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Importing car to Japan from UK for travel 2021/4/26 21:09
Hi,

Me and my Husband are planning to travel around Japan for 6 months in hopefully 2024. What we wanted to do was ship our small camper van from the UK to Japan, travel around Japan in it for 6 months and then ship it back when we are done. I am aware of the tests and checks the car must go through to be deemed legal and safe to drive in Japan, but I've heard that i would need a residency card in Japan to be able to bring the car into Japan in the first place. Obviously we will not have a residency card as we are simply traveling around the country on our extendable tourist Visas. Would anyone be able to shed any light on this for me if we do indeed need a residency card to able to bring our car to Japan for 6 months? Thanks in advanced.
by Kim (guest)  

Re: Importing car to Japan from UK for travel 2021/4/27 08:49
Even if you get past that issue. Auto electricals and/or gas fittings are difference and may need to converted before registration. So the process becomes cost prohibitive.
by H (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Importing car to Japan from UK for travel 2021/4/27 08:52
Doubtful you could get a roadworthy due to different auto electrical and/or gas fittings. Converting these and import costs would make the process cost prohibitive.
by H (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Importing car to Japan from UK for travel 2021/4/27 08:56
I don't know about a residency card specifically, but I do believe that to import a motor vehicle you need proof of a physical address in Japan. As a tourist you won't have this. I'll stand to be corrected here if I turn out to be wrong, but I looked into this a few years ago for someone with a similar query and that's what I remember.

My advice is to hire something instead, or change your plans (radically). Shipping a camper however small to the other side of the world then importing it, only to repeat the process six months later is not only going to be a huge headache but would probably also be insanely expensive.
by LIZ (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Importing car to Japan from UK for travel 2021/4/27 14:22
Also consider the time it takes for the van to actually arrive. When we moved to Japan a few years ago, we shipped all our removal. Per tge removal company shipment should take about 1 month. But in reality it took over 3 months, because tge container got stuck in some port along the way. Unless your travel is super flexible, such a delay could upset your plans quite considerably.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Importing car to Japan from UK for travel 2021/4/27 15:25
I believe you need to provide proof of a parking space to buy a vehicle in Japan, so presumably the same exists to import a vehicle (as parking is so limited). Without residency you wouldn't be able to do this.
by / (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Importing car to Japan from UK for travel 2021/4/28 07:27
I looked at moving a car back to Japan a few years ago. My current car (not in Japan) is a Japanese domestic model, and while the GPS would be horribly out of date (yes, my 1998 car has GPS), it would at least comply with local regulations. (It would be horribly expensive to insure as well.)
For my ex-wife's car, we got some quotes around 400,000 yen (GBP2,600) just for the transport (one way), but there were a ton of issues sending it, let alone receiving it here in Japan (probably Kawasaki).
Then there is the certification (and that cost) which you are aware of. There is no guarantee that the vehicle will be certified. Then what - you are stuck with something you can't use.
One other thing that leaps out about the OP, you do not get a 6 month visa. FYI you get the standard 90 day temporary permit (once the visa waiver programme is restarted) and then you apply for the extension once you are in Japan.
(Note 6) For nationals of those countries with visa exemptions permitting stays of up to 6 months under the bilateral visa exemption arrangements, those who wish to stay in Japan for more than 90 days are required to apply for an extension of the period of stay to the Ministry of Justice (Regional Immigration Bureau) before the period of permitted stay is to expire.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Importing car to Japan from UK for travel 2021/4/28 23:45
Thank you for the info on your experience. Though I dont know why that lept out to you as no where in my post did I say "6 month visa" I said "we will be travelling for 6 months on our extendable travel visas". Im well aware that the UK is one of 7 countries that have a visa exception agreement with Japan. Meaning they are issued with extendable 90 day visas and can stay for up to 6 months. And that if we want to stay longer than the extendable 90 day visa, we simply have to apply for an extension at an immigration office in Japan. I even emailed the Japanese embassy in London to double check that was still the case after we left the EU. The camper idea was what we would like to do, but obviously as we have never done this before, research and asking questions on forums like this is a good way to deem if it is possible or not.

We found a couple of options like Carnet de Passage for Japan, which is a type of vehicle passport. It acts as security for countries that you wonft sell or leave your vehicle in their country. Or a temporary import, where you can enter Japan using the Temporary Import form C5014. If Japan grants the import, you will be allowed to keep your vehicle in Japan for one year and will be exempted from import tax. But again, I couldn't find anything mentioning needing a residency card for either of these two options. That's why I thought I'd try asking in a few places to see if there was anyone who can shed some light on it.
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Importing car to Japan from UK for travel 2021/4/29 06:59
Though I dont know why that lept out to you as no where in my post did I say "6 month visa" I said "we will be travelling for 6 months on our extendable travel visas". Im well aware that the UK is one of 7 countries that have a visa exception agreement with Japan.
That is true, you did not explicitly say that in your post, but people often write one thing when they mean another. It is good you know about the process and have checked.
by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Importing car to Japan from UK for travel 2021/4/30 08:29
Kim, it sounds like there are more issues than just the Carnet de Passage. Based on what the replies have suggested, this would just be too much hassle, and incur large costs and a lot of time. It is a wonderful idea to travel around Japan in your own campervan, but may not be realistic. I would look into hire vans instead.
by / (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Importing car to Japan from UK for travel 2021/5/5 02:21
I was curious about this and did some searching, myself. Only examples I could find were those who traveled accross Asia in their vehicle and then ferried over to Japan from Russia, China, or South Korea. There seems to be an exception if you ferry your vehicle in to Japan. Maybe research shipping your vehicle to one of the other countries that run ferries to and from Japan.
by Taco Grande rate this post as useful

Re: Importing car to Japan from UK for travel 2021/5/5 22:35
Thank you for your reply. Yes I saw these as well, our original plan was to do an epic road trip from UK to Japan, however we decided that we would rather spend as much time in Japan as we could and not use a month or 2 driving there. We found many people who did overland races, road trips and so on in their custom made cars/campers. Some took their car on a ferry to Japan on their road trip, they are obviously not residents so there seems to be a way to do it. I just havent found anything concrete yet 😅. Well I've got 3 years to figure it out. Thank you for all the replies so far.
by Kim (guest) rate this post as useful

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