Importing your own car to Japan can be both a costly and time-consuming process and many choose not to import a vehicle for this very reason.There are a variety of documents and materials that need to be prepared to successfully import and register your vehicle in Japan including:

  • The original bill of lading
  • The car’s purchase invoice and receipt
  • The invoice for shipping
  • Registration
  • Unaccompanied baggage form, which is part of the customs form handed to all passengers on the airplane prior to arrival (See A-CROSS below)
  • Customs declaration for Narita Airport’s Customs Authority
  • A letter of employment verifying the terms of your work in Japan along with your company name and address
  • A statement indicating whether you are living alone or with family
  • A notarized signature with a Japanese address
  • Your passport

Cars that are six months old or older can be imported tax free but require a Japanese government formality called a “Model Approval” of roughly US$2,000, and a charge of 5% of the depreciated value of the car.

Finally, as Japanese emissions standards are different than those applied in some other countries, a fuel and emissions test will be required before the vehicle is deemed street legal. Should the vehicle not pass the required standards, some modifications will need to be made before the car will be allowed on the road.

A shipping company that specializes in car importation will be able to complete all of the formalities and walk you through the entire process.

  • Auto Direct ( offers both import and export of vehicles from and to a variety of countries around the world
  • A-CROSS Corporation provides vehicle shipping, among other services and shows an example of a completed unaccompanied baggage form on their Web site at

For more information on Japan’s customs regulations, please visit their English-language Web site at: