Why Do Japanese Drive on Left?

Japan is a country that stands out for its unique culture and traditions. One of the most interesting facts about Japan is that it drives on the left side of the road, which is different from many other countries around the world. So why do Japanese drive on the left?

This question has been asked by many people who have visited or lived in Japan and are curious to know why they chose this method of driving instead of what’s more common elsewhere. In this blog post, we will explore some possible reasons why Japanese drive on the left-hand side of their roads as well as examine how long this practice has been in place. The first theory suggests that Japan began driving on the left due to its close proximity to China during ancient times when horses were used as transportation.

Since Chinese riders held reigns with their right hands, it made sense for them to keep to their right so that they could easily pass each other without colliding into one another’s horse carts or chariots. Eventually, once automobiles became more prominent worldwide, Japanese drivers continued sticking with what was already familiar—driving on their nation’s designated ‘left’ side of roads even though much of Europe had begun driving on ‘right’ sides at this point in time (which was actually considered safer).

In Japan, drivers must keep to the left at all times. This is a strange concept for many Westerners accustomed to driving on the right side of the road. So why do Japanese drive on the left?

The answer lies in history. In ancient Japan, it was customary for Samurai warriors and other travelers to ride their horses or carriages on the left-hand side of roads so that they could draw their swords more quickly if attacked by bandits or wild animals coming from their right-hand side. Even after automobiles were introduced in Japan during the Meiji era (1868 – 1912), this custom continued due to its long tradition and practicality—it allowed vehicles approaching each other head-on to pass safely without having to slow down or pull over too much.

Today, most countries around world observe right-side traffic rules except for a handful like Great Britain, India, Australia and New Zealand where people still drive on the left hand side due primarily to British influence when these countries were colonies of England. Interestingly enough though, even with such strong ties between Japan and Great Britain there has never been an effort made by either country’s government towards unifying traffic rules across both nations! So next time you visit Japan make sure you remember that cars move along a different side than usual!

Why do the Japanese drive on the left side of the road?

Why Does England And Japan Drive on the Left?

Driving on the left-hand side of the road is a convention that’s been around for centuries, and two countries that practice this are England and Japan. But why? What is it about these two nations that has them driving on the left when most other countries drive on the right?

The answer goes back to history. In ancient times, people would travel on horseback or in carriages pulled by horses. As they rode along, they’d keep their swords at their right sides so if attacked from behind, they could quickly draw their weapons with their dominant hands (usually the right hand).

This meant traveling on the left side of any road was safer because attackers were more likely to come from one direction – which meant riders had more time to react and defend themselves. This custom eventually evolved into what we now know as “driving on the left” since cars replaced horses as our primary mode of transportation. By keeping this tradition alive, drivers can still take advantage of having their dominant hands closer to traffic coming from behind them while operating vehicles with manual transmissions – something common in both England and Japan until recently.

In addition to safety reasons, there may also be some cultural influences at play here too – especially in Japan where following traditions holds great importance for many citizens today.

When Did Japan Start Driving on the Left?

Japan has been driving on the left side of the road since 1872, making it one of the earliest countries to make this transition. This decision was made in part due to Japan’s close relationship with Britain at that time, who had been driving on the left for centuries prior. The change from right-hand drive (RHD) vehicles to left-hand drive (LHD) wasn’t immediate; it took several years for authorities and citizens alike to adjust.

Initially there were a lot of accidents caused by confusion as people weren’t used to driving on the opposite side of the road compared what they were accustomed too. In 1889, a law was passed that all vehicles had to be manufactured without steering wheels so that drivers would have no choice but to use their right hand when controlling them – ensuring everyone drove on their designated side of the road! Interestingly enough, while most cars today are LHD in Japan, some tour buses still use RHD configurations due to their popularity among foreign tourists who prefer an experience similar to what they’re used back home.

However, regular Japanese drivers are not allowed operate these types of buses due safety reasons and need special licenses if they wish do so legally. Today around 70% of countries throughout world currently follow International Traffic Rules which dictate that traffic should travel on left-side roads — including Japan following its initial switch more than 150 years ago!

Why Do Japanese Cars Have the Steering Wheel on the Right Side?

Japan has a long and storied history of driving on the left side of the road, dating back to at least 1872. In 1920, an Imperial Ordinance was passed that officially declared that all vehicles should use the left side for traffic. This rule is still in effect today, and it explains why Japanese cars have their steering wheels on the right side.

This decision wasn’t made out of any particular preference or advantage; it was simply necessary in order to comply with existing laws regarding which side of the road drivers must drive on. The only other countries that follow this same regulation are Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and Liberia (though some exceptions exist). It’s worth noting that there are no technical benefits associated with having one type of wheel over another – they both work equally well regardless of where they’re located within the vehicle – but since most countries around the world prefer to keep their wheels on the left-hand side due to historical reasons, Japan had no choice but to do likewise if they wanted their cars be allowed onto public roads legally.

The unique design does present certain challenges when importing foreign automobiles into Japan; many manufacturers need to make adjustments such as switching out pedals or installing new accessories so their vehicles can be used safely by those coming from abroad who may not be accustomed to operating a car from this unusual standpoint.

