1. Driver’s Licenses

18Nov 2011 Nagasaki-Ken

Acquiring a Driver’s License


Those without a driver’s license, who wish to obtain one inJapan, are required to take the same test as a Japanese person. The written test is in Japanese but study books are available in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese and Persian. The majority of questions on the test come from these manuals.



Normally, you should go to a driving school, learn the basic traffic rules, learn how to drive and then sit a final exam at a test facility (shikenjyō).



Exchanging your International Driver’s License for a Japanese License


If you have a foreign driving license and satisfy the following conditions, you can apply to change your license. You will receive a Japanese license after passing a screening test.


● Conditions


       ◆Must have stayed in the country where the driver’s license was acquired for at least three months after passing your driving test

       ◆Must have a valid license


● Items need during application:


        ◆Original and photocopy of your driver’s license

        ◆Original and photocopy of your passport

        ◆Original and photocopy of your alien registration card

        ◆A translation of your foreign license (drawn up by your national embassy, consulate or Japanese Automobile Federation (JAF))

        ◆Photo taken within six months (no background, no headwear, showing full head and shoulders. Size: 3cm by 2.4cm)

        ◆Relevant fees

        ◆Writing materials (black or blue ink)


● Knowledge and skills test

If you have acquired your license from any of the following twenty-two countries, then you are exempt from the written and skill exams. (Except for 2nd category vehicles i.e., large vehicles or motorcycles over 4000cc)


List of exempt countries

Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.


Tests for changing your home country license to a Japanese license can be taken either in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese or Persian.


Japan Automobile Federation (JAF)

Rules of the Road in Six Languages


JAF publishes and sells translations of the Rules of the Road in the six languages listed below. All translations are ¥1028 each, including sales tax, not including postage and handling.


Languages available: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Persian, Chinese, Korean


Translating a Foreign Driver’s License

JAF issues an official translation of your home country license for a fee, which is required when applying to transfer your license to a Japanese license.


For the latest information, check the website of JAF or enquire at the JAF Nagasaki branch.

Tel: 095-811-2333


Road Rules for Bicycles and Motorcycles


● Bicycles

Bicycles are a convenient means of transportation. However, you still need to pay attention to the rules of the road.

       ◆Obey traffic lights

       ◆No bicycles in pedestrian-only areas (e.g. shopping malls)

       ◆Riding abreast is prohibited

       ◆Use lights at night

       ◆No passengers (except children under six)

       ◆Do not cycle under the influence of alcohol

       ◆Keep both hands on the handlebars (no umbrellas)


Exercise extreme caution when cycling with children in child seats, as the bicycle becomes unstable due to the extra weight. Do not park your bicycle in prohibited areas, for example around the station. Illegally parked bicycles will be removed by municipal government ordinance, so ensure to use assigned bicycle parking lots.


Motorcycles and mopeds


A license is required for motorcycles and mopeds. A moped (gentsuki) license can be acquired from 16 years of age and covers motorcycles with an engine size of up to 50cc. A motorcycle license can be acquired from the age of 18, and covers motorcycles up to 400cc. Scooters are not allowed on expressways and must not carry passengers.


* See ‘Reference Material 6’ for a list of common traffic signs.


2. Public Transport

18Nov 2011 Nagasaki-Ken

Streetcar (Nagasaki City only)


You can travel anywhere on a streetcar for a standard fee of ¥100. Board the streetcar through the rear door and alight through the front door after dropping your fare in the box next to the driver’s seat.



* You can only transfer streetcars at Tsuki-machi tram stop. Place your fare in the driver’s collection box and then ask for a transfer ticket (norikae-ken).



A packet of 11 tickets (kaisu-ken) can be purchased from the driver for ¥1000. Cheaper commuter passes (specific route and term of validity) are also available for commuting students and workers. For more information, contact Nagasaki Electric Tramway on or Tel: 095-845-4113.





