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Is it worth bringing my car..?

Should I do everything to bring my pride & joy with me?

  • Do it!

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Haarrrllll

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Hi guys and girls of jref, I'll be moving to Japan for a year in October and I'd love to bring my 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX back to where it was built. It's UK registered car and I'd rather have it with me than have it under a cover for a year.

I can find out prices for transporting the car to and from Japan but I'd like to know other peoples experiences with trying to register, tax and insure "imported" cars in Japan. I will be 24/25 during my stay which will also affect insurance prices. Or is it not worth it simply because the traffic is too bad and the public transport is too good..?

Thanks for any help you can give!
 

Mike Cash

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Where will you be in Japan? What will you be doing and how much free time do you expect to have?

Talk to John Gavin at Apexmoto Inc for some informed assistance on the cost, procedures, and feasibility. They're a motorcycle shop, but he also has experience doing personal import/export of automobiles as well and can give you the information and assistance you need.
 
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Haarrrllll

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I will spend October to March in Niseko, working in ski chalets. Once the snow melts, I will travel through Japan for a few months and find work elsewhere. I don't anticipate I'll have alot of free time whilst in Niseko but who knows afterward. Thanks for the contact.

Regarding your first reply; buying a WRX in the first place was silly and immature! And it's the best thing I have ever bought!
 

Mike Cash

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The reason I asked where you will be is that there is a world of difference between whether a car is a necessity or a millstone around your neck depending on where you live in Japan. Abroad, the country enjoys a reputation for fantastic public transportation but when you get here you learn that public transportation varies tremendously depending on locale.

So you'll be on Working Holiday, then?
 

Glenski

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Keep your car at home. I live in Hokkaido.
I will spend October to March in Niseko, working in ski chalets.
And just where do you plan to store your car then? It'll probably be more expensive than doing so back home (include storage costs to your shipping, plus insurance).

Once the snow melts, I will travel through Japan for a few months and find work elsewhere.
The snow in the lowlands in Hokkaido doesn't "melt" until late April. We had two snowstorms during that month, by the way, just so show how unpredictable it can be.

I presume you're going to have a working holiday visa for the ski resort work. Is that how you plan to continue for the second 6 months that you're allowed? You don't need a car to drive around the country just to find work anyway. Plus, where is "elsewhere"? Hokkaido or one of the other major islands? You're going to need an international drivers permit (another cost) to drive here for the first 12 months, I think. Driving in Japan involves tollway costs, too, unless you want to crawl along on secondary roads for free.

I don't know the cost of fuel where you're from. I consider it fairly high in Japan (125 yen/liter currently, at the cheapest).

If you plan to cruise around Hokkaido, keep in mind that the drivers up here have the worst driving record in the country. Your little jewel might be at greater risk than you think.
 

Petaris

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I would suggest you keep it at home, it will be much cheaper to pay for public transport options. If you think you will need/want to drive then get the international drivers license as Glenski mentioned and just rent a car the couple of times you need one.
 

Haarrrllll

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The reason I asked where you will be is that there is a world of difference between whether a car is a necessity or a millstone around your neck depending on where you live in Japan. Abroad, the country enjoys a reputation for fantastic public transportation but when you get here you learn that public transportation varies tremendously depending on locale.

So you'll be on Working Holiday, then?
Yeah, working holiday. I'll work out how to get hold of a car over there I think. Hopefully insurance isn't too bad!
 

Mike Cash

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Have you considered a motorcycle or scooter?

Note that it would be much to your benefit to get licensed more than three months before you set foot outside the country where you are licensed, in the event you end up staying beyond what an IDP would cover. And don't forget to obtain your IDP.
 
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