Whilst I am applying for MEXT scholarship I also looking ways to have cheap transport in Japan. According to my MEXT application I will live either in Komatsu or in Tokyo under student visa.

Therefore, I want to ask:

  • Assuming that I have a Greek Driving License for either Bike or Car and an international driving permit what extra procedures I may need for driving in Japan?

  • Is driving a small bike < 400cc is cheaper than public transit?

  • Does student visa allow me to drive if any other paperwork is fixed?

What worries me is if I get accepted in Komatsu rather than in Tokyo, the public transist may not be as good as in Osaka or Tokyo. Also, Komatsu has no Orthodox Church AFAIK as well, hence I many need to take Shikansen in order to participate in Divine Liturgy as well, and using it may be expensive.

  • You will need separate bike driving license.
    – Rambalac
    Commented Jul 30, 2020 at 5:33
  • 1
    @Dimitrios Desyllas In trying to calculate which form of transport might be cheaper, do you already own a bike in Japan or would you intend to buy one? And how long do you plan to be studying in Japan?
    – Traveller
    Commented Jul 30, 2020 at 8:07
  • No I do not have a bike, I itend to buy one. I estimate that my PhD may be to 3-5yrs. Also, as far as I know, if I get a motobike licence in Greece as well I can convert it without exams into a Japanese one, though Idk if I can convert it back if I return into Greece. Commented Jul 30, 2020 at 11:21

1 Answer 1


The answers to this question will be quite different for Tokyo and Komatsu.

In Tokyo, using private transport of any kind is generally a non-starter: parking (even for a motorcycle) is expensive, tolls are expensive, traffic is bad. By contrast, public transport is not only thorough, efficient and safe, but quite likely your scholarship will include a public transport season ticket (teikiken) that will let you commute between office and home for free. (You'll still need to pay for any travel outside the fixed route.)

In Komatsu, having your own wheels will be much more appealing. Beware that Japan has multiple classes of motorcycle licenses and it's considerably more difficult to get larger classes (400cc and above, 125cc and above) than small ones (under 125cc).

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