Board and alight from buses at the designated bus stops. Like streetcars, get on at the back and off at the front. Make sure you take a ticket from the dispenser when you board the bus. When you get off the bus, match the number on your ticket to the fare indicated on the display board then pay accordingly.



Nagasaki Smart Card (NSC)


The NSC is an IC card which doubles as a commuter ticket and a coupon ticket. You pay for fares automatically by swiping the card on a special reader when getting on and off the bus. The card can be used as a commuter ticket for six bus companies in the prefecture and you can also top up the money on the card. It makes paying convenient and you also receive discounts and points every time you top your card up. For more information, contact your nearest bus company.



Trains (JR and other Train Companies)


All information regarding train timetables and fares can be accessed at the respective companies’ homepage. Tickets for short distance travel are available at vending machines from every station. For long distance travel on JR trains, buy special and reserved tickets at the green counter (midori no madoguchi) of a JR station.



JR Kyūshū Website (also in English and Korean)

For ticket reservations and enquiries, contact:

JRKyūshūTicketReservationCenter. Tel: 095-826-1616 (08:00 – 21:00)

JR Kyūshū Information Center. Tel: 095-826-4336 (08:00 – 20:00)



Information on Stations

JR Kyūshū

  • NagasakiStation                           Tel: 095-826-4336
  • Urakami Station                           Tel: 095-844-1554
  • SaseboStation                       Tel: 0956-22-7115


Shimabara Railways

  • Shimabara Station                        Tel: 0957-62-4705
  • Shimatetsu Honsha Ekimae      Tel: 0957-63-1852
  • Main Isahaya Station                  Tel: 0957-22-0047


Matsuura Railways

  • Matsuura station                          Tel: 0956-72-0520



Long Distance Buses


(Nagasaki City)

There is a highway bus service to NagasakiAirportas well as highway express buses to Fukuoka, Sasebo, Beppu, Oita, Kumamoto, Kitakyūshū, Miyazaki, Karatsu, Yobuko, Nagoya, Kyōto, Ōsakaand Kōbefrom NagasakiCity. Timetables and bus stops can be accessed at the websites given below. For more details, consult the following bus companies for more information.

NagasakiBus Terminal: Shinchi-machi 3-17,NagasakiCity.  Tel: 095-826-1112

NagasakiKenei Bus Terminal: Daikoku-machi 3-1,NagasakiCity.  Tel: 095-826-6221


(Sasebo City)


Buses bound forNagasakiCity,Fukuoka,FukuokaAirport,Kitakyūshū,Kumamoto,NagoyaandŌsakaall depart fromSasebo. Timetables and bus stops can be accessed at the bus company’s website. For more information, contact the following:                                                                               

(Enquiries)SaseboStationFrontBusCenter              Tel: 0956-23-2121

SaihiHighwayBusReservationCenter                         Tel: 0956-25-8900



Sea Routes


Company Route Telephone
Nomoshōsen Hakata – Gotō 092-291-0510
NagasakiKisen Nagasaki– Iōjima & Takashima 095-826-6238
KyushuShōsen Nagasaki– Gotō,Sasebo– Kamigotō, Shimabara –Kumamoto 095-822-9153 
Sangyō Kisen Nagasaki–Kumamoto,NagasakiAirport–  Huis Ten Bosch, Togitsu,ŌmuraCity 095-826-0188
Ariake Ferry NagasakiTaira-ko – Nagasu-ko (Kumamoto) 0968-78-1588
KumamotoFerry Shimabara-ko – Kumamoto-ko 0957-63-8008



Nagasaki Airport

Nagasaki Airport has departures and arrivals to and from Tōkyō, Ōsaka (Itami), Nagoya (Chūbu), Nagoya (Komaki), Kagoshima, Okinawa, Miyazaki, Gotō Fukue, Iki, Tsushima, Shanghai and Seoul. (information available in English, Chinese and Korean)

For more information, call 0957-52-5555



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