Automotive rental, trading and export – Japan

Buying a vehicle in Japan

Having a car in Japan can get you a lot further with your Japan experience, as well as provide cheaper, more convenient transportation, even in the main centers.

Buying a car in Japan, like so many other government related processes can really give you the run around, not too mention its all in a foreign language! Here at A-ret cars we will take all of the fees, processes and other frustrating paperwork off your hands, so all you have to do is hit the ‘enquire now‘ and take delivery of your vehicle!

If you are changing ownership privately, the following information will help make the process a lot simpler.

The costs of buying a car in Japan:

  • Shako shomei – Obtaining evidence of parking space (in the case that the vehicle is a white plate)
  • Meigihenkou – Changing ownership of the vehicle
  • May include the Recycling fee
  • May include a Shaken – Certificate of road worthiness
  • Jibaiseki hoken – Mandatory Insurance (part of the shaken)
  • May include Yearly Taxes

The buyer will need:

– Evidence of parking space 車庫証明 (Shako shomei – only needed for white plate vehicles) – Before a car can be transferred into your name, you must obtain the parking evidence from the local police. This can take a little time, so if you want to change ownership quickly, it is wise to do this prior to the vehicle hand over.  This involves 4 steps:

  1. First get authorization from your housing management company proving that you do have a space, stamped with their company or personal seal (hanko).
  2. Take the proof to the local police station
  3. The police will usually confirm that the parking space is valid by visiting it themselves.
  4. Return to the police and collect the certification and the sticker they give you which you should stick on your car.

– Registration of hanko certificate  (印鑑証明書 inkan shomeisho) –  from your local ward office.

– Hanko and some I.D.

– Jyuumin hyou 住民票 (residents certificate.)

The seller will need:

– Hanko – your personal name stamp, or a letter of attorney (委任状 – ininjou)
– Registration of hanko certificate  (印鑑証明書 inkan shomeisho) –  from your local ward office
– Car registration certificate (車検証 shakensho)
– “Proof of Payment of Automobile Tax” card (自動車税納付証明書 jidosha nofu shomeisho)
– Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance Certificate (自賠責保険証 jibaiseki hokensho)

– The Name change certificate (譲渡証明書)

Once all of the documents have been obtained, it is just a matter of going through the paperwork and submitting it to the local vehicle testing office.


subaru pleo nesta 2002


Kei car or regular size vehicle?

This all depends on what your needs are, or where you want to go!

Kei cars

The most fundamental of machines, designed and built to cut as many costs, in as many areas as possible. Recent models are becoming much better machines with more variety, however the extra options, popularity and cheap up-keep costs are driving the base cost of the kei cars up.

Pro’s: Cheap to service or repair, cheap taxes and shaken, efficient daily use vehicles, do not need to acquire ‘evidence of parking’ documentation, simple to drive and good on the narrow urban roads.

Con’s: Can be very unstable at higher speeds, only really fuel efficient around town, zero or few safety features, not hugely safe in extreme conditions (snow, wind), lack of room, sluggish with passengers.

Kei cars are probably a sensible choice for people driving short distances on a regular basis, for purposes like shopping and commuting short distances.

For any kind of regular lengthy driving, a full-sized vehicle is recommended for the points that the kei cars fall short on ie. driving long distances, safety, fuel efficiency, comfort and control.