Driving in Tokyo

A friend of mine received his new car last weekend and we went driving around town all saturday night and sunday afternoon.

Fun thing to do with a car in Tokyo: drive to Yokohama’s 中華街 to eat chinese food for lunch a Sunday afternoon after partying.

It really got me into thinking I need to get off my lazy ass and finally get my license. I never bothered getting it while a student living in Paris and now that I’m 27 years old living in Japan, I realize my mistake.

So I’ve been looking at driving schools around my place and found a nice one not to far. Prices are ¥291.000 for manual, ¥278.000 for automatic. I should have no problem taking the driving courses and test in Japanese and the written test is available in English in Saitama prefecture, but studying for the written test in Japanese might be a bit out of my league.

I’m going to see with the school if they can waiver the fees for the non-driving classes and let me study at home on my own with whatever english materials I can find.

Internet is almost void of any accounts of foreigners passing their driving license from scratch in Japan so I have no real idea of what I’m in for…

7 thoughts on “Driving in Tokyo”

  1. True, there aren’t many accounts of foreigners taking the test in Japan from scratch (and I am very interested in seeing how your experience goes, as I am exactly in the same position and with more or less the same goal for this year…), but since US driver licenses cannot be exchanged for Japanese ones (unlike European), any driving American you’ll encounter has had to take the test again here…

    A blog-friend posted about his experience a while back: http://www.michaelpanda.com/blog/archives/000214.html

  2. Yeah, Americans have to take the test, but only the driving part (and a short 10 questions do-you-have-a-brain type of written test)
    I will have to take the 100 questions real 本物 written test, and seeing how the 10 questions one is translated, I’m a bit afraid at the prospect…

  3. Se conditionner des le debut a rouler a gauche… mais peut-etre tu prevois de rester longtemps au Japon?.. Sinon, on pouvait il y a encore peu l’ a Bali ou dans d’autres iles du pacifique…

  4. translated from damien’s comment
    condition yourself straight away to drive on the left side of the road… unless you plan to stay long in Japan?… or else, not so long ago you could still get it in Bali or other Pacific islands…

    first: yes, I plan to stay a while in Japan, but I was kind of hoping I could drive my dad’s car when in vacation in France… however I doubt he would ever give me the keys to his vintage BMW… :)
    second: what good would a driver’s license from Bali do? you need to prove you’ve lived in the country of issuance at least 3 months after getting the license to be able to translate/transfer it and drive in Japan, which kind of makes sense for stopping people from going to some backwards 3rd world country and bribing local authorities to get a license cheap and easy

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