Paperwork for Japan; visa and driving license information
Foreign paperwork can be a nightmare but as a short-term visitor to Japan (aka tourist) you will be fine. If you come prepared!
In this article you will learn:
how visa regulations work
how to get your international driving license
Giving information about visa and paperwork is always risky as procedures might change and for different nationalities there will be different rules. So please do check the facts for your nationality before your trip, for example here and with the Japanese embassy in your country.
Short and happy, we can say that getting a visa is easy, and getting easier all the time. Many western nationalities can receive a free tourist visa stamped into their passport upon arrival, usually for up to 90 days. Now more and more Asian tourists have this benefit too, being it usually for a shorter period. Interesting detail for those combining business and pleasure is that on a tourist visa you are allowed to visit companies and even hold meetings.
Driving license for Japan
To be allowed to drive in Japan you need to obtain an International Driving Permit, next to the valid license you hold from your own country. When renting a car or camper the number and details of this document are usually requested (in advance) and you can expect to have to show it when collecting your vehicle.
Getting one should be easy to arrange but must be done in your home country. You cannot get in while in Japan. The general way to obtain the IDP is from the automobile association in your country. There may not be a Japanese version available; English will be accepted. Prices vary but it is not expensive and the process should be painless and quick.
For those planning a very long trip; the IDP can be used for a maximum of 1 year per visit. If you want to use it longer you will have to leave Japan first and come back after at least 3 months. If you are from a country whose international driving permit is not recognised in Japan you have no choice but to get a Japanese license. For this you also must stay in Japan for at least 1 year.
And that’s all! Straight forward enough, isn’t it?
Create your unique trip! Go Camper Japan!
Adventurous enough to go explore Japan by yourself now? Read all about how to do it in How to.. on the road with a camper car in Japan
More about ‘Roads and Paperwork’:
how driving the Japanese roads really is
about visa regulations per country, check the Japanese National Tourism Organisation
the Japan Automobile Federation (their English website)
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