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Driving in Japan 2019/9/29 22:02
Hi, so in 2017 i went to japan and lived with a host family for a few weeks. I am now coming back to japan this year to visit them for a week. However, i am 18, i have my international driving license. My host family is family is worried that if i was to rent a car and drive in Japan and have an accident they would be held responsible and possibly lose their job. Is this possible as they are not really my legal guardians because I am 18 and legally an adult. Plus i believe my International Driving License to be different than an 18 year old native with maybe a probationary license. Any help>?
by Tristan (guest)  

Re: Driving in Japan 2019/9/30 08:06
In Japan you are still a minor at 18 years. So I think the worries of your host family are somewhat reasonable.
Are you going to some remote area that driving is really such a necessity?
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Driving in Japan 2019/9/30 10:08
We are going to Zao Fox Village from Taito Ibaraki which is a bit out of the way and then we are going to Lake Chuzenji in Nikko
by Tristan (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Driving in Japan 2019/9/30 11:55
Why your host family is worried? They are not responsible for you.
Check the terms and conditions of the rental companies.

You come to Japan and rent a car. You are 18 years old so insurance will be expensive than normal.
Just make sure you have all valid documents.

Just hope you have enough experience because Japan as some different rules and regulations.
If you cause an accident you are responsible for all the costs which comes with it if any.
by justmyday rate this post as useful

Re: Driving in Japan 2019/9/30 12:12

I'm 57 and I can well understand your host family's concerns. Even if they don't lose jobs, just thinking that you might get involved in an accident would really be nerve-wrecking for hosts your parents' age.

If you happen to be coming from a country where you drive on the right-hand side of the road, or if you are not used to reading Japanese road signs, the concern would be greater. And even if you can manage to speak Japanese to the police, since you are a minor, adults need to be involved in any kind of law procedures, and if your own parents don't speak Japanese your host parents would need to do all the translating. Most of all, if their precious host child happens to get injured or injure someone else, I wonder how awful your host parents would feel.

Bottom line, it's NOT just up to you to decide whether you should drive in Japan or not when you are 18.

But do your host family drive too? If so, maybe you can all travel in one car, and maybe they can let you drive where roads are straight and wide, and where there are less/no pedestrians. Even in remote areas, there are trickier roads and easier roads.

Otherwise, you can wait a few years and come back to drive on your own risk. Life isn't that short.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Driving in Japan 2019/9/30 12:51
Thanks for the response. Seeing as it seems like such a hassle for a lot of reasons I will end up not renting a car until I move to Japan next year. I come from Australia and have done a fair bit of research on Japanese road rules which aren't too different from ours. I speak decent Japaneses. I was u aware that 18 is still classed as a minor in Japan, I can get my money back for the car I rented but unfortunately I lost 50$ buying my international License.
by Tristan (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Driving in Japan 2019/9/30 13:23
While they are paniced about the situation. I cannot see how they would be deemed liable. Tourists hire cars everyday. Just because you have a host family doesnt shift liability from you to them. They wont be signing any paperwork at the hire car agency.
by Hakata14 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Driving in Japan 2019/9/30 14:24
In the US youfre an adult at 18 but you still canft rent a car until 21. In Japan youfre not an adult until 21. I canft imagine you can rent a car in Japan at 18 OR 19.
by Gregalor rate this post as useful

Re: Driving in Japan 2019/9/30 14:43
Its is different for foreigners Gregalor. Almost all car rental companies in Japan require you to be 18 and above to rent, 18 is pretty much the global standard age for when you become an adult. As long as you have got a drivers license in your country you can rent a car in another country.
by Tristan (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Driving in Japan 2019/9/30 16:07
In Japan youfre not an adult until 21.

In Japan you're not an adult until 20, is the correct way to say it. And, Tristan, you should still bring along your international license. I think your host parents are only concerned about you making long driving trips. You still may have a chance to drive for a short time, and I don't know how Australian licenses work, but I understand that international driver's licenses typically last for a year, which may bring you more opportunities. You're not really wasting anything, yet.
by Uco rate this post as useful

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