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Driving in Japan

Konnichiwa dear friends of Japan and those who want to become friends of Japan!

Today's post is about driving in Japan. In the previous post I already talked about rental cars in Japan and for those who have decided to make their trip in Japan by car, you can find some important tips here.

What do I have to keep in mind when driving in Japan?

In Japan there is left-hand traffic, which you have to get used to. The normal overtaking and right of way rules apply, adapted to left-hand traffic. Most of the Japanese keep to the speed limits. So it is possible to drive in an orderly fashion in Japan, which is not necessarily the case in most other parts of Asia 😉
The signs are always in Kanji (Japanese characters) and in Romaji (Latin characters), so that streets and cities can be found. Rural areas are an exception. For this purpose, each rental company offers a navigation device, which can be changed to English. Let the staff of the rental car company help you with addresses. Driving in Japan is simplified by the general abandonment of manual transmissions. So you can concentrate well on the traffic and the road directions.
In many cities there are no street names, but only block numbers with parts of the city. Pay attention and find out the addresses of the accommodations before the trip. Also common are route drawings. A map is an advantage in case you don't have a GPS or it breaks down.
By the way, the blood alcohol limit is 0% and is severely punished if exceeded.

Driving in Japan - signposting and road guidance

Are there highways in Japan?

Just not quite like in Germany 😉 On Japanese highways there is a general speed limit of 100 km/h, on country roads usually 50 km/h. By the way, there is a toll on the highway. At the entrance (IC -Interchange) at the toll area you have to take a ticket and pay it at the exit. Depending on the equipment of the car, the procedure can also be done electronically on the marked lanes 'ETC'. The toll is calculated by the driven kilometers of a flat rate and the excise tax. This results in an approximate average value per kilometer of 25 yen.
Important: The car that enters the highway has the right of way!
The highways are mostly two lanes, partly also three lanes.

Fast driving in Japan is not typical, even if some movies from Hollywood show it to us, and you have to plan these speed limits into your itinerary.

How to distinguish between toll roads and free roads?

The toll highways are signposted in green, while the free roads (national roads) are signposted in blue. There are also so-called highways, which are marked blue with a car symbol, but are still toll roads. With most GPS, when selecting a route, you can take out the paid streets. There are also some toll roads that run through the major cities.

To avoid traffic jams and unnecessary waiting times, try to avoid the national holidays in Japan when planning your trip. Because at these times almost all Japanese have vacation and use this also, whereby it can come to mighty traffic jams on the roads.

Driving a car in Japan differs only in a few points from driving a car in Germany, so you can sit behind the wheel with confidence.