For the past 13 years in Japan, I’ve avoided buying a car for as long as possible… I’ve rented various vehicles in that time and even got a Japanese license, but have never needed a car before now. Now that my twin boys are over a year old and I’m going to move north outside where trains are common, I’ve decided to buy. In my research, I’ve discovered the buying process is a bit different from the States. In the US, I simply need the money or finance to get a car. The dealership doesn’t care about anything else. However, in Japan, it appears that I have some bureaucratic hoops to jump through before anyone will sell a car…

What is required to buy a car? 🔗

Aside from the funds to purchase a vehicle, what else is legally required?

  • Valid driver’s license 運転証明書
  • sales tax 自動車税
  • current (or new) shaken 車検
  • Place to park car (not really required for 田舎 when you own the house?) 車庫証明
  • Parking must be within 2km of primary registered residence
  • map of parking spot to show police at time of registration 書類
  • Proof of permission to use parking from owner/company of parking property 車庫証明書
  • name stamp 実印 + registered stamp proof 印鑑証明書
  • Jibaiseki hoken 自賠責保険
  • Additional insurance coverage strongly recommended
  • Snow tires for winter travel (especially in Hokkaido)
  • City residence certificate - from city hall (住民票記載事項証明書)
  • Required as the plates for the vehicle are issued by your local city hall 陸運局 (関東運輸局)
  • If buying from a person, then make sure the title is in their name (not the loan company)

Reference: 🔗