Instructions: Switching a foreign driver’s license to a Japanese driver’s license

A driver’s license issued by a foreign administrative office can be switched to a Japanese license (hereinafter referred to as “Gaimen Kirikae”) by applying to the Driver’s License Center. To apply for Gaimen Kirikae, applicants must fulfill the following two conditions:

  1. The applicant’s foreign driver’s license must be valid (expired licenses cannot be transferred).
  2. The applicant must be able to prove that he or she stayed in the issuing country for at least three months in total after obtaining the license.

General Gaimen Kirikae procedure at the Driver’s License Center

  1. Submission of application documents →
  2. Aptitude test →
  3. Traffic rule knowledge check →
  4. Driving skill check (The applicant is asked to actually drive a vehicle at a course in the Driver’s License Center.) →
  5. Issuance of the Japanese driver’s license

*For information on the documents to be submitted, application fee and tests, please contact the Driver’s License Center that has jurisdiction over the region in which the applicant resides.

About the Japanese Translation

One of the documents required when applying for Gaimen Kirikae is a “Japanese Translation of Foreign Driver’s License” issued by JAF. (Note that the Japanese Translation does not assure that the license will be switched. For the details of Gaimen Kirikae, please contact the Driver’s License Center that has jurisdiction over the region in which you reside.)

You are requested to apply for the Japanese Translation through the Translation Office of your respective JAF branch. JAF may not, however, issue a translation of some foreign licenses. In addition to JAF, some foreign embassies and consular offices in Japan may issue the Japanese Translation of driver’s licenses.

Translation: A Japanese Translation of a foreign driver’s license is one of the documents required to switch a foreign driver’s license to a Japanese driver’s license (Gaimen Kirikae), but it does not assure that the license will be switched. Whether your license is switched to a Japanese license or not is determined by each Driver’s License Center. For inquiries please contact the Driver’s License Center that has jurisdiction over the region where you reside in advance.

  • The fee for issuance of a Japanese Translation is 3,000 yen per license. An additional fee for return postage (including charge for service) 【500 yen】will be charged for applications via mail.The return postage (including charge for service) will be 500 yen for two translations and 600 yen for three or more translations in the case of sending to the same address if requesting translation of more than one license.
  • When applying via mail, the application must be sent from within Japan. In principle, the return address must also be the applicant’s address within Japan. However, if you wish to have the translation sent to a proxy’s address in Japan, place a check mark ( ) beside return address in the proxy section below.
  • In principle, the receipt will be sent to the applicant. However, if you wish to have it sent to a proxy (individual or company), place a check mark ( ) beside receipt address in the proxy section below.
  • We do not refund any fee for the issued Translation, even if your application to have your license switched is rejected by the license center.
  • Individuals who do not speak Japanese may be asked to bring an interpreter with them. When applying by mail, please fill in someone who speaks Japanese in the proxy section if possible.
  • We use your personal information provided in this form only for the purpose of issuing a Japanese Translation of your license to you properly.

Join the KobeJET website team!

Interested in becoming a contributor to our lessons one of our other resources? Helping with content moderation or translation? These are great opportunities to practice your editing or translation skills, and add professional, visible real-world experience to your resume.

Interested in marketing? We also need help expanding upon and building new English language and living in Japan partnerships, including backlinks and the option for building an ads component to help fund the site.

Are you a pro at social media engagement? Help us build KobeJET's social network presence on Facebook, Twitter, and others - getting the word out about our extensive collection of lessons and resources for the greater Japan ALT community and beyond!

If you're a current JET and would like to become involved with the site administration, responsibilities can be broken into a few categories.

  1. Content Contributor
    • Add new lessons, songs and lyrics, recommended locations and more
    • Translate lessons, etc. to Japanese to help these resources reach non-native English speakers
  2. General administration
    • Approve or remove new account requests
    • Let new JETs know about the site and how to set up an account/become involved
    • Update current JET/school lists as necessary
      • For JETs who have left, change role from "ALT" to "RALT" (Returned ALT)
      • Add/edit/remove any schools or school information that may have changed
  3. Content moderation
    • Manage (create/remove) announcements on the homepage with relevant news
    • Promote new lesson submissions among JETs and teachers
    • Encourage translation of lesson submissions to Japanese to help native Japanese teachers better access and use the resources.
  4. Longterm sustainability

Send us an email and get involved!

Japan Talk is a Japanese culture and travel guide. We love Japan more than 3 meals a day.

