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Step 1: Check your motorcycle license country of issue

 

In order to rent and ride a Japan Bike Rentals motorcycle, you must be at least 21 years of age and be in possession of valid motorcycle license from Japan or one of the following countries with additional documentation (explained below):
Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium*, Benin, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, Congo, Congo (DROC), Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Fiji, Finland, France*, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy**, Jamaica, Jordan, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Macao, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Monaco*, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland**, Portugal, Romania, Russia**, Rwanda, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States***, Vatican, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe
   
  * - Monaco, France, and Belgium - Please see special note at the bottom of this page
  ** - Italy, Poland, Russia - Please see special note at the bottom of this page
  *** - United States - Please see special note at the bottom of this page
  If your drivers license was issued in a country not listed above, you cannot drive in Japan.
 

Step 2: Check license expiration, restrictions, etc

  (a) Please check that your license is still valid and has not past its expiration date.
  (b) Does your motorcycle license have any restrictions (i.e. engine displacement, type of motorcycle and transmission type? If so, the same restrictions will apply in Japan.
  (c) Have you spent at least 3 months in the country where your motorcycle license was issued, since it was issued? This is a Japanese legal requirement.
   
 

Step 3: Confirm additional documentation

  In addition to your original motorcycle license, additional documentation is required in order to ride in Japan. This will depend on the country where your license was issued. Please check to see which group below applies to you...
   
 

Group 1 - Original motorcycle license + International Driving Permit (IDP)

  If your license was issued in one of the following countries, you will need an official International Driving Permit from the same country, in addition to your original motorcycle license. (These countries have all signed and ratified the 1949 "Geneva Convention on Road Traffic" and are therefore legally recognized in Japan)
   
            
         
  Full List:
Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, Congo, Congo (DROC), Côte d'Ivoire, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Fiji, Finland, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Macao, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vatican, Venezuela, Zimbabwe.
 
   
  Confirm IDP expiration, authority, etc.
  (a) Is your IDP still valid? IDPs normally expire one year after the date of issue. Please check the issue date and when the IDP expires.
  (b) Is your IDP issued by the correct licensing authority?
  (c) Is your IDP based on the 1949 Geneva Convention? Only IDPs that are based on the 1949 Geneva Convention are recognized in Japan. It must indicate 1949 Geneva convention on the front cover.
  (d) Is your IDP correctly stamped for motorcycle use? Occasionally, the issuing authority neglects to stamp the IDP, rendering it invalid. Please check your IDP is stamped properly.
   
  *We understand that IDPs are optional in some countries. However, in Japan they are a legal requirement.
  **Your IDP must be accompanied by a valid driver's license at all times -- it has no value on its own and is not a substitute for a driver's license.
  ***Please make sure to bring both documents with you to Japan. You can only drive in Japan when you are in possession of both documents.
  ****Please note that documents called International Driver's Licenses (IDL) and International Driving Documents (IDD) are being sold on-line. However, these documents have no validity anywhere. Please ensure you have not obtained one of these by mistake.
   
   
   
 

Group 2 - Original motorcycle license + official Japanese translation

        
  If your license was issued in Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Monaco, Slovenia, or Taiwan, you will need to obtain an official Japanese translation of the original license. Japan Bike Rentals can provide this translation service for 9,000yen. Please contact us.
 
   
   
 

Group 3 - Japanese license only

 
  If your license was issued in Japan, you will not need any additional documentation.
 
   
   

   
  Please note: Licenses issued from all other countries (i.e. licenses not listed in groups 1, 2 or 3), cannot be used in Japan. Therefore it is not possible for a person in possession of one of these other licenses to legally drive in Japan.
   

   
   
   
 

Special Notes for Monaco, Belgium, France, Italy, Poland, Russia, and the United States

   
 
  * - Special note for Monaco, Belgium and France license holders
  License holders from Monaco, Belgium and France have two license options. They may choose the above mentioned option 1 (to obtain an 1949 based International Driving Permit). Or they may choose the above mentioned option 2 (to get an official translation).
   
 
  ** - Special note for Italy, Poland, and Russia license holders
  Italy, Poland and Russia were signatories to both the 1949 Geneva convention on road traffic and to the 1968 Vienna convention on road traffic. So the issuing authorities in Italy, Poland, and Russia have the right to issue both 1949 Geneva convention based International Driving Permits (IDPs) and 1968 Vienna convention based IDPs. However, our understanding is that in Italy, Poland, and Russia, the issuing authorities usually issue 1968 Vienna convention based IDPs and it is very difficult to obtain 1949 Geneva convention based IDPs in these countries. If you can obtain a 1949 Geneva convention based IDP, where the 1949 Geneva convention is explicitly mentioned on the front cover, then there is a possibility that you can ride in Japan. However, with the 1968 Vienna convention based IDP, you definitely cannot ride in Japan.
   
 
  *** - Special note for US license holders
  United States IDPs can only be issued by the AAA or the NAC. See the below links for reference...
   
  http://www.aaa.com/vacation/idpf.html
  http://www.nationalautoclub.com/nonmember_services.htm
  No other entity has the authority to issue a United States IDP (International Driving Permit).

* Please note that documents called International Driver's Licenses (IDL) and International Driving Documents (IDD) are being sold on-line. However, these documents have no validity anywhere. Please ensure you have not obtained one of these by mistake.