Traffic Rules in Japan

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Sticker to indicate that a foreigner is driving the car

If you receive the sticker shown right at the rental company, please display it clearly on the car. The sticker, which states that a foreigner is driving the car, encourages surrounding Japanese drivers to be careful.The image shows a sample Tohoku area sticker.

Notice for Traffic Rules in Japan (General Roads)

Left-hand Traffic

Cars drive on the left side of the road in Japan.

Always stop at a red light

In Japan, when approaching a traffic signal that is red, all cars traveling straight ahead, turning left, and turning right must stop and wait until the signal turns green.If there are pedestrians ahead of the place you turn left or right, they have right-of-way.
*However, if there is an arrow traffic light below or beside the traffic signal, you may proceed in the direction indicated by the arrow when green.

Wait when turning right

In Japan, if there is an oncoming vehicle when turning right at a green traffic light, the oncoming vehicle has right of way. Turn right after the oncoming vehicle has passed through the intersection or turned left.

Pay close attention to pedestrians and bicycles

Pedestrians always have right of way under Japan's traffic rules. Before turning left or right, if you find pedestrians passing at a crosswalk or pedestrians at a crosswalk without a traffic light, stop and wait for them to cross at the road. When bicycles pass at a crosswalk, wait for them in the same way.

Come to complete stop at "止まれ" and "STOP" signs.

You must stop just before the stop line ahead of the traffic sign shown on the right side. If there is no stop line, you must stop before the stop sign. If the stop line or sign is ignored and an accident is caused, “those who didn't stop” bear heavy responsibility.

Always stop at railroad crossings

In Japan, you must stop before crossing railroad tracks. Come to a full stop and check that no trains are approaching from the right or left. Also, make sure the vehicle ahead of you has crossed over the tracks before entering the crossing. Be careful about the clog on the further side of the railroad crossing and take care not to stop within the crossing for a long period.

Passing through expressway toll gates

Expressways (toll roads) include a gate marked "ETC 専用" (ETC only). This indicates that the gate is part of the "Electronic Toll Collection System". Vehicles not equipped with dedicated ETC equipment and an ETC card cannot use this gate. If your vehicle is not equipped with the ETC equipment and card, use the gate marked " 一般" (General) when using an expressway

When using an ETC card, please apply at the store in advance.

When you same-day lease a rental car at the shop, it is convenient to apply for fare deduction plans (JEP etc.)for the freeway. Please check the following site for reference.

Terms used on expressways(PA・SA)

Toll is basically charged on Japan's expressways.There are a lot of long-distance expressways in Japan. There are various facilities including rest areas as follows.

PA: Rest Areas to provide drivers services for refreshment and relaxation. They are equipped with toilets, but not always with restaurants and shops.

SA: Rest Areas to provide services for people and vehicles.Equipped with shops, restaurants and gas stations, but not always with gas stations and restaurants.

*PA and SA are usually located every 15 kilometers and 50 kilometers, but not necessarily. Take an early stop for rest, toilet break and refueling.

Main road signs in Japan

A video explaining the traffic rules guide for foreign visitors to Japan is available by clicking the banner below. (Link to an external site)

A video made to help foreign visitors who will be driving in Japan understand Japanese traffic rules can be viewed from the banner below. (Links to JAF Website)