Monday, March 5, 2012

Driving in Hokkaido

The first thing you need to know about driving here is that you drive on the other side of the road. That’s enough of a reason for me not to be driving here.  Ted wants to get a car in the spring, when the snow melts.  He had a van and a Japanese drivers license when he lived in Japan before and he’ll be able to take the test and get a license again.  Until then, he has an international driving permit.  Americans cannot drive in Japan with only a US Drivers License.  Drivers are required to have an International Drivers Permit or for residents, a Japanese Drivers License.  If you have a valid US drivers license, you can obtain an International Drivers Permit at the AAA office. You need two passport type photos (that you can have taken at the AAA office) and it costs $15.

Beginning drivers and elderly drivers in Japan are identified with these symbols on their cars, so other drivers know to watch out!

I’ve written before about the small cars with the yellow license plates before.  The K-car or keijidōsha car is a type of small vehicle made to comply with tax and insurance regulations in Japan.

Taxi cabs here have driver controlled doors.  You can’t open and close the doors yourself, the driver has to do it.  The drivers wear white gloves and the seats have lace doily things on them.  The starting fare is 470 yen.

Hokkaido has the highest fatality rates for automobile accidents in Japan because of the snow and winter conditions. Road markings and signs are often covered by the huge amounts of snow.

1 comment:

ben said...

If you live in Sapporo Japan, this link will show you how to get a Japanese Drivers license:

I was a bit late getting mine(you're supposed to renew your license like a week after your birthday or something) I went 3 weeks after so I think maybe I had to pay extra. It cost me about 6,000 yen for everything to renew my license.