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  • driving licence

    Hi there,

    I've been living in Japan for a few years and have no driving licence of any kind. I want to, at some stage, pay the money and do the test in Japanese and know I have to start from square one and go through dirving school.

    What I'm looking for is an answer to the question, How good does my Japanese have to be to take the written part of the test? I'm currently JLPT 3-kyuu and studying for 2-kyuu next year. How many kanji would you need to know to be able to read and understand?

    I'm sick of being chauffered around so please help!

  • #2
    Originally posted by simonkavanagh
    Hi there,

    I've been living in Japan for a few years and have no driving licence of any kind. I want to, at some stage, pay the money and do the test in Japanese and know I have to start from square one and go through dirving school.

    What I'm looking for is an answer to the question, How good does my Japanese have to be to take the written part of the test? I'm currently JLPT 3-kyuu and studying for 2-kyuu next year. How many kanji would you need to know to be able to read and understand?

    I'm sick of being chauffered around so please help!
    depending on where you live, you can take the test in english, some schools in tokyo will even teach you in english
    ask BURLZ about it... and search for a thread called something like taking the drivers licence from scratch.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by simonkavanagh
      Hi there,

      I've been living in Japan for a few years and have no driving licence of any kind. I want to, at some stage, pay the money and do the test in Japanese and know I have to start from square one and go through dirving school.

      What I'm looking for is an answer to the question, How good does my Japanese have to be to take the written part of the test? I'm currently JLPT 3-kyuu and studying for 2-kyuu next year. How many kanji would you need to know to be able to read and understand?

      I'm sick of being chauffered around so please help!
      You do realise you can get the driving lessons taught in English and the test in English?


      PS I sat for the gentsuki scooter licence test (failed it many times) and tried to read the traffic rules in Japanese. Gave up after a while.

      If you pay the money do what the instructors say you will pass. the whole testing thing here is a huge racket run by the traffic dept former police and the testing center.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by paulh
        You do realise you can get the driving lessons taught in English and the test in English?


        PS I sat for the gentsuki scooter licence test (failed it many times) and tried to read the traffic rules in Japanese. Gave up after a while.

        If you pay the money do what the instructors say you will pass. the whole testing thing here is a huge racket run by the traffic dept former police and the testing center.

        Everything is a racket in this country--especially the JTA.

        Comment


        • #5
          renshuu mondai —ϋK–β‘θ

          Originally posted by simonkavanagh
          ...
          ...
          I ... have no driving licence of any kind. I want to, at some stage, pay the money and do the test in Japanese and know I have to start from square one
          Correct

          Originally posted by simonkavanagh
          and go through driving school.
          Not necessarily correct.

          Although most (over 90%) people getting their licence from scratch go through a "Designated" Driving School (at a cost of around 300000yen) (graduating from a Designated Driving School course exempts you from the practical driving test(s) at the Prefectural licence centre), it is also possible to take the practical driving tests at the Prefectural licence centre.

          The total cost through the licence centre, if you pass all four tests (two written tests, and two practical driving tests) on the first go can be around 30000yen.

          However, if you've never driven before, it may be difficult and/or expensive to get sufficient driving practice to pass the first practical driving test to get your learners permit (kari menkyo). You cannot practice on the road until you get your learner's permit (kari menkyo), so you can only practice off-road, such as within a driving school's course, etc. Depending on how many lessons you need, and the availability of friends etc, who could help you, enrolling in a driving school may be better value.

          Some driving schools are happy to provide one-off lessons, at around 5000yen for a 50-minute lesson. However, at other driving schools, the stance is, effectively, "if you're not gonna spend 300000yen, we don't want to know you".

          Getting your licence from scratch, the order is...

          (1) kari menkyo gakka shiken ‰Ό–ΖŠw‰ΘŽŽŒ±
          Learners Permit written test. 50 true/false questions on traffic law, meaning of various road signs, safe driving practices etc in 30minutes. 45+ = pass.

          (2) kari menkyo ginou shiken ‰Ό–Ζ‹–‹Z”\ŽŽŒ±
          Learners Permit practical driving test, where you drive one of the licence centre's vehicles around the test course.

          After passing (1) and (2), you are issued with your learners permit (kari menkyo )‰Ό–Ζ‹–, which allows you to practice on the road, under certain conditions, including:
          - be accompanied by a driver who has held the applicable class of licence for three years.
          - Display a black on white "Learners Permit - Practicing" ‰Ό–Ζ‹– —ϋK’†" sign on your car.

          After passing (1) and (2), you need to log at least 10hours' practice, over at least 5 days, then you can do (3) and (4):

          (3) hon menkyo gakka shiken –{–Ζ‹–Šw‰ΘŽŽŒ±
          Real licence written test. 95 questions, in 50 minutes, the final 5 questions being illustration questions worth two points. Each illustration question has 3 true/false questions, all 3 must be answered correctly to get the 2 points. 90 points+ = pass.

