Japanese used car buying Guides
Japanese Used Car Buying Guides

The Japanese used car since decades exporting millions of used and new vehicles around the Globe and still lacks complaints. In 2019, Japan became the 2nd monumental exporter of the world by exporting vehicles worth $103B worldwide. Japanese used for sales comes in a lot of varieties. Different designs, shapes, and prices are available in the auction, and it depends on what suits your budget.

Japanese Vehicles for Sale today can now easily compete with European and American manufacturers and their developed vehicles. As Japanese culture is more non-homogenous than others, only a few are unsatisfied with their service. Moreover, Toyota is the leading car brand in Japan with other brands like Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, etc. Toyota sold around 1.45 million vehicles becoming the most sold brand in 2020. Suzuki came in second place with 381 thousand cars sold- according to Statista.

In buying a used car, Japanese make it is crucial to buy the best car. For this, you have to know the best way to buy a Japanese used car. Before complaining about how you got scammed by exporters or sellers, the car was not like what you expected. You have to be aware of your responsibilities as a consumer, which you should take before buying a Japanese Used Car. 

Buying an exquisite and brand-new car is everyone’s dream. Still, you can buy a car with qualities like ease to operate, reliability, extensive, and attractiveness. 

There are a lot of Japanese Used Cars for Sale with all these abilities that you can buy in price which is 30-40% lesser than the Lavish new car.

Before buying a Japanese used car for sale, you must acknowledge yourself with some points, or else, your bucks might go in vain. Let’s check them out!

Why Buy a Japanese Used Car?

We can get the best Quality at a Lowest Price. Buying Japanese used cars is an excellent way to get reliable and affordable transportation.

There is no secret that buying a used car is much cheaper than buying a new car, which costs you less as you get out of the car park parking lot. If you want to avoid undervaluation but still want to get the best out of your money, then looking for a second-hand car from a reliable Japanese used car auction is the best option for you.

However, buying used cars in Japan may be a perfect idea because they offer vehicles at affordable prices and durability, performance, excellent engine, and better fuel efficiency. The Japanese market for used vehicles does not function like the other markets. Therefore, this type of buying is not like the usual buying process we are familiar with in America or other countries.

Why? For 1, a 2 or 3-year-old vehicle isn’t that different from a brand new car in performance and efficiency. 

Especially from the beginning, Japanese used cars are known for quality.

Plus, if you decide to go for older models, you may have more significant savings. Just review the auction sheets and compare different car models within a specific price range. And you will be able to get a great deal.

Mistakes to buying Japanese Used Cars 

Mistakes to buying Japanese Used Cars 
Mistakes to buying Japanese Used Cars 

Making a mistake buying a Japanese used car can cost you hundreds, even thousands of dollars unnecessarily. That doesn’t consider time and stress to make things right.

We Find some of the compiled mistakes that most “used car” buyers makes. If you know these mistakes, you can import Japanese used cars smoothly.

Not checking the vehicle history report.

This is a no-brainer when buying a used car exporter from Japan. You need to make sure that the vehicle never returns an accident, tsunami or odometer.

Is this a rental unit or a lease return? 

Sometimes buyers do not like rental cars but know that lease returns are preferred even at internal dealerships of Japanese used vehicles compared to trade-ins.

Most Japanese used car dealers make car history status reports available on any car they sell because they all are inspected. This also applies to all vehicles used in Japanese car auctions.

Not checking the vehicle inspection report.

If a used car is purchased from a Japanese car exporter in Japan, ask to see the inspection report of the car you want to buy. 

If they do not show it to you, you will have to choose between moving away from the contract and checking the vehicle’s condition with your help.

Do your Research about the trader companies?

The traders play a crucial role here. Exporters often can be frauds, so it’s indispensable to know about the company. When buying Japanese Used Cars for Sale, you should consider using well-developed companies for your purchase. Newbies might be a scam or unprofessional about the work, and you will lose a lot of energy in dealing with them. Companies that have experience of years are good to go with.

