If your country was not on the list shared on the Obtaining a Driving License page, then you will have to take a driver’s test and possibly undertake driver training in order to obtain a license. This is a Japan-wide policy, and it is based on whether the government of your country of origin has an arrangement for license exchange with the government of Japan.
In order to attempt the driver’s test you will have to make an appointment with the Miyazaki Prefectural Driver’s License Center (map) (NOT the Nobeoka or Miyakonojyo office), and bring in the same materials listed previously. Miyazaki City’s is the main Driver’s License Center for the prefecture and has the only test course. It is located near Seagaia, and there is a sign in English. You will need to call before you go and make an appointment–please note that there is no English speaker available. If you take the driving test in an automatic transmission car, your driver’s license will prohibit you from driving manual transmission cars.
You will be subjected to a higher level of scrutiny, and they may ask you a series of questions about your travel, passport stamps, how you obtained your license in your home country, and any number of other subjects. They will ask you to return, again between 8:30 and 9:30 Monday to Friday, in order to take a written test, and then a practical test on a closed circuit course.
The written test is, by most reports, fairly simple. The practical test, on the other hand, is designed in such a manner that you will fail for small and seemingly inconsequential errors such as not looking both ways before entering the car, not doing a sufficient number of checks, and not narrating your every action to the person testing you. The best strategy is to practice beforehand with a private instructor or a friend who has done the course before, in order to memorize the carefully choreographed sequence of events that the testers expect.
While the testing itself is tricky, you should certainly not be discouraged. Most people pass and get their licenses. Just stay patient, practice, and get as much help from friends and coworkers as you can.
Driving Test Courses
There are two possible routes for your driving test. Below, you’ll find maps of each route (as of April 2015). For your viewing pleasure, you’ll also find videos of a previous Miyakonojo ALT, Nate Kemp, driving each course. Previewing them before your first lesson will give you an idea of what to expect, and reviewing them afterwards will help you memorize the course before the test.