So, you are heading to Japan for a visit. Excellent! Whether this is your first trip to Japan or you have been there before, it is likely that there is much you have not seen of this great and (to many Westerners) mysterious country.
A trip that will only last a day or two – such when you are just passing through Japan on your way to another destination – will probably not allow you enough time to see very much. In that case, do your best to make a couple of day trips near the place you are staying.
However, if you plan to be in Japan for at least 5-10 days and will have time on your hands, you are probably trying to figure out how to best spend your short time there. Fortunately, there are many great things to see in Japan. While your guidebook is no doubt packed with hundreds of things to see and do, you obviously will not be able to see even a fraction of them on such a short trip. Still, you will want to make the best of your time in Japan.
If you are going
Driving in Japan legally has recently afforded new challenges to foreigners from China, Brazil and the United States. Released in November 2002 and updated in February 2003, Traffic Act Article 107-2, has begun to create many problems for foreigners.
Until June 2002, Foreigners driving in Japan (who held a valid drivers license from their home country) could apply for an international driving permit (IDP) and drive in Japan permanently. Since that time however, IDPs are only valid for one year. If a foreigner stays in Japan for more than one year and decides to reapply for an IDP, they would have to leave Japan for at least 90 days in order for the IDP to be legal upon their return.
Those visiting Japan for a short time, of course IDPs are the way to go. They are quite cheap (around $10-20). Beware however, there are many sites on the internet that offer IDPs for several hundred dollars. These are scam sites and are to be avoided at all costs.
Quite a few countries have a much easier time in obtaining a valid Japanese drivers license when compared to the United States. Citizens from Australia, New