We always recommend choosing those trading companies that have been in this business artist for more than five years. Also, check their stocks to know whether they are an active seller or not.The more you research the car you are buying, the company and exporters dealing with your export, the more you will get to distinguish between real and fake companies.

  • Address: –You must address the present address of the company, where it is located on the google map.
  • Telephone Number: – Check the company’s landline number, whether fake or real.
  • Email Address: – Get a link to their official email address.
  • Registration: – The trader’s company must be registered and have a police verification certificate.
  • Membership with Japanese Auction houses: – Make sure to check if the trader company consulted with Japanese auction houses. Moreover, it is more suitable if the company is registered with JUMVIA (Japanese used Motor Vehicle Exporters Association)

You can check the ratings and reviews under the desired Japanese used car for sale, and you will see the positive and negative reviews that will tell you everything about this company.

White plate cars and Yellow plate cars

There are two types of cars and car plates in Japan – 

1. white plate and 

2. yellow plate 

Japanese White Car Plate

Japanese White plate cars
Japanese White plate cars

The white car plate is the one that we see worldwide. Those are spacious cars with good safety features. They are suitable for long-distance travel and highway travel at high speeds.

Japanese Yellow Car Plate

yellow plate cars japanese Cars 
yellow plate cars japanese Cars 

Yellow plate cars are small and relatively unsafe. They have an engine below 1000 cc capacity. Better known as K-cars, Their boot space is low and not suitable for long-distance travel. Also, their speed is lower and it is better to drive only around the city.

Inspections and Service History of Japanese Car:

If you want a secure buying, you should go with the Japanese Cars with a good service history because it will save a lot of time, money, and effort. When you have a complete account of the car, its maintenance, and repair documents, you will have peace of mind because you have all the required documents. The exporter company will provide you with every nitty-gritty detail of the car, or you must ask them.

There will be an inspection sheet, which along with the car. The inspection includes the grading number of the vehicle, which clarifies the vehicle’s condition.

It includes the following grading numbers: –

  1. S:- This grading number indicates that the vehicle is almost new.
  2. 6:– The car is in outstanding condition with no maintenance required.
  3. 5:– The car may have a few scratches or dents, but it is still in better condition.
  4. 4: – The car may require a little maintenance.
  5. 3: – There is a lot of maintenance required in the car.
  6. 2: – The companies do not prefer this grade because the vehicle is unsuitable.
  7. 1: – Damaged vehicle.

The above grading numbers ensure the condition of the Japanese used car for sale, which you will purchase. Interior, exterior, rust, and panel grading numbers are mentioned on the sheet. It’s better to contemplate these grades, as it is essential to know about them.

Watch Exclusions before Buying Japanese used car:

Before entering the transaction, you should know the agreements and risks you sign. Go through all the terms and conditions twice and look at what these conditions say in the highlighted part. It would be best to read all the cautions and alerts before getting your car from Japanese Used Cars for Sale.

Moreover, if you are a foreigner and don’t know the Japanese language, you can hire a translator to buy the car on your behalf of you.

Check for the hidden Taxes:

You should check the price and hidden costs that are included. It should not contain any additional cost because chances are you will get scammed, and if the prices are still for a long time, it is according to the law that the price will decrease. It’s your responsibility to check with the shelf packer if you are unsure about the price, and it is your right to ask for a lower price.

As for notice, there are no import taxes on Japanese used cars for sale, so it means you are only paying the car’s actual price. Moreover, there are certain things which you may be doubtful about. So, it’s good to communicate with your trader about your queries.

Avoid non-inspected Japanese Car. 

avoide non inspected japanese Cars 
avoide non inspected japanese Cars 

The cars in Japan are well-inspected. It is because of the strict government implied on the locals of Japan. The inspection is known as Shaken, and this inspection is pretty costly for the locals of Japan. Every Japanese used car for sale must go through it. That is why Japanese car owners sell it as early as they can.

