How to get a Japanese Licence

April 14, 2010

This is how to get your Canadian Driver’s Licence changed over to a Japanese Licence.

What you need:

  1. Canadian licence (Must have proof of 3 months on the licence in Canada)*
  2. Translation of your Canadian Licence from JAF. ( About 3500 yen.)
  3. Provincial Letter of Declaration (Example,an original ICBC letter clearly stating when you passed your test in Canada, signed.)
  4. Gaijin Card
  5. Passport
  6. Recent Photo to specific requirements.  (700 yen at the Driver’s Licence Center.)

* I made the mistake of renewing my licence before coming to Japan.  I thought i would come with a five year fresh licence.  This did not go in my favor.  I had to accumulate 3 months on my Canadian licence before they would allow me to have my big bike ogata motorbike licence.  This meant that I went to Canada every summer for 3 years to get my 3 months.  I was going to Canada anyway; nevertheless, it was a hassle i could have avoided.


Tokyo 105-8562 2-2-17 Shiba Minato-ku Tokyo 03-6833-9100
Tokyo Tama, 206-0025 6-24-2 Nagayama Tama-shi Tokyo 042-339-2811

Driving Licence Centers

Fuchu Driver’s License Center
3-1-1, Tama-cho, Fuchu-shi
Phone 042-362-3591

Samezu Driver’s License Center
1-12-5, Higashi-Oi, Shinagawa-ku
Phone 03-3474-1374

Koto Driver’s License Center
1-7-24, Shin-Suna, Koto-ku
Phone 03-3699-1151

Driving Licence Center Procedure

  1. Head to the Foreigners Licence window and hand all the information to the assistant.
  2. Providing the documents are in order, you will then have to line up at another window and pay roughly 5120 yen for a stamp and admin fees.
  3. Then head to the Eye Test area. (You will have to state where the “C” is facing: up, down, right left, etc… you will then have to state which colors you see: red, green, Yellow, Blue.)
  4. Then you’ll have to get a stamp and head back up to the original Foreigners Licence window and hand back the approved form.
  5. The assistant will collect you and bring you to another area to have your picture taken.
  6. Wait in the waiting room for your licence.
  7. Done

The whole procedure can take around 2.5 – 4 hours depending on how busy they are.

Useful Hints

  1. In Japan, you are guilty until proven innocent.  These means some staff will think you`re lying about your licence credentials, dates, times, etc..  If this happens, be nice, smile, and be patient and humble.  Don`t question them.  This will go in your favor and can turn things around if the meeting goes sour.
  2. Arrive early and bring a book and snacks.
  3. Think of it as a cultural experience, no matter how many times you may have to return.
  4. Bring originals of everything, no faxes or internet PDF documents.
  5. The staff are generally computer illiterate, don`t boggle them down with computer terms like pdf, word doc, etc…
  6. The staff take their job very seriously.  It`s almost the equivalent of customs at the airport.  Therefore, never speak until spoken to.  When questioned, use short simple answers.

Useful words

  1. sumimasen – excuse me, i`m sorry
  2. gomennasai – I`m sorry
  3. wakarimasu – i understand
  4. arigato gozaimasu – thank you

Happy driving!


Gas Bike

October 21, 2009

I’ve recently bought an electric bike.  My father told me about a gas powered bike.  Here’s a link to a gas powered bike.

Registering a Motor Bike in Japan

March 29, 2009

zdesukedo-img600x450-1237566809gumttu797561Registering a motor bike in any country can drag you down.  In Japan, be prepared for a migraine if you’re not well prepared.  Hopefully, thanks to my leg work and trials and errors, it will be a painless affair for you.

Step 1: Owner Material, (軽自動車届出済証返納済確認書)

Once you’ve bought your dream bike you need to get three things from the owner.

i) A receipt. 領収
ii) An orange paper that has the previous owners information on it – Transfer papers. 軽自動車届出済証返納済確認書
iii) A white paper that is the Proof Certificate Grant Bill for a light vehicle. 軽自動車届出済証返納証明書 (自動車重税用)

Step 2: Ward office、(区役所)

You have to go to the ward office to pick up a residence form (住民票). Bring your gaijin card.

