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  1. #1

    The best way to the oogata licence?

    I'm curious about what you guys would recommend as a course of action for getting there. I already have a Japanese manual car licence. I just tested for it at the licence center. I'm going next week to check and see if I'm allowed to just challenge the bike test as well. However, I could really use some practice first. So going to a driving school is probably the best way for me to get the chugata. Has anyone ever gotten the shogata or chugata from a driving school and then went on to upgrade it by testing at the driving center?

    Overall do you guys feel driving schools over here are worth their price? I really don't understand why the oogata is double the price of the chu.

    If you can remember that far back... tell me about your own experiences with driving schools and the driving center. I'm sure there are some good war stories.

  2. #2

    The best way to the oogata licence?

    I got my large bike license in NZ 20 years ago, converted to UK license when I moved back to London. When I came to Japan 8 years ago this converted to a Chuugata (the law has since changed and this would convert to an Oogata now).
    Two years ago I wanted to upgrade to Oogata but my UK license needed renewing and I was not in UK.
    You can move up from Chuugata to Oogata by "just" passing a practical course at a police riding test center. Fukuoka or Samezu in Tokyo.
    Unfortunately the police examiners are very tough. I spent last summer failing 5 times. Which is apparently very common.
    This summer I just paid the money to Koyama driving school in Tamagawa. 120,000 yen, so bloody expensive. But I was very rusty after 20 years, which included an 8 year break. So I learnt a lot, and passed the riding exam first time. The exam is taken at the same course you train on, invigilated by your teachers.
    If you give the name of a previous student, you get a small discount. PM me for my name if you want to do that.

  3. #3

    The best way to the oogata licence?

    Having said all that, other foreigners, less inept than me, have just taken the police riding test and breezed it first time. So you could just give it a go. Find a YouTube clip of someone riding the course properly and see if you think you could do it.
    Last edited by RedSquare; 09-13-2014 at 07:14 AM.

  4. #4
    Thanks for the advice RedSquare! I did get quite angry at the police driving center people after failing the car test twice. Sounds like driving school is the best place for me to get my chugata. It's nice to hear I will be able to challenge for the Oogata though. Hopefully all the practice driving the course for the chugata will translate. I had a friend who took over 10 tries to pass the car test. He never lived it down.

    Thanks for the offer to help me get a discount too. Unfortunately I'm down on Shikoku. I'll ask around and see if they have to same deal locally though. Cheers!

  5. #5
    エボリュション racer162's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012

    The best way to the oogata licence?

    Well I'm from the states passed my MT car 2nd time ( everyone fails the frist aparently) then I went a couple days later straight for the Ogata. Failed a few times but still a ton cheaper than the driving school.

  6. #6
    Props dude. It's definitely something for me to think about. Thanks.

  7. #7
    The trick for the test is just to know HOW they want you to drive it.

    The biggest gotcha is getting on the bike (yes, this is for real) - doing any of the below incorrectly is an insta-fail.

    Step up to the bike.
    Look left and right - BEFORE you touch it.
    Grasp the handlebars, apply front brake.
    Push the bike upright.
    Raise the kickstand with your RIGHT foot.
    Look forwards and back again.
    Swing right leg over the bike, apply rear brake (you kept front brake on the whole time).
    Apply clutch.
    Check mirrors (visibly turn your head to show that you are doing this), then shoulder check.
    Start the bike.
    Check mirrors (visibly turn your head to show that you are doing this), then shoulder check.
    Proceed to start test.

    Once you're following the route, it gets simpler.

    Remember that a pass is 70%, and you start with 100%.

    Point killers:
    Whenever you stop, check left, right, left again, mirror, shoulder. Fail to do any of those and you lose five percent. Remember that mirror checks need to be visible - "click" your head at the mirror. Some people may tell you that mirror checks don't count - it depends on the examiner, so do them.
    Your turn signals must be on for three seconds before you move in that direction. Apply late and lose five percent.
    On the ippon bashi (raised strip) you are supposed to complete it in over ten seconds. Lose 10% for each second under.
    Make sure you are in the right half of the lane if you are turning right, you should otherwise be running in the left half of the lane.
    When changing lanes, or position within lanes, you must slightly accelerate. Five percent if you don't and the examiner notices.
    If you didn't get the bike all the way down to first when you stopped, once you are stationary, you can put your right foot down, left foot up to shift, then left down and right back on brake before you proceed again. Five percent for this.

    Instant fails:
    If you knock over any cones at all, or even TOUCH one without knocking it over, you fail. Remember that crash guard is HUGE, leave lots of room and go slow.
    On the ippon bashi (raised strip) going off the strip or touching a foot is a fail.
    When you come to a stop, you must be fully behind the stop line. Best practice is to make sure you can see the whole line - stopping a meter behind the line is perfectly fine, if any part of your bike is over the line, you fail. Imagine the line is a wall.
    If your foot touches the ground at any time other than a stop, you fail.
    If you put your right foot down at a stop, you will fail - keep it over the brake.
    On the ladder run you must be visibly standing on your pegs, or you will fail. Rest your nuts over the gas cap. Seriously.
    Fail to signal before turning and fail.

    On rear straight, you must get over 45 kph and be in third, but do not exceed it by much, or you'll fail for speeding.
    On the emergency brake test, you must get up over 30kph and be in third, and it is acceptable to stall the bike when you power brake.
    When braking, always apply BOTH brakes.
    Easy way time your turn signals without counting is to apply turn signals as you leave the preceding intersection, make lane changes halfway through blocks.
    Slalom is designed for the bike to be in second.
    On the ippon bashi (raised strip) you are supposed to complete it in over ten seconds. Going off the strip or touching a foot is a fail, but going under ten seconds will NOT fail you - most riders go for 8-9. Way easier. Also, control your speed with the rear brake and half clutch it through while revving the piss out of it. It's not your bike, SMOKE that clutch out.

    BIGGEST tip:

    If you forget which way to go on the course, you can pull over (remember to signal and shoulder check!) and raise your hand - they'll tell you which way to go over the PA. There is NO penalty for this.
    Don't forget shoulder checks when you pull back on to the course, though!

  8. #8

    The best way to the oogata licence?

    That was very detailed and correct (from what I remember).
    One thing that is a bit weird is that you are supposed to ride very close to the left curb, less than half a meter. I failed once for coming out of the S bend and my turn at the exit took me too far from the curb, but still well within the lane.
    I would never ride close to the curb in real life, it would encourage cars to move up and occupy your road space. But the test is not real life. The test is set to determine if you have paid a school for lessons to teach you how to pass the test. The school instructors are ex cops.
    It's a scam.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by RedSquare View Post
    The school instructors are ex cops.
    Not true - none of my instructors were, and a couple of the instructors at the Koyama school are foreigners. I was tempted to take the instructor test myself, it's not much harder than regular oogata, and would make for a fun way to bring in a few extra shekels.

    The amakudari scam part of the schools is the "mandatory" textbooks. The ex-cops work in the publishing company, same one that provides the materials for your license renewal, which is their big moneymaker.

  10. #10
    エボリュション racer162's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012

    The best way to the oogata licence?

    Maybe the instructors are not but most of the driving center testers certainly are ex cops.

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