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Northern Asia Topics specific to Russia, Central Asia (also known as "the 'stans"), Mongolia, Japan and Korea
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  #1  
Old 4 Nov 2004
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Buying Bike in Japan?

A friend has suggested starting my RTW trip by flying to Japan, purchasing a bike there, and continuing west via Vladivostok. This would seem to have some appeal as it would save the cost and hassle of shipping the bike across one ocean (I would end the trip on the west coast of the US).

Does anyone have any information about a non-citizen of Japan purchasing and riding a bike there - the legalities, procedure, etc.?

Thanks for any info.

Mike
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  #2  
Old 5 Nov 2004
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To register a motorcycle in Japan (as a foreigner), you need to go through the alien nregistration process to have a legal address to register the bike in your name. Although not 100% positive, I think you can register your self even as a temporary visitor.

You will need an "international" license plate too (local ones use Japanese characters). You can apply for one throught the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF). You get the international registration form from your Land Transport Office (Rikuunkyoku) that is in charge of your vehicle registration.

To sum it up.
1. Register your self at city hall where you will have an address. At this time, get a Certification of Registered Matters (Toroku Genpyo Kisai Jiko Shomeisho). Document needed to prove your address.
2. Purchase motorcycle. The bike shop usually handles registration procedure for you.
3. Get international registration from Land Transport Office (Rikuunkyoku)
4. Get international license plate from JAF. This takes a couple weeks.
5. Have someone deregister the bike after you leave. Otherwise you (or whoever's address you are using will be billed for annual vehicles taxes).

Things will be a bit more difficult if you need a carnet...

I hope this helps you.
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Last edited by Chris in Tokyo; 1 May 2006 at 00:52.
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  #3  
Old 5 Nov 2004
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Thanks Chris, for all this very helpful info. The process seems quite complicated and I wonder how feasible it is for someone who neither reads nor speaks Japanese to negotiate their way through these steps? I don't suppose there would be any way to arrange for the international license plate in advance? Staying two weeks in one location isn't really possible for me given the overall time constraints for this trip.

I wouldn't need a carnet for Japan for a bike purchase there, would I? Japan is the only country on my proposed route that requires a carnet.

Thanks again, I'm very appreciative.


Mike
Idaho



[This message has been edited by liketoride2 (edited 05 November 2004).]
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  #4  
Old 6 Nov 2004
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You could go without the international license plate, I guess. The intl. registration certificate is in Japanese and English. I have heard of cars with arabic plates driven in Europe, so it can't be any different.
However, I wouldn't ride a bike to Russia without riding it around Japan first. You never know what you will discover on a new bike. You don't give up the original Japanese plates, so you are free to ride around Japan as much as you want.

You won't need a carnet as long as you don't bring the bike to a country that requires one.

[This message has been edited by Chris in Tokyo (edited 06 November 2004).]
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  #5  
Old 6 Nov 2004
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Thanks again, Chris. One last (I hope) question on this topic - do you happen to know if Kawasaki sells the KLR 650 and Suzuki the 650 V Strom in Japan? I know the Japanese manufacturers sell some bikes in the states that they do not market in Japan, and I was wondering if that was the case with these two models.

Mike
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  #6  
Old 6 Nov 2004
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KLR 650 and Suzuki the 650 V Strom are NOT available in Japan. Most of the big offroad bikes are imports (BMW, KTM).
You may find some reverse-imports (those registered abroad and imported to Japan), but they are fairly expensive.
Africa Twin is not being sold new now, but there are plenty used ones around.
There are plenty of 250cc bikes and a couple 400s.
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  #7  
Old 8 Nov 2004
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From the info you've provided, Chris, it doesn't appear buying a bike in Japan is a viable option. But thanks anyway for posting the info, I really apprciate it.

Mike
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  #8  
Old 21 Nov 2004
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I started a trip by flying to Tokyo and buying a second hand bike. This was ten years ago mind you. I loved shopping for second hand bikes in and around Tokyo. They are cheap, very low mileage and never ridden at speed and probably never off road.

The bad news is that they are never over 400cc (and if they are its because they are re-imported into Japan and that makes them quite expensive). Also getting them registered in Japan didnt appear easy to me, but the advice above looks pretty comprehensive.

As far as the lower CC'age of the Japanese bikes go, as has been written in several other posts, its only in western countries motorways that its an issue. In most countries conditions that allow you to do more than 100 km/h are rare anyway.

