Overland Japan Travel

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Visiting Japan[edit]

Japan is a country with a long history, and in many places not a happy history, but it has become one of the most developed countries in the world. It's known for its food (especially sushi and chicken), Mount Fuji, and the largest city, Tokyo.

Entering Japan with a Car or Motorbike[edit]

You need the carnet de passages en douane and your vehicle can stay in japan for as long as the carnet is valid, there was no problem leaving the country storing the motorbike in Japan as long as the carnet validity. You can extend the carnet for 3 months if you have a reason that is forcing you to stay, but remember that you need the permissione of your national motoclub plus the permission of the JAF japanese auto federation. If your bike overstay you'll have to pay a fine (tax) based on the value of the motorbike when exporting it

Required Paperwork[edit]

(To check if you need a travel Visa for Japan, application instructions and fees see: Japan Visa online application at VisaHQ.com)
Check if you need a visa, many countries can get a stamp on the passport for a 3 months stay. If you exit the country and re enter after a resonable time they should give you other 3 months, other traveller told me that even if you stayied for a short period everytime it's suspicious to enter more than 2 times per year and you can be refused at the border

Process at border[edit]

I entered from the sakaiminato port with the ferry DBS line (Russia-Korea-Japan), at arrival they took care of my documents and carnet and I had to take a bus to the next JAF offices to validate my carnet, and back to the port, did everything in a long afternoon.

Cost of entry[edit]

State the cost for a vehicle to enter

Permitted length of stay[edit]

State the permitted length of entry for the vehicle

Extension of stay[edit]

You can extend the carnet for 3 months if you have a reason that is forcing you to stay, but remember that you need the permissione of your national motoclub plus the permission of the JAF japanese auto federation. I was able to extend my Carnet for 3 months showing them a medical reason, the plan of exiting japan and shipping my bike out in 2 months, and the already approved extension from my motorclub. It's a very rare case so usually not many people know how to deal with it. It's a little bit difficult if you don't speack Japanese but totally duable if you have good intentions and a reason for the bike overstay

Storing a vehicle and temporarily leaving the country[edit]

I stored my motorbike at a friend's place for about 4 months in winter, the carnet was still valid so no problem while re exporting the bike, also no problem while exiting and re entering the country .

Exiting with a vehicle[edit]

If you export it by shipping, the company will provide a broker that will sort your carnet easily and fast , it costed me about 20000 yen. If you use the ferry to go to Korea or Russia they should take care of it, but make sure your broker-agent can do that for you.

Driving in Japan[edit]

Recommended books for Overlanding in Japan[edit]

Lonely Planet Japan (travel Guide)
Lonely Planet Japan (travel Guide)
by Lonely Planet, Chris Rowthorn, Ray Bartlett, Andre...
From $16.57 on Amazon
Work Less To Live Your Dreams: A Practical Guide To Sa...
Work Less To Live Your Dreams: A Practical Guide To Sa...
by Dan Grec
From $click on Amazon
Overlanders' Handbook: Worldwide Route And Planning Gu...
Overlanders' Handbook: Worldwide Route And Planning Gu...
by Chris Scott
From $22.49 on Amazon
Adventure Motorcycling Handbook: A Route & Planning Gu...
Adventure Motorcycling Handbook: A Route & Planning Gu...
by Chris Scott
From $click on Amazon
Footprints: The Life And Work Of Wayne Shorter
Footprints: The Life And Work Of Wayne Shorter
by Michelle Mercer
From $9.91 on Amazon

Travel insurance for Japan[edit]

World Nomads offer the most flexible Travel Insurance at the best prices for multi-country / multi-year trips. You can buy, extend and claim online, even after you've left home.

Vehicle insurance requirements[edit]

Yes or No if insurance is mandatory, and what kind is acceptable.

Cost of vehicle insurance[edit]

State the price of insurance and a time period.

Where to purchase vehicle insurance[edit]

Describe where insurance can be purchased.

Driving license[edit]

State the kind of driving licenses required. i.e. International Driving Permit.

