some countries require a translation by JAF (Japanese Automobile Federation) of the home license. group 2 of
our license requirement page: (Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland,
Monaco, Slovenia, Taiwan or Estonia) and any license that is not in ALPHABET including but not limited to
licenses written in Arabic or Russian, or licenses issued in the Republic of Korea, Kingdom of Thailand, Lao
People's Democratic Republic, and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

More information can be seen here:

JAF offers this service in person at one of their offices, the nearest to Bike Rental Japan located here:

This is a next working day service so applications on a Friday will be available on a Monday.
JAF also provides an online application however this can only be applied for from within Japan and takes 2
weeks so we at Bike Rental Japan offer this service for you so your translation will be ready for you on pick up
of your bike. The translation itself costs 4000 jpy, and our service charge is 1000 jpy.

Please select the “License Translation Service 5000 yen” on the “accessories” section of the booking form.

For this we require a photo or scan of your full driver’s license, front and back, all sections CLEARLY visible.

Some problems may occur and JAF may not be able to translate the following types of driver's licenses.

  1. Licenses with handwritten sections that are illegible (e.g. the upper left part of the back side of a German driver's license).
  2. Paper driver's licenses in particular, with illegible stamps or stamps overlapping the folds of the license, making them illegible (e.g. French driver's license).

In this case you will be required to obtain a new license to be able to proceed with the translation service so please do allow enough time including the 2 week processing time for the JAF translation.
Full information for JAF conditions can be seen here, please be sure to read and understand all parts.

Please note, Bike Rental Japan’s cancellation policy will be applied in the case of any delayed license translation processing regardless of fault.

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