With the acquisition of my Japanese Driver’s License, the next step, the purchasing of a car comes closer.
First thing I need to secure is a parking spot. Actually, to make procuring a parking spot more convenient, moving to an apartment with parking readily available for rent is the first step.
When I have acquired the papers that promise a parking spot. Which will cost me 26,250 yen per month ($313) where I live, then I should be on my final steps of purchasing a car.
That means as I’m in the process of renting my parking spot, I should be on the look out for a good second hand car.
There are heavy costs to pay before acquiring a car.
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Besides bringing a boatload of documents, I must be ready to pay an Automobile Acquisition Tax, which costs 5% of the car. So, if my car costs 500,000 yen ($6000). I will pay 25,000 yen ($300).
Next up is a weight tax known as an Automobile Tonnage Tax, the tax is based on your vehicles weight. The maximum they can charge you is 75,000 yen ($900), but if you own a Kei car, it will usually be below 50,000 yen. ($600)
Then you must pay to change the car’s name over, and that Name Change costs 3000 yen ($36) for a K-car and up to 25,000 yen ($300) for a normal car.
That’s what it costs to acquire a car, before paying for the parking! So for a normal car under 500,000 yen, it could cost up to $150,000 yen ($1800) on top of my car’s price or half that much for a Kei car.
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Then comes the SHAKEN.
The Shaken is a special Japan only type of car inspection. Other countries have emission testing, but Japan has the mandatory Shaken car inspection, to ensure you car is road safe and up to regulation.
It can cost as little as 70,000 yen ($850) for a Shaken all the way up to double that for a regular sized car, and even more for older cars. The Shaken is good for 2 years. There’s also a follow up inspection for cars older than 10 years. This inspection takes place every year, and costs about half the price of a regular Shaken to as little as $120.
So, every year for a car older than 10 years old, you will be paying at least $550 (for Shaken and follow up)/ year and up to $1500/year for a bigger car.
It will be over a grand for a K-car and about $3000 for a bigger car every 2 years. It will be cheaper if your car is newer, these are for 10 year old cars.
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Finally is insurance, which isn’t as expensive as some might think.
Insurance can start at about $360 per year and run up as high as $1000 for premium insurance.
The standard Automobile Tax runs as high as 20,000 yen ($240) for Kei cars, depending on the age, but is generally lower, and as cheap as $60. For bigger vehicles, the cost can run as high as 50,000 yen ($600), but is usually less, depending on the age.
Kei car’s yearly cost can be as low as $420 and big car’s yearly basic insurance can be as high as $960.
Based on these facts, to own a car like the Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R from 1999, you’d be forking out somewhere around $2500 USD/CAD a year, for insurance, tax, and Shaken, plus parking (almost $4000 in Nagoya City!) would be almost $6500. This is before toll costs and gasoline, maintenance and public parking away from home. The GT-R itself would probably cost around $20,000. With 5 years of driving or less in Japan, your taxes, Shaken, and insurance would have paid for another used R34 GT-R.
For a cheap, little, 10 year old, K-Car, the price could be half as much per year. An the initial purchase of the car could be around $3000.
So, the size of your pocket book makes the difference. You should be making at least $60,000 a year to live comfortably with an expensive car, or half that to maintain a K-car. Or just export your car to your home country, but where’s the fun in that?