Moreover, the locals of Japanese over-pamper their vehicles because of this inspection test. If any vehicle does not pass the inspection test, they won’t sell it at a reasonable price. The shaken inspection cost is approximately 100,00 YEN, which is a handy amount.

The shaken inspection certificate is important, as it lets us know how worthy the car is for you. As we mentioned above about the grading system of the vehicle, it comes under this category.

Check the Japanese Car stock prices:

Every exporter will be offering different price ranges. So, you should check the stock prices of every exporter providing you. Go to the website individually of each trader and compare the cost of every vehicle one by one. You’ll get to know which car is best for you. Moreover, Japanese used cars for sale are cost-effective and affordable, as we said above in our blog. So, the price won’t affect your pockets at all.

Japanese used cars were sold at 1.36 million YEN in 2020, and it was 1.44 million YEN in 2019 before the pandemic due to COVID 19. In that year, the used automobiles were sold at 500 thousand to 1 million YENS – According to Statista.

Why Japanese Use Car in High Demand?

Japanese Use Car in High Demand
Japanese Use Car in High Demand

Most car buyers prefer to import cars directly from Japan via the internet. And they buy high-quality cars at reasonable prices. Every car customer is aware of the cheaply used Japanese used cars worldwide. You will find Japanese used cars with complete accessories and necessary parts, enabling you to make profitable and hassle-free deals. Japanese used vehicles are sold in high-quality condition due to quality inspections in Japan. Most of these will look like a brand new car.

With the vast advantages of Japanese used cars, the question is, “how on earth do they come with lower prices?” That is, Japanese used cars are cheap and available in huge amounts. After purchasing a new car in Japan, their first inspection is good for the first three years. After this, they must have a second inspection every two years. That’s the main reason consumers in Japan prefer to purchase new cars compared to other consumers in the world. 

Japan wants to save costs and export Japanese used cars with strict inspections. The result is the vast number of Japanese used cars available in the country without the required number to purchase them. Japan has a massive car export industry with hundreds of car exporters operating. Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean are the leading market for Japanese used cars.

In your country, why do Japanese used cars come at low prices?

low price Japanese Used car
low price Japanese Used car

 Japanese people tend to purchase new vehicles frequently when new Japanese car models are launched in Japan. So that it carries their old but very well maintained, you can also check hundreds of quality Japanese cars at the lowest prices in stock. This is why Japanese car inventory gets doubled and enables them to export as many cars around the Globe.

Typically, it would be best to find a local agent who will give you access to Japanese car auctions. And select the car and settle for a bid. The agent identifies your bid, and you win the car. Also, you need an exporting company to send the car with all the necessary documents. And you have to pay the invoice and freight cost. 

At STC Japan, the process of buying a car is at your fingertips. We’ve already worked hard for you. You have to choose the vehicle of your choice, order online, pay by wire transfer, and send the car. It usually takes one month. Our professional sales staff will inform you about the status and necessary information at the time of shipment.

How can I pay for the car?

In Japan, initial car deposits are usually made via credit or debit card. The following monthly payments can be made by card or direct transfer.

If you plan to finance your car from your bank account back home, using Wise, you can get mid-market exchange rates and avoid huge international bank transfer fees. Many banks can advertise for a fee of 0 but will add markup at their recommended rate. With Wise, you can always be sure that you will get the actual rate – which you will find on Google – as well as just a fair fee, as mentioned earlier.

Additional Costs of Buying a Car

The prices you see on the cars at the dealership are only the basic price and the cost is tax. The additional costs involved are as follows:

Vehicle Registration

Vehicle registration involves your collecting relevant documents from the ward office. Submit to your landlord and local police station and vehicle registration office too.

Keep in mind that this process cannot be done in English and for each step of the process, you will need someone who can speak Japanese.