Step 3: Insurance (自賠責保険証明書)

You need to buy compulsory automobile liability insurance.  You can buy this at the post office or at the Automobile Taxation Office. (Please note that if you buy insurance at the Automobile Taxation office it might be in a separate building close to the Automobile Taxation Office.)

Step 4: Your personal seal. (印鑑)

You have to have a personal seal created.  This costs about 4000 yen.  You have to go to an Inkan store (印鑑店) to get one.

Step 5: Automobile Taxation Office, (自動車税務署)

Find your local friendly automobile taxation office and bring all of the above documents with you.  (Each area has their own so you have to ask at the ward office or police station.) Here’s the list again:

1) Receipt (Don’t need but bring just in case.) 領収
2) Orange Transfer Papers, 軽自動車届出済証返納済確認書
3) White Certificate Grant Bill, 軽自動車届出済証返納証明書 (自動車重量税用)
4) Insurance papers, 自賠責保険証明書
5) Inkan, 印鑑

You will have to fill out two forms at the office. These forms are pretty straight forward.  Just copy and paste the information from the orange and white forms into these papers.  Price for forms: 40 Yen.

Step 6: You have to go to another building and show them all your papers.  He stamps this and then sends you to the number plate building.

Step 7: Pick up your number plates at the number plate building.  Price: 550 yen.

Step 8: Put the plates on the bike with your insurance sticker and your free to roam the streets of Japan.  Just watch out for speed traps, red light cops and deadly taxis!

Here are the links in Japanese:

New Registration:

Change of Address:

Deregistering a Junk Bike: (廃車

I’ve compiled all the pictures of the documents you need and what you should have left.  I have blacked out my information for obvious reasons.

************** Pictures *************

What you need to bring to the Automobile Taxation Office:



Resident's Papers

Resident's Papers

Transfer Papers

Transfer Papers


Certificate Grant Bill

Insurance Papers

Insurance Papers

Automobile Taxation Forms to be filled in when you get there:

Automobile Taxation Office small form

Automobile Taxation Office small form

Automobile Taxation Office large form

Automobile Taxation Office large form

Your Proof of ownership papers – what you keep at the end:

Proof of Ownership Papers

Proof of Ownership Papers copy (This is a copy of the Certificate Grant Bill. You keep this when everything is done. Notice the stamp at the top of this paper? The other one doesn't have this stamp. This is the copy. I believe the papers you need to sell it in the future.)

Automobile Taxation Office large form copy

Automobile Taxation Office large form copy

Number Plate

Number Plate

All the best,


Yahoo Auctions Japan: Buying a Motorbike in Japan

March 27, 2009

zdesukedo-img600x450-1237566809wo753b797561Well folks, long time no read.  I have finally bought a motorbike on yahoo Japan auctions.  Curious?  Well read on.

I had to get a Japanese credit card first.  This has been the hardest thing to do so far.

I then began searching for the ideal bike. It had to be just perfect, at a reasonable price…  It was a hard battle between the Kawasaki Balius 250 cc and the Kawasaki ZZR250 cc but the ZZR came a head with a good price at a precious time – the only Saturday i have off for a long time…

I entered my price at the last minute of the auction to ensure the win… But kiss999 came in and ordered the same bid. Fucker… I then was presented with 5 more minutes on the clock… tick toc, tick toc.  I entered a larger sum before the time was up to seal the deal!  But alas, another 5 minutes came up on the final time of the auction…  Fucker…  Damn yahoo and their diplomacy.   In the end, after numerous countless tedious amount of exciting time i sealed the deal…  Finally… Oh my god, what did i just buy?

I have received the email informing me about the buy.  Let’s wait and see what happens next!