Japanese Traffic Rules

Important points to note regarding Japanese traffic rules.

Cars drive on the left-hand side of the road.
Pedestrians have priority at all times.
Traffic signals
A red light means stop.
If a green arrow is shown, even with an amber or red light, drivers should proceed in the direction indicated.
Seat belts
According to Japan's Road Traffic Law, all seats must be fitted with seat belts. Driver and passengers must all fasten their seat belts.
Child seats
Children under the age of six must by law use a child seat.
Please respect speed limits when you drive.
This sign indicates a speed limit of 50km/h. Driving over the speed of 50 km/h is forbidden.
Please be careful not to park and not to stop.
These signs indicate that it is forbidden to park or stop. Fines are issued for infringements.
Driving while drunk or after the consumption of alchohol is forbidden.
It is forbidden for a person driving a vehicle to operate a cellphone, smartphone, tablet or other similar device.
ETC System
At the entrance to Japanese public highways for which tolls are charged there are gates marked "ETC専用". ETC stands for Electronic Toll Collection System. Only vehicles with an ETC on-board device and an ETC card may use this gate. Other vehicles should enter the public highway via the gate marked "一般" (general). Payment may be made at the highway's entrance or the exit.

Japanese main road signs

Regulatory Signs
Road closed Closed to vehicles No parking or stopping No parking Stop Slow down Maximum speed Minimum speed
No entry No crossing by car No U-turns No swerving to the right for overtaking        
Designated direction only One way Designated bus lane    
Caution Signs
Slippery road ahead Falling rocks ahead Bumpy road ahead Road construction ahead Steep upward slope Steep downward slope School, kindergarten, nursery school ahead Traffic light ahead
Merging traffic ahead Lane ends ahead Road narrows ahead Two-way traffic ahead Railroad crossing ahead Cross winds ahead Animal crossing Danger
Direction signs
Parking allowed Stopping allowed Right-of-way Center line Stopping line Safety zone Pedestrian crossing Bicycle crossing lane
Guide signs
Traffic lane designations Highway entrance ahead Direction, lane and exit Emergency telephone Emergency parking zone  
Be careful!
In the case of a serious infringement of Japan's traffic laws (including but not limited to accidents),
criminal penalties may be applied and the driver may be subject to arrest.

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