Before going back to Canada, I always need to get my International Driver’s Permit (IDP). Since I moved to Kinshicho, I needed to go to a different police branch to get my IDP. The last time I got an IDP was at the Shinjuku Licensing Centre. It is always a simple process but only if you remember your documents. Here is what you need:
- Driver’s License
- Photo (5cm x 4cm)
- Residence Card (Only for foreigners)
The first time I went, I had to look for the building. It isn’t very easy to find if you can’t read kanji so well, but I did find it. It is a bit far from Kanda Station, and actually closer to the middle between Tokyo and Kanda. It is much closer to Otemachi Station. When I got there, it was a bit confusing to know where to go as the kanji is still pretty confusing. I finally figured out that I had to go to the 3rd floor, after seeing the 2nd floor.
If you have all of your documents, you just head into the main area and go straight to window 1. Window 1 is where they check your documents and process you. If you have all of your documents, they use your driver’s license and print out an application form for you. You then proceed to an area to fill it out. I proceeded to fill it out by reading the kanji but ended up realizing when I finished that there was an English translation on the table.
Once you finish filling out the form, you just head to window 2 where you pay your fee and get your receipt. Then it is off to the next window, window 0. This is where you hand in your documents and wait. It takes a few minutes for them to do everything but when they are busy it can take a bit more time. In total it took me about 15 minutes. A pretty short experience but like any bureaucratic process, it isn’t fun.
One thing to note, the photo size is 5cm by 4cm which is a very rare size. I ended up getting a photo that was about half a centimetre wider on each side and cutting it smaller. They do have photo booths at the police office but as of 2015, it is 800 yen to get the photos taken.
If you need to get an IDP in Japan, for a Japanese license, good luck and I hope you can get it done in a single try!