Can I Drive in Japan With My Singapore Driving License?

Goh Jun Cheng

With its speedy shinkansen trains, many visitors to Japan don’t bother driving. But for travelers who want to explore the country’s scenic rural roads or famous highways, an important question arises – can you use your Singapore-issued driving license to legally operate a vehicle in Japan? Let’s examine the regulations.

Singapore Licenses Are Valid in Japan

The good news is that holders of a valid Singapore class 3, 3A or 3C driving license can legally drive in Japan without getting a Japanese license. This is based on a bilateral agreement between the two countries.

However, an International Driving Permit (IDP) officially translated in Japanese is recommended to supplement your Singapore license when driving in Japan.

Driving on the Left Side of the Road

Like Singapore, vehicles in Japan drive on the left side of the road. So the transition should feel familiar.

But be alert for differences in road sign meanings, highway options like tailgating fees, and traffic rules like allowing certain mobile phone use which is prohibited in Singapore.

Adjust your driving accordingly and obey local laws and speed limits. Drive defensively and cautiously as a visitor.

Car Rental With a Singapore License

Most car rental agencies in Japan will accept a valid Singapore driving license, especially if accompanied by an IDP.

However, some may impose extra fees or deposits for foreign license holders, or restrict manual transmission rentals without a Japanese license specifically.

Always verify the car rental agency’s policies on accepting your Singapore license before booking a vehicle.

Purchasing Japanese Car Insurance

You should also purchase the required Japanese Compulsory Insurance which covers personal injury liability. Ensure you are properly insured when driving a rental car or borrowed vehicle.

Check if your Singapore insurance has reciprocal coverage in Japan. If not, take out additional policies as needed for full protection.

Safety First When Driving

When driving in Japan with your Singapore license and IDP, always adhere to local traffic laws and drive responsibly.

Be prepared for narrower roads, different signage conventions, reduced speed limits in urban areas, and unique intersections.

Defensive driving and avoiding fatigue are critical in unfamiliar territory. Don’t rely too heavily on GPS navigation.

Securing Your IDP in Advance

Finally, don’t forget to apply for your International Driving Permit endorsed for Japan in Singapore prior to your trip for convenience.

The IDP is issued by authorized organizations like AA Singapore with your valid local license. Carry your IDP and Singapore license together when driving in Japan.


In summary, your Singapore driving license combined with an International Driving Permit does enable you to legally operate vehicles when visiting Japan. Obtain required insurance, be alert to local road conditions, and drive cautiously to ensure a safe trip.

1 thought on “Can I Drive in Japan With My Singapore Driving License?”

  1. My Singaporean driver’s license was not accepted by the car rental companies in Fujiyama. They insisted that I needed an international driving permit. They verified this with their headquarters, and all confirmed the same requirement. It seems there may have been some confusion in your report.


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