Road Signs in Japan Explained

Please see the below Japanese road sign information for foreign customers renting car in Japan. It features only the necessary signs and explains in detail the meaning of each sign. Read this in advance and start a safe and secure drive in Japan!

<Closed>

Road is closed to all pedestrians, vehicles (cars, light vehicles, motorcycles, etc.), trains

<Closed to Vehicles>

Road is closed to all vehicles (cars, light vehicles, motorcycles, etc.)

<Vehicles Prohibited>

Vehicles (cars, light vehicles, motorcycles, etc.) cannot enter

<Closed to Cars Other than Motorcycles>

Only vehicles with 2 wheels are allowed

<Closed to Vehicles (Combination)>

Vehicles displayed on the sign cannot use the road (the sign here means no cars or motorcycles)

<Can only proceed in the marked directions>

Cannot proceed except in the same direction as the arrows (straight or left only)

<Can only proceed in the marked direction>

Cannot proceed except in the same direction as the arrow (left only)

<Can only proceed in the marked direction>

Cannot proceed except in the same direction as the arrow (straight only)

<Can only proceed in the marked directions>

Cannot proceed except in the same direction as the arrows (left or right only)

<Can only proceed in the marked directions>

Cannot proceed except in the same direction as the arrows (straight, left, or right only)

<Can only proceed in the marked direction>

Cannot proceed except in the same direction as the arrow (left only)

<No Vehicle Crossing>

Crossing beyond this sign (trying to enter a shop or parking lot) is prohibited

※Turning right normally is allowed

<No Turning>

No U-turns allowed

<No Passing>

No overtaking other cars on the right

<No Parking>

Cannot park or stop (in this sign, parking and stopping is prohibited in the time zone of 8:00-20:00)

<No Parking>

No parking (in this sign, parking is prohibited in the time zone of 8:00-20:00)
※Brief stops within 5 minutes (i.e., unloading luggage, stopping to let passengers out, stopping when the driver can move the car immediately) is allowed

<Time-Limited Parking>

Parking is only allowed in the specified time (in the sign here, you can park for up to 60 minutes between 8:00-20:00)

<Speed Limit (Maximum)>

Vehicles must not exceed the limit indicated on the sign (here, it is 50km/hour)

<Speed Limit (Minimum)>

Vehicles must not drive slower than the limit indicated (here, it is 30km/hour)

<Vehicles Only>

Pedestrians, motorcycles, and light vehicles are not allowed

<Bicycles Only>

Indicates that the road is bicycles-only, and cars, pedestrians, etc. cannot use the road

<Bicycles and Pedestrians Only>

Only bicycles and pedestrians can use the road

<Pedestrians Only>

Only pedestrians can use the road

<One Way>

Cars can only drive in the indicated direction (here, it is left)

<One Way>

Cars can only drive in the indicated direction (here, it is straight)

<Dedicated Lane>

The designated lane is only to be used by the specified vehicle type (here, it is buses)

<Bicycle Lane>

The designated lane is only to be used by the specified vehicle type (here, it is bicycles)

<Priority Lanes, including Bus Priority Lanes>

This sign means that you must give priority to buses (or the specified vehicle) in this lane. Other vehicles can also use this lane, but when there is a bus approaching or a bus stop nearby, you must give priority to the bus

<Direction Specific Lanes>

You must use the indicated lane for the indicated direction

<Direction Specific Lanes>

You must use the indicated lane for the indicated direction (here, you can turn left or go straight)

<Direction Specific Lanes>

You must use the indicated lane for the indicated direction (here, you can only turn left)

<Direction Specific Lanes>

You must use the indicated lane for the indicated direction (here, you can only go straight)

<Clockwise Roundabout>

You must drive in a clockwise direction at the roundabout

<Parallel Parking>

Parking spaces with this sign (including time-limited parking zones) must be parked parallel to the side of the road

<Right-Angle Parking>

Parking spaces with this sign (including time-limited parking zones) must be parked at a right angles to the side of the road

<Diagonal Parking>

Parking spaces with this sign (including time-limited parking zones) must be parked diagonally against the side of the road

