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Joshua K

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Hey Everyone!

I have a question that no one can really answer for me. I would like to rent a car in Japan and drive from relative to relative who live in very rural areas. I live in Canada now and have a N license, meaning 'New Driver'. This means, I can drive by myself and or with 1 passenger, family members exempt. I was told here in Canada, with my N license I can get an IDP. However, the restrictions would still be on the IDP also. Therefore I can drive? That's what the people in Canada are telling me...But my aunt who helped research in Japan for me says even though I can get an IDP, it may not be accepted...So who is right? Office workers in Canada or my aunt who asked around with rental car services and Japanese Internet Research? FYI, the Japanese car rental people she asked said they didn't know themselves.
So, if I abide by my restrictions, there should be no problem to drive, right? I am 18 and have been driving since16.
If anyone knows, please let me know if rental car services will allow me to rent a car and if I do get pulled over, probably not, will my IDP and all paper work permit me to drive? FYI, I asked Budget Rent A Car Japan and they say if I have a valid IDP they will provide me with a car. So will my kind of restricted IDP be considered valid in Japan?

Thanks!
 

mdchachi

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I think your chances are very good because even if one rental service rejects you, you can always try another. And I'd be very surprised if they would even notice your new driver status. Not sure about Japan but typically the bigger problem with rental services are age limits. Many agencies in the U.S. won't rent to drivers who are under 25. But probably a good idea to consider a plan B (ie bus schedules) just in case you can't get a car.
 

kms

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From my understanding, as long as you your license and a IDP, you are good to go, I don't think they really bother about anything else. I've driven in Japan twice, all they do is photocopy the id's, passport and IDP, you pay, check the car and drive away. this is from Nissan rental.
 

nice gaijin

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I had the same thought as @mdchachi, regarding age restrictions. But if they don't bring that up, then I guess you'd be alright?

Would it mention on the IDP itself that you're a new driver? If not it seems unlikely to affect your ability to rent a car. Backup plans are always a good option though
 

jt9258

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Hey Everyone!

I have a question that no one can really answer for me. I would like to rent a car in Japan and drive from relative to relative who live in very rural areas. I live in Canada now and have a N license, meaning 'New Driver'. This means, I can drive by myself and or with 1 passenger, family members exempt. I was told here in Canada, with my N license I can get an IDP. However, the restrictions would still be on the IDP also. Therefore I can drive? That's what the people in Canada are telling me...But my aunt who helped research in Japan for me says even though I can get an IDP, it may not be accepted...So who is right? Office workers in Canada or my aunt who asked around with rental car services and Japanese Internet Research? FYI, the Japanese car rental people she asked said they didn't know themselves.
So, if I abide by my restrictions, there should be no problem to drive, right? I am 18 and have been driving since16.
If anyone knows, please let me know if rental car services will allow me to rent a car and if I do get pulled over, probably not, will my IDP and all paper work permit me to drive? FYI, I asked Budget Rent A Car Japan and they say if I have a valid IDP they will provide me with a car. So will my kind of restricted IDP be considered valid in Japan?

Thanks!
I think when you ask a question like this you should provide all the facts, as each territory issues different licenses and categories of licenses and as you have mentioned that you hold an "N" License it could just be a Novice license after passing a class 7 test, this means you still have to pass a class 5 test to obtain a full license.

If you do not hold a full license then the Police here in Japan may not regard you as holding the correct license to drive.
 
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mdchachi

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I think when you ask a question like this you should provide all the facts, as each territory issues different licenses and categories of licenses and as you have mentioned that you hold an "N" License it could just be a Novice license after passing a class 7 test, this means you still have to pass a class 5 test to obtain a full license.

If you do not hold a full license then the Police here in Japan may not regard you as holding the correct license to drive.
That's his question. He has the N, not the "full."
New drivers
But I would be less concerned about the Japanese police than the rental car agency.

Obviously we're not coming up with definitive information here. Perhaps you could try reaching out to the Canadian embassy. Embassy of Canada to Japan
 

cez

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From my understanding, if you're 18 (legal age for driving in Japan) and have a valid IDP that looks like the one here you're good to go. The car rental agency can impose restrictions though.

I've only checked with one company and they reserve the right to refuse rental if you're not accompanied by a more experienced driver (min 3 years) or they might just give you an extended speech on driving safely.
 

Steven Mon

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I just want to add, if you do drive in Japan, PLEASE be very, very, very careful and drive on the correct side of the road! They drive on the left side like in Britain, and the last thing you want to do on your visit is get into a crash and hurt yourself or someone else.
 

nice gaijin

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PatrickNZ

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While this is a little late, there are two restrictions you might need to be aware of.
1: You have to have lived in the country issuing the IDP for three months (I need to find a reference for that), and
2: In Japan you can only use an IDP for one year. If you have a second one issued, that is invalid. You cannot just keep driving in Japan for years on IDPs, even if they are valid everywhere else in the world.

I find point #2 a bit weird, but it is the local law. Most people returning to their home country for three consecutive months or more can return with new ones, so that works for most tourists quite well.
 

SmitalChavan

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Canada. An international driving permit (IDP) under the 1949 Geneva Convention in the proper format issued by the official agent or agency appointed by Canada is valid to drive in Japan. ... Japan is only affiliated with the 1949 Geneva Convention, and Canada is also affiliated with the 1949 Geneva Convention .Check this:
 
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