Japanese Drivers license

Renewing your Japanese Drivers License – Samezu Center

Japanese Drivers licenseRenewing your Japanese Drivers License is a simple yet time consuming process. Approaching your birthday, a postcard will be sent to your home to remind you of the renewal. The license holder has a window of one month before and after their birthdate to renew. Expect to spend at least 1 – 3  hours at one of the three drivers license offices; Fuchu, Samezu or Kouto.

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Is it time to renew your Japanese Drivers License? Tips on how to do that.

Renewing your Japanese Drivers License:

– Renewing from Green (beginner license) to Blue (regular license) status – 2 hour safety lesson
– Renewing from Blue to Gold status (no traffic violations) – 1 hour safety lesson
– Renewing from Gold to Gold status – 30 minute safety lesson
– Traffic rules violation – 2 hour safety lesson

Materials to take with you (*if address has not changed):
Japanese Drivers license1) Drivers License
2) Renewal Notice Card (you can still renew without the renewal notice card)
3) Alien registration card
4) Renewal Fee
*If your address has changed take a photo (must have been taken within 6 months) and the above materials.

Japanese Drivers licenseRenewal Hours:
1st time Renewal and Violation (Fee: 3850 yen):
Monday – Friday 8:30 – 14:00; Sunday 8:30 – 11:00 and 13:00 – 14:00
General Drivers Course / Blue Status (Fee: 3300 yen):
Monday – Friday 8:30 – 15:00; Sunday 8:30 – 11:00 and 13:00 – 15:00
Excellent Driver course / Gold Status (Fee: 3000 yen):
Monday – Friday 8:30 – 16:00; Sunday 8:30 – 11:30 and 13:00 – 16:00
*Offices are Closed on Saturdays, Public Holidays and New Year`s holiday.

Japanese Drivers licenseRenewing your Japanese Drivers License at the Samezu Office:
Begin at counter #1 and hand in your mailed postcard and ID to start the renewal process. The staff will print out a form to fill out and sign. Continue to counter #2 to pay the renewal fee. You will then be directed to a machine to select your PIN # then to counter #3 to take your eye exam. These are google images of what an eye examination chart looks like in Japan. When you pass the eye exam you are directed to counter to #4 to submit your materials and to have your information checked. Wait for your name to be called and receive a slip of paper. Take the paper and PIN # slip then line up for your new drivers license photo.
Japanese Drivers licenseIf you are renewing from Green (beginner license) to Blue (regular license) status, after your photo is taken go to the 2nd floor to receive a packet and room assignment for the 2 hour lecture and video. The packet contains 2 booklets and a self exam review and to take home. The instructor will lecture the group about accidents that caused deaths and refer to info pages in the book. Keep your slip on the table as the lecturer will walk around near the end of the class placing a stamp on the slip. The stamp certifies you were present during the entire presentation thus granting you your new license. The group is allowed to take a 10-15 minute break after the first hour where you can grab a drink in their cafeteria or use the restroom. A “mother`s rooms” is also located in each room so parents can watch the video with their babies without disturbing the rest of the group. Nursing room also located on the 2nd floor.

Japanese Drivers licenseAfter the lecture the group waits on the main floor waiting for the number on their slip to be called. One must have a basic knowledge of Japanese numbers as it will get you from one station to the next, you can follow the lecture as he references different pages in the rules books, and your number will be called to retrieve your license. When your number is called hand in the slip, receive your new license, walk to a terminal and place your license on the machine. Input your pin twice then, confirm the information is correct and you`re done!

Samezu Drivers License Center Details:

Address: 1-12-5 Higashioi, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo (〒140-0011 品川区東大井1丁目12番5号)
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:30 – 16:00; Sunday 8:30 – 11:30 and 13:00 – 16:00.
Phone: 03-3474-1374 / 042-365-5000
English Guide Phone #: 03-5463-6000 / 042-334-6000
Access: 8 minutes from Samezu Station on the Keihin Kyuko Line or a few stops on Bus #2 (Samezu UntenMenkyo Shikenjo Mae stop) located outside the Takanawa Exit. Walk to the main street, turn left and look for Bus #2.
Website: http://www.keishicho.metro.tokyo.jp/menkyo/shikenjo/shikenjo/samezu.html

English Language Driving Schools

Kiki Driving School
Address: 3-14-19 Shibaura, Minato-ku)
Website: https://www.kikidrive.com/en/

Koyama Driving School
Address: Many schools in the Setagaya-ku area
Website: http://www.koyama.co.jp/english.htm

Japanese Drivers LicenseJapanese Drivers license


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Japanese Drivers license


Renewing your Japanese Drivers License – Samezu Center


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  1. Hi what happens if you don’t go within a month for renewing, mine is expired 6 months ago and I was not in japan

    • Dave, If you can show you have been out of the month for the entire six months and have just returned (bring your passport) then you will probably be ok to renew. However, if not then you will need to do a lot of paperwork and potentially take the test again if from the US. If you have not renewed do not drive! If you are caught you will be taken directly to the police station and your car driven there by a cop. Mine was one day overdue (I did not realize it) and that happened to me. Lots of wasted time and a nice big fee at the end.

  2. Hi my test is scheduled on end of Aug.
    Is there any contact number on which I can call in English to reschedule my test early(in case any vacant slot).

    • Hi Shrikant, try calling the English guided line at 03-5463-6000 / 042-334-6000. If you`re unable to speak to an English speaking operator perhaps a Japanese speaking friend can make the call for you.

  3. I renewed my drivers license today. It expired 4 days ago but I was out of the country. I never received the postcard in the post and waited for it for a month or so.
    Instead of paying 3850円 I was charged 5300円 plus 300円 for proof of residency plus 800円 for photos.
    My advice is don’t let the drivers license expire and renew as soon as you can to avoid wasting extra money unnecessarily. Prepare to wait. Took me at least 4 hours.
    Curious on what the process would’ve been like had I gone to a police station instead of Samezu Center.

    • Good thing you did not get caught by the police on an expired license. Mine expired one day (also missed the post card) and was taken to the police station with my dog and 5 year old at the time and questioned for three hours, then had to go to court for five hours. At the end I only had t pay a 7,000 yen fee for missing the stop sign and having and expired license but what a nightmare. You were lucky.

  4. I’am out of the country and my drivers license is gold must be renew this coming May until July 2020. Can i renew it without my postcard (notice card)? Because i’m planning to go back first week of July.

    • Sorry Mary Jane, You need to renew unperson. But if you take your passport and show you have been out of the country they will accept and allow you to renew as soon as you get back. Just don’t drive on a expired license.

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