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Shipping a car to Japan seems like a complicated undertaking. However, it's not nearly as difficult as you'd think. One of the most challenging parts of the process is deciding how you intend to ship your car. You will also need to present pertinent documents to the shoppers and have copies available for their arrival. You could, of course, try to ship your car to Japan without help. However, you're likely to encounter a few things you might not have planned for. Before you start shipping your car, what method are you planning to use? Is there anything that you should be aware of before sending your car overseas to Japan?
Several companies offer shipping from the US to Japan, but a few things make a company stand out as one you should choose. The company you decide to assign with the task should:
When you're checking out the company's credentials, these points might not be immediately apparent, so you may have to call them directly and broach the subject. If a company is being evasive about its status, you may want to cross them off the list. Once you've got a shortlist, head online and read some reviews, so you aren't caught by surprise. Some companies look great on paper until you read about their customer service stories.
You'll need documents showing that you own your vehicle. This stipulation is supposed to prevent individuals from shipping stolen cars out of the country. You will also need export documents to get your vehicle on the sea over to Japan. You will need to submit your documents at least 72 hours before departure at the US Port of Entry that you will be sailing from. The papers required will include:
If your car is still being paid off, or you have other encumbrances on your vehicle, you'll need a letter from the bank or financial organization that has the lien. This letter should contain the make, model, and preferably the registration number for the car.
When you're going to Japan, you'll also need to get a few documents together to ensure that you can retrieve your car at the Japanese port of entry. Japanese customs require that you submit a document to verify the particulars of the vehicle. Once the vehicle lands, it must be taken to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLITT) testing center for emissions. Japan has strict emissions laws, and a vehicle must be approved before being used on the roads. Finally, the vehicle needs to be registered with the authorities. Registration fees will also need to be paid at this juncture. Cars will also need a national number plate before they are considered roadworthy. A vehicle cannot have a Japanese national number plate until you've passed inspection and completed the registration process. Finally, each vehicle in Japan needs a parking space certificate to allow the owner a parking spot. It usually takes a week for a parking space certificate to be granted. Driving and owning a car in Japan is different from the US. Their vehicles are right-hand drives, meaning that the steering wheels are located on the other side of the car from what Americans are used to. While you can drive an American-made left-hand-drive vehicle, it needs to be marked appropriately when on the roads. To claim your car in Japan, you will need the following documents:
Once again, these precautions are supposed to deter the import of stolen vehicles from overseas into Japan.
Vehicles can be transported in one of two ways:
Container shipping tends to be more expensive than open-air roll-on-roll-off shipping options. Before the car is loaded onto the ship for transport, an owner must ensure a few things. To begin with, the vehicle's alarm systems should be switched off or deactivated. This precaution ensures that the alarm won't accidentally go off while the car is being shipped. In such a case, there may be no way to turn off the alarm, and it may drain the battery flat. You should also remove all personal effects from the vehicle and any loose items that may typically be held in the car. There's no telling how rough seas can get while the car is being shipped. This precaution ensures that there you don't accidentally lose your items in transit. You can leave items that may be of use to get the car moving, such as jumper cables or tools, but they should be secured inside the vehicle. Finally, you should ensure that you don't have a lot of gas in the car. Some shipping companies would advise that you have less than a quarter tank since the gas may add weight to the vehicle. Customs agents will go over the car in detail to ensure that you're not bringing any contraband or invasive species to Japan.
The departure costs for shipping a car to Japan include paying for the vehicle's weight and the fuel for shipping. Shipping companies may also attach other expenses to the initial estimate they offer a client. Among those additional costs are:
Final shipping costs may be anywhere between $2,300 to $4,400, depending on your source port and destination in Japan.
A-1 Auto Transport has been dealing with both temporary and permanent shipping of vehicles over to Japan. Our experience in dealing with Japanese customs and registration is second to none. If you want your car in Japan and would prefer to have a professional company to guide you, give us a call today for a quote. We'll look at all the options available and offer you a solution that suits your time and money constraints. Call us now - the sooner we get a heads-up that you're moving, the better we can plan for your car's journey.
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.
Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.
And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.
The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.
When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.
The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.
They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?
So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!
If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.
I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!
The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!
There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.
After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.
Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.
By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.
We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!
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