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Driving in Japan
Japanese traffic rules

Important points to note regarding Japanese traffic rules.

  • Cars drive on the left-hand side of the road.
  • Pedestrians have priority at all times.
  • Traffic signals

    A red light means stop.

    Traffic signals:Red light

    If a green arrow is shown, even with an amber or red light, drivers should proceed in the direction indicated.

    Traffic signals:Green Arrow light
  • Seat belts

    According to Japan's Road Traffic Law, all seats must be fitted with seat belts. Driver and passengers must all fasten their seat belts.

  • Child seats

    Children under the age of six must by law use a child seat.

  • Please respect speed limits when you drive.

    This sign indicates a speed limit of 50km/h.
    Driving over the speed of 50 km/h is forbidden.

    Speed limit of 50km/h
  • Please respect speed limits when you drive.

    These signs indicate that it is forbidden to park or stop.
    Fines are issued for infringements.

    Signs indicate that it is forbidden to park or stop
  • Driving while drunk or after the consumption of alchohol is forbidden.
  • It is forbidden for a person driving a vehicle to operate a cellphone, smartphone, tablet or other similar device.
  • ETC System

    At the entrance to Japanese public highways for which tolls are charged there are gates marked "ETC専用". ETC stands for Electronic Toll Collection System. Only vehicles with an ETC on-board device and an ETC card may use this gate. Other vehicles should enter the public highway via the gate marked "一般" (general). Payment may be made at the highway's entrance or the exit.

    Gates marked "ETC専用"

Japanese main road signs

Japanese main road signs

Japanese main road signs:Road closed

Road closed

Japanese main road signs:Closed to vehicles

Closed to vehicles

Japanese main road signs:No parking or stopping

No parking or stopping

Japanese main road signs:No parking

No parking

Japanese main road signs:Stop


Japanese main road signs:Slow down

Slow down

Japanese main road signs:Designated direction only1
Japanese main road signs:Designated direction only2
Japanese main road signs:Designated direction only3

Designated direction only

Japanese main road signs:No crossing by car

No crossing by car

Japanese main road signs:No U-turns

No U-turns

Japanese main road signs:No swerving to the right for overtaking

No swerving to the right for overtaking

Japanese main road signs:Maximum speed

Maximum speed

Japanese main road signs:Minimum speed

Minimum speed

Japanese main road signs:No entry

No entry

Japanese main road signs:One way1
Japanese main road signs:One way1

One way

Japanese main road signs:Designated bus lane

Designated bus lane

Road closed (Closed to all traffic, pedestrians, motor vehicles, streetcars)

Warning signs

Japanese main road signs:Designated bus lane

Slippery road ahead

Japanese main road signs:Falling rocks ahead

Falling rocks ahead

Japanese main road signs:Bumpy road ahead

Bumpy road ahead

Japanese main road signs:Road construction ahead

Road construction ahead

Japanese main road signs:Steep upward slope

Steep upward slope

Japanese main road signs:Steep downward slope

Steep downward slope

Japanese main road signs:School, kindergarten, nursery school ahead

School, kindergarten, nursery school ahead

Japanese main road signs:Traffic light ahead

Traffic light ahead

Japanese main road signs:Merging traffic ahead

Merging traffic ahead

Japanese main road signs:Lane ends ahead

Lane ends ahead

Japanese main road signs:Road narrows ahead

Road narrows ahead

Japanese main road signs:Two-way traffic ahead

Two-way traffic ahead

Japanese main road signs:Railroad crossing ahead

Railroad crossing ahead

Japanese main road signs:Cross winds ahead

Cross winds ahead

Japanese main road signs:Animal crossing

Animal crossing

Japanese main road signs:Danger


Direction signs

Japanese main road signs:Parking allowed

Parking allowed

Japanese main road signs:Stopping allowed

Stopping allowed

Japanese main road signs:Right-of-way


Japanese main road signs:Center line

Center line

Japanese main road signs:Stopping line

Stopping line

Japanese main road signs:Safety zone

Safety zone

Japanese main road signs:Pedestrian crossing

Pedestrian crossing

Japanese main road signs:Bicycle crossing lane

Bicycle crossing lane

Guide signs

Japanese main road signs:Traffic lane designations

Traffic lane designations

Japanese main road signs:Highway entrance ahead

Highway entrance ahead

Japanese main road signs:Direction, lane and exit

Direction, lane and exit

Japanese main road signs:Emergency telephone

Emergency telephone

Japanese main road signs:Emergency parking zone

Emergency parking zone

You may face criminal charges and be placed under police arrest if you commit a serious traffic offense (not limited to accidents).

Regulations of Chains

Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation, and Tourism announced a new regulation applicable in the case of heavy snow on the specified highways and main roads. (See below) The new regulation does not allow to drive a car without tire chains under the special heavy snowfall warning (can not drive with studless tires).

All ORIX Rent-A-Car shops can not arrange tire chains as an option and if you do not put a tire chain to our rent car, please do not drive on the specified highways and main roads. Once a car is damaged without tire chains, car insurance does not cover the cost of repair.

Your kind attention and understanding is very much appreciated.

No Type Prefectures Route No Place/Route Section Distance(km)
1 Express way Niigata・Nagano E18 JOSHIN-ETSU EXPRESSWAY Shinanomachi IC(17)~Arai PA(19-1) 25
2 Express way Yamanashi E20 CHUO EXPRESSWAY Sudama IC(17)~Nagasaka IC(17-1) 9
3 Express way Nagano E19 CHUO EXPRESSWAY Iidayamamoto IC(26-1)~Sonohara IC(26-2) 10
4 Express way Ishikawa・Fukui E8 HOKURIKU EXPRESSWAY Maruoka IC(10)~Kaga IC(12) 18
5 Express way Fukui・Shiga E8 HOKURIKU EXPRESSWAY Kinomoto IC(3)~Imajo IC(5) 45
6 Express way Hiroshima・Shimane E73 YONAGO EXPRESSWAY Yubara IC(2)~Koufu IC(4) 34
7 Express way Hiroshima・Shimane E74 HAMADA EXPRESSWAY Oasa IC(1)~Asahi IC(3) 27
8 National way Yamagata 112 Gassan Road Shizu Nishikawamachi~Tsuruokashi Kaminagawa 27
9 National way Yamanashi・Shizuoka 138 Lake Yamanaka-Subashiri Yamanashiken Yamanakakomura Hirano~ Shizuokaken Oyamamachi subashiri 9
10 National way Niigata 7 Osudo~Kamiotori Murakamishi Osudo~Murakamishi Kamiotori 16
11 National way Fukui 8 Ishikawa Prefectural bound~Sakaishi Awarashi Kumasaka~Awarashi Sasaoka 4
12 National way Hiroshima・Shimane 54 Akanatoge Pass Hiroshimaken Miyoshishi Funocho Kamihuno~ ShimanekenIinancho Kamiakana 12
13 National way Ehime 56 Tosakatoge Pass Seiyoshi Uwacho~Ozushi Matsuo 7

Be careful!

In the case of a serious infringement of Japan's traffic laws (including but not limited to accidents),
criminal penalties may be applied and the driver may be subject to arrest.

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