Hello everyone, 

Many ALT(s) choose to move apartments during their time on JET. I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the process and paperwork for moving out of Kobe city-arranged housing. Up until now, we've been sending the following information on an individual basis whenever we get notification that someone wants to move. If you do not live in Kobe city housing, you can disregard this message.

1.  As soon as you decide that you are going to move, please send an email to the CIR(s) letting us know. You can send this email without any additional information, just as a heads-up that you are planning to move.

2.  At least one month before you plan to move, send an email to the CIR(s) with your new address and the date you will vacate your UR apartment. We will then notify UR Linkage and start the one-month countdown. We cannot start the countdown without these two pieces of information. 

3.  At least two weeks before you plan to move, tell us the exact time of day that you're planning to vacate your current apartment. We will let UR Linkage know when they can come and pick up your rental items.

4.  At least two weeks before you plan to move, choose a day for your final inspection. Send the CIR(s) an email with three options, which should be days when you will be able to make it back to your apartment by 4:00pm. You should be mostly or completely moved out by the inspection day, and the apartment should be clean. The inspection must be on a weekday and you must be present.

5.  The week before you move, notify your utility companies of your move, if you are maintaining your accounts with them at the new place OR tell us what day and time of day you want utilities cut off (if you are starting new accounts at the new place).

6.  Notify your school, bank, post office, ward office, and any other services (internet, etc.) of your new address.

7.  Submit your Notification of Place of Residence form (blank copy on pg. 24 of your guidebook).

8.  Submit a new Commuting Route form (blank copy on pg. 22 of your guidebook).

9.  Make sure to take everything of yours with you, and leave all of the rental items behind in good condition. Turn off all gas taps and the electric breaker before leaving, and drop your keys in the door mailbox after locking the door for the last time.

10.  After you move, UR Linkage will conduct their own inspection of the apartment and assess any damages that might be present. Your deposit (less damages) will be returned to you via direct deposit. 

I hope that the above list makes the process of moving easier for anyone who is considering it. 

Thank you.

Welcome to the Mie Guidebook!

The internet's most comprehensive English-language guide to living in Mie Prefecture

KYOTO JETS is a website run by the current PAs in Kyoto City and Kyoto Prefecture for the purpose of distributing information and providing support.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact one of the Kyoto PAs at any time!

Chiba AJET is a social community for JETs, WI-ALTS, and anyone who wants an opportunity to get together, have fun and support each other while promoting international culture exchange in Chiba Prefecture. Membership is free and anybody with ideas for events can submit a proposal to our council.

Our goal is to foster a sense of international community in Chiba by providing a means to share resources and organizing social events throughout Chiba Prefecture.

Shimane AJET is a group that is run by JETs, for JETs. We are not run by the PAs or any BoE but are 100% volunteer run and funded.  We are affiliated with, though not directly run by, National AJET.

Tofugu started out as a college course project in 2008. It was rooted as a Japanese language blog for English speakers. Over the years Tofugu began to find its niche and evolved into a full-time business.

Today there are two facets of Tofugu: the blog and the company.


Most people are familiar with our wonky Japanese language and culture blog, which is what you are seeing at this very moment.

We write about Japanese topics we're passionate about, so hopefully you like the same things we like. We also write about our travels in Japan, do reviews on products, write guides to help you with Japanese, and make videos too.


The other face of Tofugu is the company. We design Japanese language learning tools to tackle specific areas where people have difficulty.

We organize various International parties and bus trips in Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. 
You can mingle with local Japanese people as well as people from all over the world!
We throw parties at major bars and clubs around Osaka.
You can experience new venues, while meeting new people and making new friends.
Come join us for a great time!

There are many options to exchange money in and out of Japan. Better rates can usually be found upon arriving in a destination country when traveling. Airport rates can also usually be worse than exchanges one your pass through immigration, but this can depend upon the country and situation.

Feel free to include your personal experience with any countries you've travelled in!

A popular news source in Japan provided in English

Expedia Japan - 

Kayak - 

Vayama - 

Student Universe empowers young adults to experience the world with discount travel. For students and those under 26, our cheap flights, hotels and tours make it affordable to travel anywhere you want to go. Although we specialize in student and youth discounts, most of our promo codes apply for all ages.


Find a job. Search the largest English job board in Japan.


Speak and be heard. Study at one of our partner language schools.


Get great deals when travelling Japan with GaijinPot


Find your new home. Browse our listing of affordable apartments.

Let me introduce the Triage Triangle. This is a helpful tool in helping you decide who to ask for help. Don't be afraid to ever seek support, but it's important to be mindful of the people you are asking!