Why Do British Drive on Left?

Driving on the left side of the road is a practice that dates back centuries. In fact, it’s estimated that more than two-thirds of countries around the world still adhere to this long-standing custom. The United Kingdom is one of them; so why do British drive on left?

The answer goes all the way back to medieval times when most people were right-handed and travelled by horseback or foot. To keep their swords handy in case they encountered danger from enemies, people would ride with their right hand closest to passing travelers – hence driving on the left side became common practice. Another reason for driving on the left may have been due to stagecoaches carrying passengers and cargo along certain roads within Great Britain and Ireland during this period in history.

They often followed a set route and drove at high speeds, making it safer for them to pass other vehicles if they kept their right side closest. As these stagecoaches gained popularity, more travelers began following this same pattern and it eventually became an accepted norm throughout much of Europe as well as some parts of North America and Australia/New Zealand. What’s remarkable is how prevalent this tradition has become over time despite technological advances such as cars being introduced hundreds of years later – proof that some customs are just too ingrained into our culture to be changed easily!

Why Do Japanese Drive on Left?

Credit: theculturetrip.com

List of Countries That Drive on the Left

When traveling abroad, it is important to take note of the local driving laws. In some countries, motorists drive on the right side of the road while in others they drive on the left. If you are planning a trip and need to know which countries drive on the left side of the road, this article can help.

Currently there are more than 70 countries that require drivers to stay on their left-hand side when navigating roads. The majority of these nations are located in Oceania and Asia but there are several outliers scattered throughout Europe, Africa and Central America as well. Here is a comprehensive list of all countries that currently require drivers to stay on their left:

Europe: United Kingdom (England/Wales), Ireland, Cyprus, Malta Africa: Botswana , Lesotho , Malawi , Mozambique , Namibia , Seychelles , South Africa Central America & Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda , Barbados Cayman Islands Jamaica Saint Kitts & Nevis Saint Lucia Turks & Caicos Islands Montserrat St Vincent & Grenadines Grenada Dominica British Virgin Islands Trinidad & Tobago Guyana Suriname Belize Panama Jamaica Bahamas Aruba Curacao Sint Maarten

Why Do Some Countries Drive on the Left

If you’ve ever been to a country where the drivers keep to the left side of the road, you may have wondered why some countries drive on the left. It’s actually an interesting story that dates back centuries and is rooted in history. The practice of driving on the left originated in Great Britain during medieval times.

At this time, most people traveled by horseback and it made sense for people to keep to their right so they could have their sword arm (the right hand) free if they encountered any trouble along their journey. As a result, keeping to one’s left became commonplace throughout England and then spread across British colonies such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India. Today there are still many countries around the world that follow this same rule – over 70% of all nations drive on the left!

This includes Japan, Ireland as well as several Caribbean islands like Jamaica and Barbados. There is also an interesting pattern – almost every nation which was once part of an empire ruled by Great Britain drives on its left-hand side of the road; while former French colonies tend to drive on their right-hand side instead. Though it may seem strange at first glance, there are valid reasons behind why certain countries prefer driving on one side or another – from cultural preferences associated with past empires to practical concerns about traffic flow or safety regulations based upon population density in different regions around the globe.

Why Does Japan Drive on the Left Reddit

When driving in Japan, you’ll notice something a bit different—the cars drive on the left side of the road! This is known as “left-hand traffic.” In many other countries around the world, vehicles travel on the right side of the road.

So why does Japan drive on the left? The answer dates back to feudal times when samurai warriors used two swords; one longer than the other. It was important for them to be able to draw their weapons quickly and easily, so they had to keep their dominant hand free by walking and riding horses on the left side of roads (their scabbards were strapped across their backs).

As time passed, this custom was adopted throughout Japan and eventually became law in 1872 with The Road Law Enforcement Ordinance. To this day, most Japanese people are accustomed to driving on the left because it has been such an integral part of their culture for centuries. Additionally, all Japanese vehicles have steering wheels located on both sides – so if you rent a car while traveling there you don’t have to worry about not being used to driving from that direction!


If you’ve ever traveled to Japan, you know that their roads are different than most other places in the world. One of the main differences is that Japanese drivers drive on the left side of the road! But why?

The answer lies in history. The practice of driving on the left was introduced by Samurai warriors back in feudal times, when it was easier and more convenient for them to draw their swords while mounted on horseback if they were closer to people who were walking or riding horses on their right side. This tradition spread over time throughout Japan until it became a law in 1872, making it mandatory for all vehicles (including bicycles) to stay left at all times.

Today, this law is still enforced and many Japanese drivers have become so accustomed to driving left that they even do so without thinking about it – no matter where else they travel around the world! So next time you’re visiting Japan, remember to keep an eye out for those cars coming from your left-hand side!

Izumi Kenta

Hi, I’m Izumi Kenta from Japan. By profession, I worked as a tourist guide and interpreter in Japan. Besides this profession, I’m a hobbyist blogger. I love to talk about different things about Japan and share them with a wider audience who wants to know about my country. To share my thoughts, I’ve created this site Visitjapan and brought some Japanese travel enthusiasts and tourists worldwide to share their experiences.

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