The native guide; All about unique JapanDo you know the STOP sign in Japan?
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[Driving in Japan] Do you know the STOP sign in Japan?

Do you know the STOP sign in Japan?Culture, Etiquette
Culture, Etiquette
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Do you know the fact that the number of car accidents caused by international tourists has been increasing recently in Japan?

One of the reasons that foreign drivers cause car accidents is the different look of the “STOP” sign in Japan.

Today, I am going to show you why foreign drivers miss the stop sign in Japan. the STOP SIGN in Japan.

Stop sign in Japan

Japanese Stop road sign

This is a STOP SIGN in Japan, not “Yield” or “Give war” signs.

In most countries, the “STOP” sign is an octagonal shape and the “Yield” sign is an upside-down triangle shape.

The Japanese “stop” sign is an upside-down triangle as you see above.

This is why foreign drivers miss the “stop” sign because they think it is “Yield”.

Behinds of car accidents

The increase in car accidents by foreign drivers is not just their fault.

Rental car shops

Rental car shops are required to explain major Japanese traffic rules to foreign customers when they rent cars.

However, due to the lack of English speakers, customers from overseas are not able to get enough explanation of Japanese traffic rules.

It is true that there are rental companies that refuse foreign customers because they can’t explain traffic rules in English, but also some bad rental companies lend them cars without sufficient explanation.

It is not only the risk of your life but also the trouble of payments between the assailant and the victim in case of accidents happen.

Signs on streets

The old traffic signs are written in Japanese, especially in the countryside.

How do you know “止まれ” means “stop”?

New “STOP SIGN” coming

stop sign in English

The Japanese government has been exchanging current “stop” signs to new “STOP” signs written in English since 2017.

However, the government started to change to new signs from intersections where car accidents frequently occur by foreign drivers in large cities so you still see the sign written in Japanese only in the countryside.

Yield sign in Japan

Yield sign in Japan

This is the “Yield” sign in Japan, but the definition is a little different from “Yield” in the US.

You must slow down even though there is any oncoming traffic.

Drive on the left side

Another cause of car accidents by foreign drivers is driving the vehicle on the different sides of their countries. As you know, vehicles must drive on the left lane in Japan.

If you drive a car on the right side in your country, make sure you are on the correct side especially when you make turns.

There are many accidents because foreign drivers go into the wrong side of the road after turning the lights.

Actions of rental car shops

To reduce car accidents and troubles related to foreign drivers, the “All Japan rent-a-car association” started promoting in several ways such as

  • handing Japanese traffic rule books to foreign drivers
  • putting stickers that tell the driver is a foreigner to other drivers
  • making movies to learn traffic rules for foreign drivers

Also, ensure all rental car shops throughout Japan to inform foreign drivers Jpanaese traffic rules and driving tips.

If you want to learn Japanse traffic rules before traveling to Japan, you can check here.

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