Getting Your Scooter License in Nagoya

ByRay Proper
Jul 19, 2013

Getting Your Scooter License in Nagoya

Japan-driver-licenseIf you live in Nagoya itself you do not need much in the way of a car or scooter to get around-a bicycle would likely be more than sufficient.  For those times when it is just a little too far, the public transportation system is pretty convenient and will generally get you anywhere you need to go.

There are times, even in Nagoya when a scooter is convenient, such as when lugging a weeks’ worth of groceries home on the subway, but if you live outside of the city, or far from the subway lines, a  scooter can make a huge difference in your quality of life and the good news is; getting a 50cc or smaller scooter-only license is fairly painless.

If getting licensed to drive a car is your aim, this is not the article for you, but you can find more information on that subject at Japan Drivers License, If you are already licensed to drive a “regular car,” the standard driving license in Japan, you are already licensed to ride a scooter of the size discussed in this article; 50cc or less. Congratulations, you are now free to move about the country on your scooter.

If that is not the case, you will need to get licensed to ride a scooter.

For the purposes of Japanese law, a scooter is a two wheeled vehicle with an engine size of less than 50cc. Anything else is a motorcycle, and you need a separate license that is much harder and more expensive to get to ride one. The “large scooters” you see cruising the streets are not classified as scooters, but rather “automatic transmission motorcycles,” and you require a special license.

Getting a 50cc engine or below scooter license requires roughly 10,000 yen, and about a half a day of your time.

Getting a motorcycle license, will cost 10x that amount to start with, and increases in increments of time and money based on engine size.

Getting Your Scooter License in Nagoya, Aichi

To start with , you must take a written test at the Hirabari Driving Center. The test is not especially difficult, but a passing grade is 90% or better.  The translations might be a little rough, but understandable. The best way to prepare for this exam is to read “Rules of the Road”, available from the Japan Auto Federation.

After passing the test , you will be taken to a classroom for the indoor portion of the Safe Driving Course. It is conducted in Japanese. Just nod and smile; they will probably assume you do not understand but it wont matter, this is not a graded exercise and as long as you stay awake you should be OK.

After the class you will be taken to a driving course for the outdoor portion of the Safe Driving Course, which is 2 hours and introduces you to the basics of the scooter: how to use the kickstand, start it, accelerate, brake, etc. At the conclusion of the class you will get your license if you have managed not to hurt yourself or others.

Requirements for Riding a 50cc Scooter scooter_cub


  • Regular (car) driver’s license holders are also licensed to drive a scooter of 50cc or less
  • Be 16 years or older

Required Tests

  • Written test (48 questions in 30 minutes, a passing grade is 90% or better )
  • No driving test (practical application)
  • 3 hour Safe Driving Course

Required Items

  • Juminhyo (住民票) / Resident record – issued within the past 90 days
  • Passport
  • Zairyu card (在留カード) / Residence card
  • Pencils, eraser, black pen
  • Eye glasses or contact lenses (there is a vision check)

Fees Required

  • Exam fee:1,500 Yen
  • Safe Driving Course fee: 4,500 Yen
  • Processing fee: 2,050 Yen

Procedures at the license center

  1. Buy the application form at Window #11 (1,500 yen)
    (Ask for “Gentsuki menkyo shinsei-sho” / 原付免許申請書)
  2. Fill out the form and submit the application form and the documents listed above, at Window #13.
    (If it is first time to get a Japanese driver’s license, go to Window #14 instead.)
    You may request “English test” here. (the form needs to be written in Japanese, so you may need someone with you to assist with this)
  3. Go to vision test at location #2.
  4. Go upstairs to the Waiting Area (#21) to take written test. (English is available)
  5. The written test is given twice a day; at 9:30 am and 10:30 am. The test rooms are to the right of the waiting area. Someone will call you to line-up about 10 minutes before the test begins. Usually the “special” tests are called first (they will be holding the test booklets) so be alert.
  6. There are 48 questions on the test (46 True/False, and 2 with pictures) and you will have 30 minutes to complete it. A score of 90% correct is needed to pass.
  7. When the test is done, go downstairs and wait for the results to be announced. This will be at location #18 at 10:40 am for the 9:30 am test, and at 1:00 pm for the 10:30 am test.
    If you pass: Your test number will be appeared on the results board. Go to window #11 and purchase the safety lecture / 原付講習料 (4,500 yen) and license issuing / 交付手数料 (2,050 yen) forms
  8. You will be directed to a room for the scooter safety lecture (lecture is in Japanese).
  9. This will be followed by a practice session on the scooters. There are two scooter practice areas out on the test course. You will go out as a group. Follow all of the directions. They are very precise and important.
  10. When the practice session is finished (at 2:00 pm or 4:40 pm, depending on which test you took) you will receive your scooter driver’s license, which is valid for scooters up with engines up to 50 cc.If you fail: Your test number will not be appeared on the results board. You can take the test again on another day.
  • Applications are accepted from 8:45 am until 10:00 am Monday-Friday at Window #13.
  • Wear shoes; loafers, sneakers, and other “easy to ride in” shoes are best. Sandals, clogs, and high heels (women) are not allowed.
  • Assistance from H&R consultants is available at JPY 10,800 / hour (tax included) *optional

N.B. Heisei 27 = 2015, Heisei 28 = 2016, Heisei 29 = 2017, Heisei 30 = 2018、Heisei 31 = 2019

Good luck, and happy motoring!

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