Signs and Traffic Signs in Japan

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If you are preparing to take the Japanese driver's license exam, or you are already driving in Japan and are not familiar with Japanese road and highway signs. In this article, we will see several Japanese traffic signs and signs for you to compare with the Brazilian ones.

As in Brazil and in the rest of the world, Japan has 3 types of plates, regulatory, warning and indication. They are a little different from the Brazilian ones but both follow an international standard. In this article, we're going to show you a picture with all the plates in each category and I'm going to highlight and talk about some, others you don't need that are pretty obvious.

It is worth remembering that Japan uses traffic signs on the ground in addition to signs. You can find speed, stop and various other information on the ground. Cyclists and pedestrians should also obey the laws transit in Japan because they are subject to a fine. Be very careful as Japan's laws and punishments are severe and keep everyone in line.

Japanese Regulatory Boards

At regulatory boards (規制標識 – kiseihyoushiki) are intended to inform users about conditions, prohibitions, obligations or restrictions on the use of the road.

The Japanese stop sign is a red triangle, pointing downwards with text tore (止まれ) which means stop. Prohibition signs are round with white backgrounds, red borders and blue pictograms. Mandatory instruction signs are round with blue backgrounds and white pictograms.

通行止め (301) – Estrada Fechada para todos – No traffic – Indicates that no one can pass through here, not even pedestrians. The second sign says the entrance is closed to vehicles. The red sign only indicates prohibited entry of vehicles. Be careful not to confuse the motherboard. No entry with the Brazilian customs plate which is somewhat similar.

Signs and traffic signs in japan

No stopping or no parking signs may have a number indicating the times when parking or stopping is prohibited. Remembering that the stop in Japan is a maximum of 5 minutes and the driver must be inside the car.

Notice the 2 written plates joke (徐行) which means slow and slow. The first sign guides you to walk slowly at a speed that you can stop if you need to. The second plate has another plate underneath that indicates the mandatory preference. On the last plate we have the famous take which means mandatory stop.

Blue signs with arrows usually show the required and permitted direction. There are other blue signs left out or rare, but they all indicate something you should follow or do.

Signs and traffic signs in japan

Warning Signs – Warning Signs

Warning signs don't need much explanation, they serve to warn something that will or may happen on the track. Things like weird curves, animals and others. They alert users to potentially dangerous conditions, obstacles or restrictions existing on or adjacent to the road, indicating the nature of these situations ahead, whether permanent or occasional. These traffic signs are usually found 30-200 meters in front of the warning, and need your attention.

Japanese warning signs or warning signs (警戒標識 – Keikai hyōshiki) are in the same shape, yellow and diamond. However, some Japanese warning signs are different and deserve to be highlighted. We can see that the only difference of some Japanese signs is that the animals or people walking on it are in the opposite direction, that's because the traffic there is on the other side.

Signs and traffic signs in japan

The exclamation point indicates other unspecified hazards. We can also notice that the plates indicate specific animals such as rabbits, monkeys and raccoons. There is a sign to indicate dangerous gusts of wind (third from second column). The second plate in the first column shows the danger of falling stones. The last sign indicates that the place is slippery.

Other traffic signs in Japan

Indication signs in Japanese are called shiji hyoushiki (指示標識) and can be literally translated as instruction marker. They have several different formats and are usually in blue.

Different shields indicate the route or name of the road. Common routes usually have a blue shield, while express roads have a green shield. In Japan there are crosswalks that allow cyclists to pass along with pedestrians, while in Brazil we need to get off the bike.

There are other signs with information on intersections, cities, neighborhoods, train stations and even escalators.

Signs and traffic signs in japan

auxiliary tags (Hojo hyoushiki – 補助標識) – In Japan some plates may accompany an auxiliary label. They are rectangular and white plates with some specific information.

Pay attention to some words found on these auxiliary boards:

  • ここから- koko kara – From here;
  • ここまで – koko made – So far;
  • 停 – Ideogram that means stop (without being a verb);
  • 終点 – shuuten – full stop;
  • 始点 – shiten – Starting point;
  • 注意 – chuui – Caution, attention, care
  • 入口 – iriguchi – Entrance
  • 出口 – deguchi – Exit

Remember to always walk left side from the track, either by bicycle or by car. The right side of the road is for pedestrians, so be careful with them. Beware of boards that play tricks, they hide in hard-to-see places.

Thanks for reading our article, I hope you now have a basic understanding of Japan's traffic signs and signals. If you have any signs or important information, you can add them in the comments. We appreciate the shares and comments.

Transferring your Driver's License to Japan

The only option, if you are living in Japan, is to retake all the tests and get a new wallet. This process is simplified if you already have a Brazilian driver's license. You just need to retake the theoretical and practical tests.

To make this process easier, Kirizawa took an online course to get her driver's license in Japan. A course at a much more affordable price than paying for classes or interpreters. If you want to know details, just access the link in the button below:

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