Left Hand Drive Car in Japan

Driving a Left Hand Drive Car in Japan

Ok so we drive on the right hand side of the road in Japan. Why in the hell would we want to drive a left hand drive car then!

I have about 7 cars parked in and around my house. Some are mine and some are family members. Others are for sale etc. One of these 7 cars is right hand drive and its a Suzuki Kei Truck.

Suzuki Kei Truck in Tokyo Japan


Left hand drive cars are important in Japan as a measure of status and class distinction. The Japanese are more than happy to thunder around and their left hand drive cars and think little about the somewhat awkwardness of the actual driving situation.

The other 6 cars in the driveway are all left hand drive and all European cars of a moderate high end price range. I mention that not to gloat, but more as a direction towards identifying the style and price range of these LHD cars available in Japan.

In Japan we can obviously drive cars with the steering wheel on either side of the car. Yes the law permits it and quite honestly its really quite easy to flit from one side to the other with ease once you are accustomed to it. Look at it this way! If I am in a Left Hand Drive car I get a better view of oncoming traffic on a right hand bend and a better view of traffic on a left hand bend. Yeah its a small observation but it works.

Ok you must ask why do Japanese pick left hand drive in a right hand drive county? This goes back some time ago to an era when Japanese were importing European and American cars as direct imports from these countries. People thought it was cool and you looked darn wealthy to be driving a car with the steering wheel on the wrong side. These owners were certainly cool and wealthy.

Then Japan reached what is know as the Bubble Years. Basically people had more money than they new what to do with. One of the best ways to use your wealth and look special was to buy a Left Hand Drive Euro or American car from your favorite car dealer. The other option was to do a personal parallel import. Either way these top end left handle cars came streaming into Japan.

Now 30 years on we are still driving left hand drive cars freshly ordered from the dealer and in great abundance as the model line up from manufacturers increases and there is a new type of wealth on the scene thanks to internet entrepreneurs and the associated business and jobs this medium has generated. Not forgetting the old money thats still here. Japan still has many of these older classic Left hand drives available and you will see many at auctions. See the link below and look for your new car from Japan.


Porsche 911 996 Carrera 4s left hand drive


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