          (4) hon menkyo ginou shiken –{–Ζ‹–‹Z”\ŽŽŒ±
          Real licence practical test, conducted on the open road, and I think it also includes reverse parking on the licence centre course.

          (5) short, 2hrs (I think) training at a driving school, for 13400yen or something.


          My understanding is that graduating from a Designated Driving School exempts you from (2) and (4) - the authorised examiner at the driving school tests you instead - and (5) would be included.

          Originally posted by simonkavanagh
          What I'm looking for is an answer to the question, How good does my Japanese have to be to take the written part of the test? I'm currently JLPT 3-kyuu and studying for 2-kyuu next year. How many kanji would you need to know to be able to read and understand?
          I think it's not so much the number of kanji, but rather ones that are used in the relevant vocabulary used in the tests. In the context of driving and traffic law, certain words have special meanings, so it will probably be most helpful for you to try some practice questions.

          A quick google on Šw‰ΘŽŽŒ± —ϋK–β‘θ i"written test" and "practice questions"j turned up these:

          http://www.inter-city.net/2001/tqindex.cgi

          http://www5b.biglobe.ne.jp/~nobusann/karimen/index.html

          http://www.d1.dion.ne.jp/~toa/tesutotop.htm

          http://www.takaragaike.co.jp/se_q/seqsen.html


          Probably the most useful thing for you would be to go to a bookshop, and purchase a guide to the written tests, and some practice questions. Reading through that, at your own pace, will help you to learn and understand things, and you will learn the relevant kanji.

          Here's an example of such a book:
          http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/4471160079


          After studying through that, you should have enough kanji and vocabulary for the written tests.
          Last edited by bland; 2009-05-08, 09:25 PM. Reason: spelling

          Comment


          • #6
            ok and add to the above that you have to pay about 15000 for the first aid certificate and about another 15000 for the expressway driving hours... and thats how you pass (in theory) without going to a driving school.

            the reality is that you might (just maybe) pass the written test first go, but its highly unlikely... so be prepared for a few dry runs on the learners and quite a few on the final.
            the practical test ... its probably honest to say that this will take time (lots of it) and some money. expect to take it over and over again, especially the final one.

            so all in all, if you are being paid by the hour for work and lose money when you take the WHOLE DAY off just for a quick test... add that to the cost too,plus waiting for months and months (if you are taking the test at a center where you need 2 weeks advance booking for the practical test) before you get your license.

            i think it will about even out, and the school is way quicker...

            Comment


            • #7
              The best way would be to leave Japan, get your license in your home country, wait three months, and come back to Japan rested and ready to drive--three month vacation and you save money.

              Comment


              • #8
                I took my car AT and motorcycle over here it was quite easy.
                I went to a unregisterd school and did the tests at samizu(Tokyo) & Kornos(Saitama)
                the only problem i had was the road drivin test for the car, they exspect you to read a japanese map to find where you are and your destination.
                i failed twice but after that a practiced with my wife around the area i was going to take the test, then passed.

                BY the way the written tests at the samizu etc are pretty messed up, its a multi-choice but the mostley all the questions are trick quetions which have been translated from japanese to english (so you can imagine the grammar of the questions)

                hope this helps

                Comment


                • #9
                  I can only offer help on the language part since I did have a foreign license when I went to take the test, but... I got my drivers license and my 2kyu about 4 months apart, so I'd imagine my Japanese level was about the same as yours. I was worried about the English grammar on the test (and it WAS atrocious) so I bought some study books for the drivers test from the local bookstore... there were words I didnt know, but most of it I could figure out from context, and by the time I passed the test, I'd not only gotten my license but learned a lot of Japanese that I've since found useful as a driver who sometimes needs to ask if it's okay to park here, or if that's a one-way street, etc.

                  If you take the test from scratch I'm not sure if you can get the same questions bilingual. the test for me, when I already had a foreign license, had a terrible English translation and the original Japanese question on the same page. After studying those books, the Japanese questions made a LOT more sense to me than the BabelFish English.

                  It may depend on where you take the test too. Areas with lost of foreigners may have put more effort into their English tests??? But I would say that with study in both driving and language, if you want to take the test in Japanese, at a could-maybe-pass-2kyu-level, I think it's doable.

