【Tips】 Driving in Japan – Tips for Visitors from Abroad

In recent years Japan has seen an increasing number of traffic accidents involving rental car customers from abroad. This is due in part to an incomplete understanding of Japanese traffic regulations as well as the incorrect assumption that the same rules apply as in one’s home country.

This article covers some situations you may come across while driving in Japan that we feel deserve extra caution, including three-dimensional computer graphics used to depict actual accidents. So to those who are planning on driving a car in Japan in the near future or those thinking about renting a car here, we hope you will find this article useful and take these tips to heart for the sake of both your loved ones and everyone else on the road. At the end of the article you will find a link to a video with more detailed information including actual footage of past accidents, so be sure to check out the video and stay safe while you enjoy exploring Japan by car.


Our top 8 safety tips for driving in Japan

Be mindful of scooters and other two-wheeled motor vehicles

Here the driver did not seem to notice the moped approaching from behind to the left. A growing number of accidents have resulted when drivers fail to notice two-wheeled vehicles when changing lanes or making left- or right-hand turns, so be sure to pay extra attention.


Maintain a safe driving distance

Here a vehicle approaching from the left tried to make a U-turn without warning, prompting the vehicle in front to suddenly stop short, resulting in a rear-end collision. Even unexpected accidents such as these can be prevented by maintaining a safe driving distance.


Look out for pedestrians and bicycles

Here we see a bicycle come out from between the cars in the opposite lane and straight into the path of the vehicle. It is best to drive with the mindset that a pedestrian or bicycle could appear as if out of nowhere at any given time.



Here we see a vehicle that failed to slow down when approaching a curve, causing the driver to lose control of the steering wheel and spin out. Speed limits exist for a good reason, seeing as roads are specifically designed assuming a given maximum speed. So be sure to obey the speed limit at all times.


Turning at an intersection

Here a motorcycle came right out from behind a bus, colliding with a vehicle making a right-hand turn at an intersection. Some half of all traffic accidents take place at intersections, so be sure to proceed with extra caution.


Sudden lane changes

Here the vehicle in the left lane suddenly tried to change lanes right before the intersection, resulting in a collision. Remember that sudden lane changes are dangerous both in and near intersections.


Use of seat belts and car seats is mandatory

Proper use of a seat belt or car seat can reduce the risk of dying in a traffic accident by 14 times. The rear seats are no exception.


Railroad crossings

Here the vehicle failed to notice that the railroad crossing gate was down and crashed into it. Regardless of railroad crossing gates or signals, when crossing railroad tracks remember to always first come to a complete stop and look in front of you to determine whether there is sufficient space on the other side for you to cross, and then look both left and right before you proceed.




This concludes our top 8 safety tips for driving in Japan. Also remember that if you are used to driving on the right side of the road, be extra careful not to accidentally drive on the wrong side of the road as this can result in some very serious accidents.


For more detailed information as well as actual footage of past traffic accidents please watch our video here:


Also, we would like to recommend you to check an article from Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC in Chicago.

Motor Vehicle Safety: The Dangers of Distracted Driving