Vehicle Inspection

(Shaking) Shaking is a compulsory vehicle inspection in Japan. This is a fairly complete 60-point inspection. This includes a thorough investigation of safety equipment such as headlights and indicator lamps such as functional equipment and wheel alignment, breaks, suspension, speedometer. Mover over all parts is carefully checked.

This inspection is mandatory when registering a new vehicle. Three years after the purchase, it is in arrears again. And then, every two years, the lifetime of the car. The cost of the inspection includes any part that needs to be replaced. The average cost can be dropped anywhere from 100,000 JPY to 200,000 JPY.

Annual Vehicle Tax

This is a tax that has to be paid every year. The Costs Depending on the engine capacity, smaller cars have lower tax costs. You Expect to pay anywhere between 30,000 JPY and 85,000 JPY each year.

Weight Tax

When you get the car, get an Inspection certificate (shaken), the curb weight is listed on it. Weight tax is calculated always based on this weight of the car. The general range of weight taxes, depending on the size of the vehicle, ranges from 10,000 JPY to 80,000 JPY.

This tax applies when you buy a new car and then at the time of each shaken renewal. 

Reusable Certificate: The reusable certificate shows that the buyer has already paid for the disposal of the car when it’s no longer fit for driving. And the cost is based on the volume of components material used in the vehicle. The normal range is between 10,000 JPY and 50,000 JPY.


Certificate A reusable certificate shows that the buyer (means you)has already paid for the disposal of the car, when it is not completely fit for driving. Cost is based on the volume of components used in the vehicle. The general range is among 10,000 JPY and 50,000 JPY.


You need to buy compulsory liability insurance, which covers third party insurance in case of an accident. Purchasing an insurance policy is part of the shaking process and needs to be renewed when the shake is made for renewal.

However, this necessary insurance provides a very limited liability cover, and it is highly recommended to go for further insurance. While this is not essential, it is good to go for fully comprehensive insurance. When you buy a car from the dealer, most of the above paperwork is taken care of by someone at the dealership. So that, it saves you from a lot of trouble. 

Here is a list of documents you need to submit to a dealership to help them with the registration process:

  • Driving license (As described here).
  • Your Work Visa and Residence Card copy.
  • A recent and original Resident Certificate (Must be issued within 3 months from the ward office).
  • Inkan registration certificate (issued from the ward office).
  • Hanko (name stamp) registered by the ward office
  • As well Parking certificate (As described here).
  • Bank loan or a loan from a credit-card agency.
  • You must need a guarantor.

Low-Cost Japanese Used Cars

Fact: Compared to the brand new model, the price of a one-year-old car, no matter how perfect, is 27% lower. But As you are buying a used car, you want to look for every opportunity to save up on your purchase. 

As a guide, there are some of the most important tips below on how to choose high-quality vehicles on a budget:

  • Smaller engines are Cheaper Maintenance: Advance prices for cars with smaller engines are lower. In addition, smaller engines also burn less fuel, making them more economical, especially if you drive only around town.
  • Smaller Car has Cheap Insurance: Vehicles are ranked in groups from 1 to 50—the lower the ranking, the lower the insurance premium cost. Basically, small cars are cheaper to insure than big cars. So if passenger and cargo space is not your main concern, you may get smaller in your car.
  •  Car’s Co2 Emissions: Car models that cast high CO2 emissions are subject to higher road taxes. So if you want to benefit the environment and your pocket, look for a vehicle that produces less than 100 grams of CO2 / km.
  • Engines Run by Petrol are Cheaper: Although diesel-powered engines are affordable, petrol-powered cars are less expensive in advance and easier to maintain.
  • Manual Cars are More Cost-Efficient: If you don’t mind driving a car made with a manual transmission, it’s best to choose one instead of an automatic one.

What is the driving guideline in Japan?

The laws surrounding driving and transportation vary slightly from country to country. The following points will address some of what you must need to know about driving in Japan.

What driving laws should you be aware of?

driving laws Japanese used car
driving laws Japanese used car

The most important thing to keep in mind when driving in Japan. That is when the cars move on the left side of the road and the driver’s seat is on the right side of the car. At the same time, you may find this familiar to drivers from the UK and Australia. It can take some time to get used to drivers from the US and Europe.

