Paperwork for overlanders in Japan

Last updated: 27.11.2018

Confused about what paperwork you need for Japan? This guide will explain everything including carnets, temporary imports, driving permits and insurance.

Japan Vehicle Insurance

Everyone is required to purchase Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance (CALI), which is third party. It’s illegal to drive without it and if you have arrived by ferry, you won’t be able to leave the port without it.

Luckily, it can be pre-arranged for you so that it’s ready to pick up on arrival. If you are arriving in Japan via ferry, then the DBS Ferry agent can have your insurance waiting for you. Assuming you are using DBS Ferries (the primary ferry service from Russia or South Korea to Japan) you will be able to email Tatiana from DBS at [email protected] She will be able to arrange your insurance for you in advance. Simply send her the information she requires, fill out a form and email it to her and it will be waiting for you. You will need to pay her in Yen on arrival, so have the cash with you ready. Please see the insurance price list below.

How to get the ferry from Russia to Japan

Japan Driving Permit

You must have an International Driver’s Permit to drive or ride in Japan (even if you are renting a car there). You can purchase an IDP in the UK at the Post Office, it costs £4.50 and you just need to take your passport, driving licence and a passport photograph. The reason for this is that the IDP has translations inside it.

There is an exception for people from France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Monaco, Slovenia and Taiwan who may drive using the national driving permit with Japanese translation. This can be done at the local JAF office for 3,000 JPY, but it’s about an hour away and will cost an arm and a leg in a taxi (as you won’t be able to use your vehicle until it’s done).

Japan Carnet de Passage or Temporary Import

You will need either a Carnet de Passage or a Temporary Import C5104 form to use your own vehicle in Japan. We have written a super comprehensive guide explaining the differences between the two and how to go about getting them. Click here to check it out

Extra paperwork

You will need to keep a copy of your vehicle registration document with you and that’s it. No other documentation is required.

If you have any questions, comments or anything to add to this page (or even if you just want to say hey) then please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you! Drop us an email at [email protected]

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