Triage triangle - who to call in an emergency


Within two months before your residence card expires, go to your local Regional Immigration Office with the following documents:

  1. Application form
  2. A 3cm x 4cm photograph of yourself, taken passport-style within the past 3 months (please write your name on the back)
  3. Your residence card
  4. Your passport OR certificate of status of residence
  5. Optional: Application for Indication of Name Using Kanji Characters on the Residence Card (only if you wish to have your name indicated both in alphabet and in kanji characters)

Choose from over 250 books, both fiction and non-fiction, in English and Japanese (and a couple more). Open to everyone! Let's reading! \(^.^)/

** To sign up for an account, look for the green "sign up" button at the bottom of any book's info page. **

For your borrowing pleasure:

-- The Hanayama Library is a modest but diverse collection of English and Japanese language books, both fiction and non-fiction. Fiction genres include fantasy, science fiction, horror, young adult dystopian, and uh whatever genre Haruki Murakami is. Non-fiction topics include travel, history, and Japanese language study. So, whether you’re hitting up the Vietnamese beaches or enjoying the air con in the staff room this summer, you’ll find a great companion in the library.
(Current location: 3-201. To access the digital database, please visit link below and make an account to start borrowing!)

-- The BBQ set contains a portable barbecue and some briquettes, a large cooler/ice chest/esky/chilly bin (<-- seriously guys?), and a short portable plastic table. Great for neighbourhood events or beach parties. You can borrow the whole set or just whatever item(s) you need.
(Current location: 3-201.)


(Last updated 2017.07.24)

Mondays -- Monday TV Night: We watch a variety of programming; recent titles include The Walking Dead, Westworld, and Stranger Things. Currently showing: Game of Thrones and The Expanse. Starts 19:45 at 3-201.

Thursdays -- Dungeons and Dragons: The high-level group (16/17). Continuing an ongoing story in the employ of a secretive international group, the team has been embroiled in thwarting a chaotic revolution and searching for a new king for the kingdom. Key words: ‘smite’, ‘kick down’, ‘sweet-ass’, ‘just steal’, ‘whatever’. Starts 19:00 at 3-201.

Fridays -- Dungeons and Dragons: The low-level group (6). The team crew the privateering good ship Fortune’s Flight under the charismatic Black Robb. Current goals include getting in with a young empress, fostering the growth of a cultic (?) colony, searching for the last of an aquatic race of fishmen and evading an android assassin. Key words: ‘insult’, ‘swashbuckle’, ‘stab’, ‘wholesale’ and the phrase ‘the plan is there’s no plan’. Starts 19:30 at 3-201.

*A note on DnD. Every year in the summer we end up shuffling party members around. We’re eager to hear from anyone who might be interested. Making additional groups is not an impossibility. For more information, look for the Kingdoms and KobeJETs Facebook group.


(Last updated 2017.07.24)

All doctors study English diagnosis names and at the very least should be able to write the name of your problem down for you. For a searchable-by-specialty list of English-speaking doctors in Hyogo, see - for an online listing of doctors in all of Hyogo Prefecture. Lets you search for one that has English speakers. Options to search by specialty *and* by ward.

If you’re uncomfortable with a certain doctor or question their diagnosis, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. (JETs: also please remember that if you have a medical emergency or a serious medical issue CIRs can help you out.) Finally, note that the inclusion of a doctor on this list means that someone at some time liked them – it means that it’s more likely that you will too, but not a certainty. This guide was initially created for JETs, so has a bias toward places where Kobe JETs are congregated – however, the compiler is now a Kobe JET alumni still in Kobe and decided to broaden things a little (& change the title).

  1. Find the Fare Adjustment Machine near the gates. It should be yellow and say 乗り越し精算.
  2. If needed, press the "English" button to change languages.
  3. Insert your commuter pass in the upper left ticket slot. (Do this with any small ticket, magnetic ticket, or IC card.)
  4. The screen will indicate how much money you owe. ("~~円不足です")
  5. Insert bills and coins in the appropriate slots. BTW you can stack multiple bills!
  6. (If charging funds to an IC card, the screen will ask you if you need a receipt. 領収書あり=yes 領収書なし= no )
  7. The machine will then beep loudly to remind your senile ears not to forget your teiki, fare adjustment ticket, and change.
  8. Insert ONLY the fare adjustment ticket in the ticket gates, and you're free!

Attached is a link to a super-useful YouTube video made by Hanshin Railway.

This app has an English interface and details for all monsters and events on JP servers. You can see the current skill monster rotations, available Godfest exclusives, upcoming events, and more. You can also track your current monsters and teams and theorycraft. announcements

January 27, 2017

Call out for lesson plans!

