• 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)



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