A beginner’s guide to Japanese road signs

Regulatory Signs


Road closed to all

The road is closed not only for all vehicles, but also pedestrians.

Road closed to vehicles

All vehicles (including light vehicles) are prohibited.

No standing

Vehicles are not allowed to stand and park. The times written above indicate when it is enforced.

No parking

Vehicles are not allowed to park. The times written above indicate when it is enforced.

Stop

Vehicles must stop just before the line. Where there is no line, they must stop before entering the intersection.

Slow down

Vehicles must drive slowly.

Maximum speed limit

Vehicles may not drive faster than indicated speed.

Minimum speed limit

Vehicles may not drive slower than indicated speed.

No vehicles

Vehicles are not allowed to enter.

No right turn crossing ahead

Vehicles are not allowed to cross the road. (Vehicles can cross the road with a left turn to enter and exit facilities outside the road).

No U-turn

Vehicles are not allowed to perform a U-turn.

No overtaking

Vehicles are not allowed to overtake.

Directions permitted

Vehicles may not go beyond the direction of the arrows.

One way

Vehicles must follow the direction indicated by the arrow. Traveling the opposite direction is not allowed.

Dedicated traffic lane

Indicate a dedicated traffic zone for the vehicle type displayed on the sign. (Here, a lane for buses).

Preferred traffic lane

Indicate a preferred traffic lane for the vehicle type displayed on the sign. (Here, a lane for buses).

Warning Signs


Slippery road

Indicates that the road ahead might be slippery.

Falling rocks

Indicates that there is a risk of rocks falling on the road ahead.

Bumpy road

Indicates that there are bumps on the road ahead.

Roadworks

Indicates that the road is currently under roadwork.

Steep ascent

Indicates that there is a steep ascent on the road ahead.

Steep descent

Indicates that there is a steep descent on the road ahead.

School zone

Indicates that you are in a school zone.

Traffic light

Indicates that there is a traffic light ahead.

Traffic merging

Indicates that the traffic is merging ahead. (Here, from the left)

Left lane ends

Indicates that the left lane is ending ahead.

Road narrows on both sides

Indicates that the road is getting narrower ahead.

Two-way traffic

Indicates that there a is two-way traffic on the road ahead.

Railroad crossing

Indicates that there is a railroad crossing ahead.

Crosswinds

Indicates that there is a risk of crosswinds ahead.

Animals crossing

Indicates that there is a risk of animals crossing the road.

Indication Signs


Parking allowed

Indicates that vehicles are allowed to park.

Stopping allowed

Indicates that vehicles are allowed to stop.

Preferred road

Indicates a preferred road.

Center of the lane

Indicates the center of the lane.

Stopping Line

Indicates the position where the vehicle must stop.

Safety zone

Indicates a pedestrian safe zone. Vehicles are not allowed to enter it.

Crosswalk

Indicates a crosswalk ahead.

Bicycle crossing lane

Indicates a bicycle crossing ahead.

Information Signs


Expressway entrance

Indicates the direction of the expressway entrance.

National route

Indicates the number of a Japanese National route.

Emergency telephone

Indicates the presence of an emergency telephone.