Four Japan Road Laws You Probably Didn’t Know

Living in Tokyo gives residents ample opportunity to adopt new daily habits. For some, it’s exploring the city on foot. For others, it’s cycling to work or driving to accommodate the school run or weekend getaways.

Driving in Tokyo can be kind of chaotic, especially if you don’t know the rules of the road.

The ability to walk, cycle and drive in Japan offers endless possibilities to make the most of what the country has to offer, but it also comes with challenges.

Whether you’re a recent arrival or a long-term stayer, Savvy Tokyo introduces four road laws that you should know.


You cannot use a cellphone while driving


The penalties for using a cellphone while driving in Japan were toughened in December 2019.

Road Laws in Japan you May not Know

Doing this can cost you up to ¥18,000 in fines!

In 2018, the number of traffic accidents caused by mobile devices rose to 2,790—double that of 10 years ago, according to the National Police Agency. The figures prompted Japan to tighten up the Road Traffic Law and increase penalties imposed on breaking it.

As of Dec. 1, 2019, drivers are prohibited from holding cell phones to talk, send emails or play games. You also cannot look at onboard TV or car navigation systems for prolonged periods.

In 2018, the number of traffic accidents caused by mobile devices rose to 2,790—double that of 10 years ago.

If you’re using a GPS for directions, you’re only allowed to look at it while stopped at a red light or in a traffic jam. Either that or pull over to take a glance at your directions.

Drivers found in violation of this law can face a fine between ¥6,000 and ¥18,000. They will also receive …continue reading