What you need:
- Canadian licence (Must have proof of 3 months on the licence in Canada)*
- Translation of your Canadian Licence from JAF. ( About 3500 yen.)
- Provincial Letter of Declaration (Example,an original ICBC letter clearly stating when you passed your test in Canada, signed.)
- Gaijin Card
- 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 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
Samezu Driver’s License Center
1-12-5, Higashi-Oi, Shinagawa-ku
Koto Driver’s License Center
1-7-24, Shin-Suna, Koto-ku
Driving Licence Center Procedure
- Head to the Foreigners Licence window and hand all the information to the assistant.
- 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.
- 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.)
- Then you’ll have to get a stamp and head back up to the original Foreigners Licence window and hand back the approved form.
- The assistant will collect you and bring you to another area to have your picture taken.
- Wait in the waiting room for your licence.
The whole procedure can take around 2.5 – 4 hours depending on how busy they are.
- 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.
- Arrive early and bring a book and snacks.
- Think of it as a cultural experience, no matter how many times you may have to return.
- Bring originals of everything, no faxes or internet PDF documents.
- The staff are generally computer illiterate, don`t boggle them down with computer terms like pdf, word doc, etc…
- 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.
- sumimasen – excuse me, i`m sorry
- gomennasai – I`m sorry
- wakarimasu – i understand
- arigato gozaimasu – thank you