Traffic rules
  • Updated: December 2, 2019
Traffic Rules in Japan

Please note that Japanese traffic rules and regulations may different from yours. For your safety, please check Japanese traffic rules, regulations, and road signs in advance.

Left-Hand Traffic

In Japan, vehicles drive on the left side of the road and are right-hand drive. If this differs from your country, be careful when driving.

All passengers must fasten seatbelts

It is mandatory for all passengers to fasten seatbelts.

Drinking and driving

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

Specifically for the driver, using a mobile phone while driving is subject to a penalty of 100,000 yen or less. Sending and receiving texts are subject to similar penalty for gazing at the screen. Please beware.

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.

Road 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.

You can check the list of road signs from the websited below.

Be aware of the morning and evening bus lane traffic regulations

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.

Check Bus Lane Zones

Driving Precautions

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.

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 anyone is injured, please call 119.
If you are using a car rental, please be sure to contact the rental company.

Basic Highway Rules

The speed limit on expressways is 80km/h. Slight inattention or violation of traffic rules can lead to unexpected accidents. Please follow the traffic rules, and drive safely on the expressway.

Proper Manners for Highway Driving

The green sign is a sign for an expressway

This road sign indicates a toll road for automobiles only.
1 : Name of the interchange
2 : Direction of the interchange