As we approach the end of the year, you know those awesome lessons you made that the kids loved and really helped them practice their English - while learning about different cultures and being FUN!!

Now is the time to memorialize your awesomeness with the greater Kobe JET community and beyond! Simply go to “Teaching” in the main menu and select “Add lesson” to share your pearl of education.


We’re asking any ALTs who have not yet registered their schools or school information to please do so as soon as possible. The list of missing ALTs can be accessed by logging in and accessing the Tools menu in the upper right at:

Tools” > “Schools” > “Unassigned ALTs

This is important for to be the best resource possible – facilitating school event registrations, basic communication between Guidance Division, school staff and ALTs, and upcoming feature support.

What’s new with

With many additions to both the behind-the-scenes functionality and user interface, has a lot to offer!

Now you can:

  • Advertise your KICP or DS, locking in those volunteers while making it easier for the CIRs to approve and get everyone’s shuccho forms out early
  • Upload and use your favorite songs to teach lyrics and share an immersive, exciting exchange with your students in the original country of karaoke
  • Host or explore events happening in and around Kobe
    • You can now set a minimum or maximum number of available spots
  • Browse popular and recommended restaurants, sightseeing locations, and more - shout out to Tyler for getting this started!
  • Find reward system cards and materials for use in your classes, and add your own
  • Ask all your nagging or curiosity questions regarding the mysteries of Kobe JET life;
    • How to fill out forms,  send a furikomi, handle your taxes, or apply for time off
    • Weather warnings, finding a dentist, women’s health information
    • And more!
      • Or submit answers to unanswered questions - by going to “Resources” in the main menu and select “Ask a question!”

How can I help out, and how do I get involved?

There are several ways to get involved with the website:

  • Website development and administration - there will be a meeting in the coming weeks to discuss the development of KobeJET sustainability practices and procedures documentation and select the next site administrators for the website.
  • Content management - a small team will be needed to provide content moderation, editing, and maintenance support for the website. Duties will include looking after content for SpeakRaku and the new Songs feature, KICP and DS pages and registration, Information and Glossary, community content, and more.
  • Translation - there is already an official translation team that has been hard at work on the site navigation and content, creating a fully functional Japanese version of the website for use by Kobe City BOE employees, teachers and school staff.

Those interested in website development, administration, and content management can get in touch with David Dowell.

The translation team points of contact are Bailey Roberts and Isaac Tombleson.

Pink Weed and ModernArk are both café/restaurants in Motomachi specializing in vegan/vegetarian cuisine with set options and vegan desserts. ModernArk also has a selection of organic and vegan food and home products.

Other popular restaurants that are familiar with accommodating for JET dietary restrictions include Alok (Indian), Chalte Chalte (Indian), OluOlu (Hawaiian), and Baan Thai (Thai).


These are the spirit animals for the varying ALT years during your stay with JET!

[Rab*bit] n. 1st year JET. seen everywhere; bright eyed, high spirited.

[Ta*nu*ki] n. 2nd year JET. cunning, wary of youth; beware their new sempai status.

[Pan*da] n. 3rd year JET. comfortable, astute; play their cards close to their chest.

[Owl] n. 4th year JET. wise, watchful, reflective; can be a great ally.

[U*ni*corn] n. 5th year JET. proud, rarely seen, an enigma; magic rainbows.


Related: Can order shirts through Zazzle at this link here.

There are multiple ways to send money from Japan to your home countries: 

Bank transfers: Fill out a form with your receiving banking information and some other documentation, then pay a processing fee of ~2500 yen (at Japan Post) and wait 30 min to an hour. The transfer takes up to a week to process, and you may be charged additional fees by your receiving bank. Requires Japanese to fluidly navigate, as well as physically going to the bank. You will need to fill out this form every time you send money. 

TransferWise: Newly popular with expats and easy to apply online. Fill out a form (one-time) with your details and other documentation. When you get a confirmation screen with the details of your transaction, you'll get information for a local account to send the money to. All that's left is to go to an ATM, send a furikomi, and wait about 4 days. Future transfers do not require you to fill out an extensive form again, just the transaction details. Fee is about 400 yen for sending money under 50,000 yen or 0.8% of the total if over 50,000 yen. 

GoRemit: Popular with expats, it's been the traditional method of choice for sending money. Mail in a paper application with your documents. Once the account is set up, each time you send money the processing fee is 2000 yen, regardless of the amount sent. Similar process to TransferWise by sending a furikomi to a local bank account. 

Question: What do you call leftover eraser rubbings?

Answer: Keshigomi.



Disclaimer: Or keshikasu.

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