                  But then again, I never take the English version of a class or hit the English button for a customer service center unless I have reason to think a native speaker's going to answer... I understand more Japanese than "Japanese English", but you'd know which is easier to understand for you!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    precise info

                    Originally posted by bland
                    The total cost through the licence centre, if you pass all four tests (two written tests, and two practical driving tests) on the first go can be around 30000yen.
                    To be precise, 24500 yen, made up of the following:

                    (1) kari menkyo gakka shiken ‰Ό–ΖŠw‰ΘŽŽŒ±
                    3300 yen

                    (2) kari menkyo ginou shiken ‰Ό–Ζ‹–‹Z”\ŽŽŒ±
                    1100 yen (subsequent attempts 4400 yen)


                    1200 yen karimen issue fee

                    (3) hon menkyo gakka shiken –{–Ζ‹–Šw‰ΘŽŽŒ±
                    2400 yen

                    (4) hon menkyo ginou shiken –{–Ζ‹–‹Z”\ŽŽŒ±
                    1000 yen (subsequent attempts 3400 yen)

                    (5) short, 2hrs (I think) training at a driving school, for 13400yen or something.
                    shutoku-ji koushuu Žζ“ΎŽžuK
                    13400 yen. It's actually 7 hours in total. 3hrs first aid training, and 4 hours of hazard recognition training/discussion and freeway driving theory and practice.


                    Then finally, license issue fee:
                    2100 yen
                    (Was 1650 yen, but issue and re-issue increased by 450yen on introduction of IC card style license)


                    (of course, this doesn't include all manner of related costs, such as:

                    - copy of residence certificate etc from city/ward/town/vilalge office.

                    - photographs for application

                    - transport to the license centre (several times)

                    - cost of practice and lessons, as required.)
                    Last edited by bland; 2008-05-01, 07:37 PM. Reason: license issue fee up 450yen for IC card

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Driving Schools

                      Originally posted by bland
                      Some driving schools are happy to provide one-off lessons, at around 5000yen for a 50-minute lesson. However, at other driving schools, the stance is, effecitvely, "if you're not gonna spend 300000yen, we don't want to know you".
                      I was surprised by the contrasting responses from different driving schools. The schools we contacted by phone / email flatly refused. We visited some other schools in person. One school was happy to provide one-off lessons, but explained that their enrolled students had priority for booking lessons (fair enough), and we would have to phone in the morning, and see if any space was available that day. Another school we went to was very welcoming, allowing us to book if we prepay.

                      At the other extreme, another driving school we visited flatly refused, even trying to tell us that they were legally unable to do so (maybe we didn't get across to them the idea that we just wanted a lesson - we were not seeking certification from the school for exemption from the practical test). Strangely, that same school then explained that, if we had an overseas (eg USA) license, and made out that we wanted a lesson to practice for the "gaimen kirikae" test, then they could and would provide one-off lessons.

                      Perhaps this is what Koyama Driving School are referring to in this statement on their website:

                      Designated driving schools will not allow you to practice driving ordinary vehicles or two-wheel vehicles for the purpose of obtaining a license using the above method.
                      http://www.koyama.co.jp/e1_1.htm

                      ("the above method" being taking all 4 tests at the license centre)

                      That statement is simply not true (although if the word "Most" or "Some" was inserted at the front of the sentence, it probably would be true).
                      Last edited by bland; 2009-05-08, 09:30 PM. Reason: spelling

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        ILm getting my Japanese driving license, donLt have one from my home country either and no experience in driving.ILm going through a Brazilian Driving School... well it doesnLt help that much... I paied 82.000 yen to make the simulated tests (the simulated tests are misspelled).
                        and they fill my forms, schedule my classes...
                        The Karimen written test is simple, here in Nagoya itLs a litlle bit trick but reading the Rules of the Road provided by JAF (1.000 yen) you can pass easily I paied 7.000 yen for each 50 minute class at the Menkyo Center, did 8 classes and passed Karimen Koosu on my first Try =DD, then I received my Temporary Driving Licence. This week I passed the honmen written test, 95 questions and 5 problems, ILm making the parking classes, next the first aid course and last the roujo.
                        ItLs not hard... the menkyo center teachers here are used to foreigners, some speak a little portuguese and english (you can bring a friend to be with you in the car and translate) and itLs very useful to learn the kakunin(never forget to look over your shoulder when making a left turn), the sequences when you get into the car (like here:first lock the door, adjust the seat, rear -view mirror, seat belt, turn the engine, switch on the indicator light, put the gear in D, release the hand brake, check security and then go) , when you park the car (hand brake first, put the gear in P position,turn off the engine), the places where you are supposed to draw towards the left or right and so on.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by gure
                          ILm getting my Japanese driving license, donLt have one from my home country either and no experience in driving.ILm going through a Brazilian Driving School... well it doesnLt help that much... I paied 82.000 yen to make the simulated tests (the simulated tests are misspelled).
                          Thanks for sharing that experience.

                          This driving school would be a "non-designated" school - instead of charging circa 300000 yen for a complete package with certification, these Driving Schools charge a lower fee to help you to practice for the tests at the license centre.

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                          • #14
                            Hi I'm new here in gaijinpot..may I ask question?

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