In Japan, there is zero tolerance for drunk driving. 0.03% is the legal limit. However, if the police stop you, you can still get fined even if you do not cross the line. This can happen if the police decide that you are too intoxicated to drive safely. And if proved that you exceed the 0.03% limit, you could face up to 5 years in prison or a fine of about ¥ 1,000,000. They will probably confiscate your driver’s license.

Since before, Japan has been very community oriented. So that the other passengers in the car will also be fined and under the influence will be sued for helping and persuading the driver to get behind the wheel. So it is always best to avoid having any alcoholic beverages when you are driving.

What kind of driving licenses are accepted in Japan?

driving licence Japanese used car
driving licence Japanese used car

If you are from Belgium, France, Germany, Monaco, Sweden, Switzerland, or Taiwan, your driver’s licence was issued there. Then you can legally drive in Japan with your licence and an official copy translated into the Japanese language for up to a year. You can get this translated copy from the Japan Automobile Federation or your country’s embassy or consulate in Japan.

However, if your licence was issued in another country, you will likely need an International Driving Permit (IDP). Be sure to bring your license to Japan with your IDP, as IDP is not automatically valid and is not issued in Japan. You will need to get it ahead of time from your home country. Although your IDP’s expiration date may be more than 365 days, you will not be legally allowed to drive with it in Japan after one year. You will need to get a Japanese license or return to your country for 3 months, get a new IDP that can, and return to Japan.

What equipment is necessary to have your car in Japan?

To drive legally in Japan, you will need one single item: a warning smoking marker. However, if you are driving on the highway, you will want to add a warning triangle to that list.

In Japan How to Buy a New Car?

Since the top car manufacturers are Japanese companies, buying a new car in Japan is not too difficult. It can be a difficult process. But if you let yourself well informed and educated. Then it will be easy for you to successfully buy a new car in Japan.

Most expats do not prefer to buy a new car, though, because of the following reasons:

 – Lots of paperwork involved

– Language barrier

– Financing is difficult due to the lack of credit card history in Japan.

– A temporary residence might make buying a new car impractical.

Japanues Buying Car Guides

1. Get a start on the website. Since some car brands in Japan are available all over the world, many cars are unique in Asia. The buying process is hard to get started if you haven’t researched what’s out there, so some online research is a good platform to start.

2. Narrow it down into a couple of cars. Generally, going to a dealership will not be as convenient if you do not already have a car. For example, it is good to know in advance what you want. So you are not wasting a lot of time driving around and visiting different dealers.

3. Hire a translator or bring a fluent Japanese friend. Since someone at the dealership can probably speak a little English, buying a car is not a process you want to get lost in translation.

4. Pick a car and discuss. Usually, this will be done with tea. Not discussed at all is seen as very unusual in Japan.

5. Fill in the paperwork. Whenever you buy a used or new car in japan from a reputable dealer, the dealer will help you register your car.

6. Get your parking certificate. Without a parking certificate, you can’t bring your new car home – because all vehicles must have a registered parking space and roadside parking is prohibited.

7. Pay taxes and go!



The Japanese used cars have been worthy to almost every country globally. They are reliable, better performance, well-manufactured, designed, durable, and excellent road vehicles. 

They are environment-friendly cars, as well. Japanese exporters have made many contributions to the success of these cars. They are friendly and cooperate well with foreigners. Moreover, the condition details of the car are also provided along with the vehicle you are purchasing. Furthermore, they are online auction houses available as well. 

Everything matters when you are buying a Japanese-used car. The exporters have a lot of stock available, and you can choose any vehicle you like.

Japanese used cars have outgrown German, European, and American. It is due to their engineers and workers hard effort, especially the exporters. There is no doubt European have decent car durability and performance, but they are still some reasons why they are still behind Japanese used cars.

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