I have a small section in www.TokyotoLondon.com (under "equipment" on my buying secondhand bikes in Tokyo.
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  #9  
Old 23 Jan 2005
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still thinking of buying in Japan? de-register and export the bike to russia then register the bike there. large size offroaders can be got used for about 300,000-500,000JPY DR400 and DR600 are easy to get check out
www.goobikes.com in japanese but easy to get about with come basic japanese.
anybody need help or ideas for Japan send me a email Ive toured all over Japan on lots of different bikes!
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  #10  
Old 11 Mar 2005
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The URL above is wrong
http://www.goobike.com
"bike" not "bikes"

As for registering in Russia, I have heard from friends in Vladivostok that this has been done--but it is a bigger hassle than anything you could expect in Japan. At least the procedures are clear here.

I do stand corrected on the big offroader prices. I wasn't thinking of used bikes. Come to think of it, you may have an easier time finding someone who understands simple English at a place that handles reverse-imports as they do business with people abroad.

[This message has been edited by Chris in Tokyo (edited 11 March 2005).]
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  #11  
Old 11 Mar 2005
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Nooo! whatever you do, don't try to register a bike in Vladivostok. I was there for three weeks (a very fun three weeks, don't get me wrong) waiting for a DHL delivery of a CDI unit for my bike, but an Australian couple was there for OVER A MONTH waiting for registration to go through on a Japanese bike that they bought there that had already cleared customs and been registered before!

Buying/registering a bike in Japan is NOT as hard as Chris' steps may seem (Hi Chris! You rock!). Just like the carnet process for temp import of a bike into Japan, it sounds more complicated than it really is. The great thing about Japan is that even though a process may sound convulted, its like Chris says - at least the procedures are clear - and more importantly, no bribing, no self-important bureaucrats that show up to the office 3 times a week between the hours of 3 and 3:30 who without their all importat stamp the world is sure to come to end. Things tend to work in Japan.

If I were to do my trip again, and didn't care if I had to use soft panniers (Givi is available too), a Japanese small displacement bike, etc... I would definetly buy my bike and Japan and follow Chris' steps. The money savings will more than compensate the time you will need to spend in Tokyo to settle all this. Besides, Tokyo is well worth experiencing.


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  #12  
Old 14 Mar 2005
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Neat. I updated my website on Japanese license plates:

http://www.tigerdude.com/japan/license/export.html

that deals with the export versions. It makes sense that the JAF (equivalent of the AAA over here) handles some of these matters.

As for Japan, I'm off to it. I leave Wed, for 2.5 weeks, and I'll be renting a friend's motorscooter for about 10 days. It's only 50cc, but I figure a great way to see the countryside as I like to take things in slow. If I was on anything too big, I'd be riding too fast and missing everything. The only real worry is having my International Driver's License which was very easy to get.

Quote:
Originally posted by Chris in Tokyo:
To register a motorcycle in Japan (as a foreigner), you need to go through the alien nregistration process to have a legal address to register the bike in your name. Although not 100% positive, I think you can register your self even as a temporary visitor.

You will need an "international" license plate too (local ones use Japanese characters). You can apply for one throught the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF). You get the international registration form from your Land Transport Office (Rikuunkyoku) that is in charge of your vehicle registration.

To sum it up.
1. Register your self at city hall where you will have an address. At this time, get a Certification of…ARegistered…AMatters (Toroku Genpyo Kisai Jiko Shomeisho). Document needed to prove your address.
2. Purchase motorcycle. The bike shop usually handles registration procedure for you.
3. Get international registration from Land Transport Office (Rikuunkyoku)
4. Get international license plate from JAF. This takes a couple weeks.
5. Have someone deregister the bike after you leave. Otherwise you (or whoever's address you are using will be billed for annual vehicles taxes).

Things will be a bit more difficult if you need a carnet...

I hope this helps you.
[This message has been edited by Tigerboy (edited 13 March 2005).]

[This message has been edited by Tigerboy (edited 13 March 2005).]
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  #13  
Old 27 Apr 2006
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Has anybody recently successfully, as a foreigner, bought a bike in Japan and shipped it to Russia?

How did it go?

I'm keen buying a 400cc bike (DRZ or XR) in Japan and shipping it to Russia to the ride to Magedan and Mongolia and back to Europe. This would happen in 2007.

Cheers for any input,
ChrisB
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  #14  
Old 10 Feb 2009
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Just wanted to refresh this thread to see if anybody has bought a bike in Japan and been through the registration process.

Mick
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