Traffic rules

Traffic Rules in Japan

Left-Hand Traffic

Japan is one of the rare countries that carry traffic on the left.

Traffic Lights

You must always stop when the light is red. Vehicles traveling straight as well as those turning right or left must stop. However, even when the light is red, you may go in the direction a green arrow indicates.

Green Light / Go

You can go straight or turn right or left when the light is green.

Yellow Light / Stop

However, you can go if you cannot stop at the stop line or if stopping may pose danger.

Red Light / Stop

Please stop. According to Japanese traffic laws, turning right or left is prohibited when the light is red.

Only Right Turns Allowed

Even when the light is red, if a green arrow is lit, you may go in the direction it indicates.

Only Left Turns Allowed

Even when the light is red, if a green arrow is lit, you may go in the direction it indicates.

Japanese Traffic Signs

You must always stop in front of a traffic sign. If you do not stop completely, it will be a violation. If there is no traffic light at a crossing, the driver as well as all passengers should check for safety.

List of Japanese Traffic Signs

Maximum speed

Stop before Proceeding

Vehicle entry prohibited

Road closed

Closed to vehicular traffic

U-turn prohibited

Slow down

No parking

Priority to pedestrians

Time restricted parking zone

Traffic restricted to indicated direction

Traffic restricted to indicated direction

Traffic restricted to indicated direction

One way

Crosswalk / bicycle crossing zone

Parking allowed

Priority road

Center line

Stop line

All passengers must fasten seatbelts

It is mandatory for all passengers to fasten seatbelts.

Drinking and driving is absolutely prohibited.

Driving after drinking as well as driving with alcohol remaining in your system from the day before is considered driving under the influence.

Using your mobile phone while driving is absolutely prohibited.

Specifically for the driver, using a mobile phone while driving is subject to a penalty of 50,000 yen or less. Sending and receiving texts are subject to similar penalty for gazing at the screen. Please beware.

Bus Lanes

Bus lanes are part of traffic regulations to alleviate congestion during rush hours and to secure means of traveling during commuting hours. During the regulated hours, only buses, taxis, bikes, designated vehicles, and authorized vehicles are allowed to use these lanes. General vehicles are prohibited to use them. Driving in these lanes during the regulated hours is a violation, so please pay attention. The bus lanes are in effect every day during commuting hours in the morning and evening, except for Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, and Jan 2-3.

Traffic Signs

Dial 110 for the police.

If you get into an accident, remain at the scene and call 110!
Even if it is a single vehicle accident, call 110 right away!
If you are using a car rental, please be sure to contact the rental company.

The asphalt in Okinawa contains limestone, and the roads are said to be slippery. They’re particularly dangerous after rain, so be careful not to go too fast.

About 80% of accidents occur in car parks. Take particular care when entering and leaving hotels, convenience stores and so on.