<Sound Horn>

If this sign is present, you must sound a horn while driving

<Slow Down>

You must slow down to a level where you can stop immediately

<Slow Down>

You must slow down to a level where you can stop immediately

<Stop>

You must come to a complete stop before the stop line or sign

<Stop>

You must come to a complete stop before the stop line or sign

<Closed to Pedestrians>

Pedestrians cannot walk past this sign

<No Pedestrian Crossing>

Pedestrians cannot cross the road here

<+Shaped Road with Intersection>

Sign indicating that there is a cross-shaped road intersection ahead

<┣ or  ┫ Road with Intersection>

Sign indicating that there is a ┣ or  ┫shaped road intersection ahead

<T-Shaped Road with Intersection>

Sign indicating that there is a T-shaped road intersection ahead

< Y-Shaped Road with Intersection>

Sign indicating that there is a Y-shaped road intersection ahead

<Rotary>

Sign indicating that there is a roundabout ahead

<Right (or Left) Curve Ahead>

Sign indicating that there is a right (or left) curve in the road ahead

<Right (or Left) Turn Ahead>

Sign indicating that there is a right (or left) turn in the road ahead

<Right (or Left) Curve Ahead>

Sign indicating that there is a winding road with a right curve at the beginning, immediately followed by a left curve

<Right (or Left) Sharp Bend Ahead>

Sign indicating that there is a winding road with a sharp right curve at the beginning, immediately followed by a sharp left curve

<Right (or Left) Curves Ahead>

Sign indicating that there is a winding road with a that starts to the right and continues several times

<Railroad Crossing>

Sign indicating a railroad crossing ahead

<Train Crossing>

Sign indicating a train crossing ahead

<Preschool, Kindergarten, School Ahead>

Sign indicating that there is a school, kindergarten, or nursery ahead

<Stoplight Ahead>

Sign indicating that there is a stoplight ahead

<Slippery Road>

Sign indicating that the road surface ahead is slippery (slippery) due to sand, rain, freezing, etc.

<Falling Rocks>

Sign indicating that there is a risk of falling rocks from mountain or cliff ahead

<Uneven Road>

Sign indicating that the road ahead is bumpy and uneven

<Merge Ahead>

Sign indicating that lanes merge ahead

<Lane Decrease>

Sign indicating that the number of lanes will decrease ahead

<Narrow Lane>

Sign indicating that the road is narrowing ahead

<Two-Way Traffic>

Sign indicating that the current road is a two-way street without a center line or median

<Steep Slope>

Sign indicating that there is a steep uphill slope ahead (the sign number indicates the degree of the slope)

<Steep Slope>

Sign indicating that there is a steep downhill slope ahead (the sign number indicates the degree of the slope)

<Road Work>

Sign indicating that the road ahead is under construction

<Crosswinds>

Sign indicating caution regarding crosswinds ahead

<Animals on Road>

Signs indicating that animals may jump out on the road (other than deer, there are monkeys, foxes, bears, etc.)

<Other Danger>

Sign indicating that there is danger ahead

<Track Driving Allowed>

Sign indicating that cars can drive on the train tracks (if specified as an auxiliary sign, only the designated car is allowed)

<Parking Allowed>

Sign indicating that parking and stopping are allowed

<Stopping allowed>

Sign indicating that stopping is allowed

<Priority Road>

Sign indicating that the specified road is a priority road

<Center Line>

Sign indicating that the position directly below the sign is the center line of the road

<Stop Line>

Sign indicating the stop line for vehicle stops

<Pedestrian Crossing>

Sign indicating that there is a pedestrian crossing here

<Pedestrian Crossing>

Sign indicating that there is a pedestrian crossing here

<Safe Area>

Sign indicating that there is a safety zone here for people who get on and off trains or for pedestrians crossing the road (vehicles cannot enter)

<Regulation Notice>

Sign notifying the traffic regulation displayed is being enforced ahead (the left image is telling that the road is closed 100 meters ahead)

<Regulation Notice>

Sign showing that the traffic regulation shown on the previous sign is being enforced (the left image shows that the road ahead is closed and a detour is required)

<Service Area & Roadside Station Distance>

Sign indicating the distance to the service area or roadside station

 

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