Driving side of road[edit]

Unknown if LHD vehicles can be driven in Japan

Mandatory items in vehicle[edit]

State any mandatory items that must be carried in the vehicle. (i.e. safety triangle, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, etc.)


General Road quality[edit]

Give a brief description of the general road quality. Mention if one way streets are common.

Road signs[edit]

Briefly describe the overall quality & existence of road signs for directions and hazards.

Toll roads[edit]

List the frequency and approximate price of toll roads.

Bribery in Japan[edit]

Briefly describe how common bribery is and whether it should be expected, and the best way to deal with it.


describe the frequency of checkpoints (police or military and what to expect.

Traveling with pets[edit]

List the entry requirements and anything else required to travel with a pet.

Gas and Diesel price in Japan[edit]

Last updated: July 2019

Currency and unit to display:

Gasoline Grade Price
Unleaded €1.16 EUR per Liter[1]
Diesel €1.01 EUR per Liter[1]

Gas and Diesel Availability / Frequency[edit]

Briefly describe if gas shortages are known to occur.
Also state the approximate average distance between gas stations. This is a very rough estimate.

Gas and Diesel Quality[edit]

Discuss if gasoline / diesel considered "clean" or "dirty", and generally high or low quality.
State the sulfur content of diesel, if known.

Safety and Security Considerations[edit]

Driving at night[edit]

Discuss driving at night and if it should it be avoided. Mention why.

Vehicle parking[edit]

Discuss if vehicles can be parked on the street, if they are considered "safe" at night. If vehicles can not be parked on the street, list the other options that exist.

Special driving considerations[edit]

A List of special things to be careful of (i.e. Unsigned speed bumps, abnormal road rules, people or animals on the road, etc.).
List any roads that are not recommended to drive for safety or other security reasons.

Security advisories and information[edit]

Camping in Japan[edit]

Describe if organized "pay" camping is common. List the facilities commonly found at these campsites.
List the approximate average price range of camping in organized campgrounds.
Also discuss the possibility of "wild" or "roadside" camping. How common is it? Is it considered safe, or a bad idea.

Camping guide books[edit]

List and link to books specifically for camping.

Drinking water[edit]

Describe if the regular tap water is safe to drink. If not, describe where safe water can be purchased and the approximate average price range.


Paper maps[edit]

Reise Know-How are amoung the best paper maps. Purchase paper maps before arriving in Japan

Japan = Japon = Japon
Japan = Japon = Japon
by Reise Know-How Verlag
From $9.75 on Amazon
Japan (national Geographic Adventure Map)
Japan (national Geographic Adventure Map)
by National Geographic Maps - Adventure
From $8.31 on Amazon
Japan Travel Map Fourth Edition (periplus Travel Maps)
Japan Travel Map Fourth Edition (periplus Travel Maps)
From $5.08 on Amazon
Lonely Planet Kyoto (travel Guide)
Lonely Planet Kyoto (travel Guide)
by Lonely Planet, Chris Rowthorn
From $12.59 on Amazon

GPS Maps of Japan[edit]

Review different GPS companies, quality and coverage (Tomtom, Garmin, OSM, Tracks4Africa). (with links to each).

GPS co-ordinates for camping, propane, gas, repairs, etc. in Japan[edit]

  • iOverlander is a website and iPhone application designed by Overlanders, for Overlanders. It contains GPS co-ordinates and reviews for camping, hotels, propane, water, mechanics, borders and much more.

Link to sites that have a list of GPS co-ordinates (or directions) for camping locations (including "wild" campsites), propane filling, gas stations, repair shops, places of interest, etc.

Special Overland Travel interests[edit]

List any special items / places that are popular with Overlanders

Vehicle Maintenance[edit]


4x4s / Trucks


Local Garages[edit]

Add known good mechanics here.

Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Japan[edit]

Describe how a foreigner can buy a vehicle. List any difficulties or limitations on where the vehicle can be driven.

Describe how a foreigner can sell a foreign-plated vehicle, or list not possible.'


Links to the source of any information - blogs or discussion forums, etc.

  1. 1.0 1.1 World petrol prices, gas prices, diesel prices|MyTravelCost.com

Helpful External links[edit]

Add any helpful external links here.