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Thread: Temporary Motorcycle Import To Japan

  1. #1

    Default Temporary Motorcycle Import To Japan

    Getting to Japan

    Regardless of how you come, you need a carnet to get your bike into Japan. Customs should be easy with your carnet. However, you need to have the carnet verified by the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF). The phone number of the Tokyo office is 03-3578-4910 (81-3-578-4910 from outside Japan), and e-mail is You need to take the original Carnet to JAF, not a copy. Verification only takes about 10 minutes if you contact JAF in advance. They will have all the paperwork ready. Contact them before you come to Japan; sometimes they don't answer e-mail fast.
    Also, ask for a Japanese language copy of the laws on foreign vehicles in Japan, if you don't get it automatically. It is helpful in case you are ever stopped by the police--most don't know you can drive with a foreign license plate. You can print it out here (in Japanese) if you don't get a copy from JAF.
    You are required to have insurance in Japan. You can get this at any motorcycle shop. I think the minimum coverage is three months. Unfortunately, a small bike shop in a country town like Fushiki may not be very helpful (no English, never seen a foreign-registered bike)...
    If you ship the bike and fly to Japan, stop by JAF in person and get the paperwork done before going to pick up the bike. JAF offices that do this work are in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Fukuoka. See the web site for directions.
    If you come from Vladivostok, the Toyama JAF office will do the paperwork for you if you contact Tokyo beforehand and fax your carnet to them.
    Entering at Wakkanai from Sakhalin will require that you send the Carnet (not needed in Russia) to Tokyo for verification and then sent back to you. However, someone will have to appear in your behalf at JAF in person to do the paperwork.
    Unfortunately for German, French, and Swiss riders, you are not allowed to ride your bike without registering it. Nobody I know has got in trouble for it, as far as I know though. JAF will not give you a copy of the laws on foreign vehicles in Japan. Supposedly, international drivers licenses for those countries are also invalid in Japan. Something about not signing the same international treaty...
    All information is subject to change. Please let me know if you find situations have changed.
    Apexmoto Inc - Dyno tuning, engine/chassis/suspension upgrades, repairs, shaken, tires & changing with balancing, graphics printing, stickers, media blasting, painting & powder coating.

  2. #2



    Bikes imported for temporary personal use must also obtain minimum mandatory 3rd party vehicle insurance from Japanese broker; broker contact lists available from Carnet-issuing national auto clubs, or from JAF, International Affairs Dept, Att: Mikihiko Sugisaki, tel +81/3 3436 2811, fax +81/3 3436 3008, or fax +81/3 3578 4911,, or
    An excellent guidebook to Japan motorcyle touring is Guy de La Rupelle's Motorcycle Vagabonding in Japan, from Whitehorse Press, 800-531-1133,
    See also Owen Stinger (contributing author to Vagabonding)'s "Gaijin Bikers in Japan" website,; and the separate Gaijin Riders Forum, ( )
    Apexmoto Inc - Dyno tuning, engine/chassis/suspension upgrades, repairs, shaken, tires & changing with balancing, graphics printing, stickers, media blasting, painting & powder coating.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014


    In March / April 2014, John/Apexmoto figured out the details about importing and insuring a German registered motorcycle / Honda XRV 750 '1993. This thread is a good place to quote and save the results:

    "[..]The law is you cannot legally ride a German registered motorcycle in Japan. If you do you are breaking the law and accordingly accepting the risks/liability. If that is the type of RTW traveler you want to be that is fine, but i suggest respecting other who think differently.

    It is possible to register a bike in Japan, if you have a Japanese resident who will allow you to do in their name. It costs around $600 ( excluding any agent fees ) including Jibaiseki, and some of that, possibly up to $200 can be got back when the Jibaiseki is cancelled. This applies to older bikes only, like the Africa Twin ( 90's and earlier bikes ). Newer bikes require emissions, brake and noise tests and can cost up to $2000 due to the test costs. This would be a breach of the CDP, however, unless you tell someone, no one else here is likely to, as it is not their business and most like to see crazy RTW travelers. Further, if you did get the bike registered, i suspect the Japanese resident would require you buy Ninihoken, so that they were not liable for any accidents the bike was involved in.

    The police in Japan, generally do not know which countries bikes are legal and which are not. Asking them about it will change nothing, as they still will not know and not even know where to look.

    When people here mention insurance, it is Jibaiseki. Most foreigners in Japan do not consider it insurance and would not ride with it as their sole cover. This is what it does cover ( from Mike at Gaijinriders );

    1. Pays ZERO for property damage
    2. Pays only for the other party's injuries - not yours ( limited to $40K )
    3. They send you a bill for any payouts they make due to your accident
    ( for anything above the $40K and any property damage ).

    Most riders in Japan have Ninihoken and this covers property damage as well as other parties injuries to substantial amounts, depending on premium. It is only available to legally registered vehicles. A copy of a Japanese shaken ( registration paper is required ). My wife received her insurance license recently and inquired about Ninihoken for foreign registered motorcycles and was told it was not available, by Mitsui and Sompo. Ninihoken ranges in price from around 26,000 for around $150k cover to 43,000 for unlimited cover. [..]"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Temporary Motorcycle Import To Japan

    Great info people!!!!
    Getting to the Summit is Optional, Returning home is mandatory
    Life begins at 155mph

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