Traffic Signs and Signs in Japan


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

As in Brazil and the rest of the world, Japan has 3 types of signs, those for regulation, warning and indication. They are a little different from the Brazilian ones, but both follow an international standard. In this article, we will show a photo with all the plates of each category and I will highlight and talk about some, others do not need it that are quite obvious.

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

Japanese Regulatory Plates

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


The Japanese stop sign is a red triangle, pointing down with text tomare (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 - Traffic prohibited - Indicates that no one can pass through here, not even pedestrians. The second sign says that the entrance is closed to vehicles. The red sign indicates only prohibited entry of vehicles. Be careful not to confuse the no entry with the Brazilian customs board, which is a bit similar.

Traffic signs and signs in japan

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

Notice the 2 signs written joko (徐行) which means slow and slow. The first sign tells 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.

The blue signs with arrows usually show the mandatory and allowed direction. There are other blue signs that were left out or are rare, but they all indicate something you should follow or do.


Traffic signs and signs in japan

Warning Signs - Warning Signs

The warning signs do not need as much explanation, they serve to alert something that is or may happen on the track. Things like strange 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 ahead of the warning, and need your attention.

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

Traffic signs and signs in japan

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

Other traffic signs in Japan

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

Different shields indicate the route or route name. Common routes usually have a blue shield, while express roads have a green shield. In Japan there are pedestrian crossings that allow cyclists to pass 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.

Traffic signs and signs in japan

Auxiliary labels (Hojo hyoushiki - 補助標識) - In Japan, some signs 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 which means to stop (without being a verb);
  • 終点 - shuuten - Period;
  • 始点 - shiten - Starting point;
  • 注意 - chuui - Caution, attention, care
  • 入口 - iriguchi - Entrance
  • 出口 - deguchi - Departure

Remember to always walk the left side from the track, whether by bicycle or car. The right side of the road is for pedestrians, so be careful with them. Watch out for signs that play tricks, they hide in places that are difficult to see.

Thank you for reading our article, I hope you now have a basic knowledge of Japan traffic signs and signs. If you have any important signs or 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 license. This process is simplified if you already have a Brazilian driver's license. You just need to retake the theoretical and practical tests.

To facilitate this process, Kirizawa took an online course to obtain his 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 on the button below: