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Shipping a Car to Japan

Car Shipping to Japan Guide

Shipping Your Car to Japan? Car Shipping from the USA to Japan starts at a cost of $1,095 USD with an estimated turnaround time of 4-6 weeks, depending on the make and model of the car, the port of origin, and the method of shipment. Below, we explore everything you need to know about shipping your car to Japan in our 2024 guide.

Are you ready to get started shipping a car from the USA to Japan?

Request a free online quote – Quotes are available online with a guaranteed response within 24 hours for car shipping and moving services to Japan.

Please do not hesitate to call or email us anytime with any questions about car shipping to Japan. Contact our shipping experts for more information. We are always just a phone call away!

International & Domestic Coast-to-Coast

Want more information on car shipping services to Japan from the USA?

Read on below in our guide for our US to Japan Vehicle Shipping Checklist, Vehicle Import Options, US to Japan Car Shipping Costs & Time Frame, US to Japan Vehicle Shipping Options, Ports Served in the US & Japan, and other details on shipping a car to Japan.

Car Shipping to Japan: Checklist

Here’s a rough guide breaking down the process you’ll need to go through to ship your car to Japan.
  • As you start the shipping process, you should gather together all necessary vehicle documentation, including:

    • Sales Contract / Bill of Sale
    • Original Title of the Vehicle
    • Car registration

  • Careful planning and research at this early stage will ensure that the shipping process runs as smoothly as possible.
  • Before shipping your car to Japan, you should understand the costs associated with shipping a vehicle overseas, including:

    • Freight and insurance charges when shipping your car to Japan
    • Wharf, transport, storage and delivery charges after your vehicle arrives
    • Duties, taxes and fees
    • Cleaning the undercarriage of foreign soil
    • Registration and insurance requirements
    • Other charges such as import processing, customs brokers, and logistics service provider charges

  • Select an international car shipping company and preferred transport method to transport your motor vehicle from the United States to Japan
  • Determine your vehicle’s departure and destination ports
  • Confirm the vehicle’s undercarriage is clean and free of foreign soil

Detailed information on the process of shipping a car to Japan can be found here.

Online Quotes - Guaranteed Response within 24 Hours!

Quotes are available online for domestic and international vehicle shipping services. Depend on us for reliable and expedited vehicle relocation services - Our dedicated team of shipping specialists are always a phone call away to answer any questions you may have.

Vehicle Import Options

As you engage in the importation process of car shipping to Japan, some of the most important questions to consider include:

  • Whether you plan to permanently keep the car in Japan or if it’s just a temporary move (a year or less)
  • Whether you have been the owner of the car for at least 6 months
  • Whether you’re importing a new or used vehicle

These questions and more will determine whether your car is eligible for transport to Japan. Your actual tax rate is based on these details.

When shipping cars, you should never assume your international shipping scenario is the same as someone else’s. Importing classic cars or used cars may have eligibility requirements that differ from those for importing newer cars into Japan.

To obtain an estimate of the cost to ship a car to Japan, fill out our free quick quote form.

Vehicle Import Approval

When your shipped car arrives in Japan, it must be declared in Customs and will need to undergo a vehicle inspection to ensure that it meets all of the requirements of the Japanese standards.

You’ll need the following documentation as your vehicle passes through Customs:

  • Sales Contract / Bill of Sale
  • Registration certificate or any equivalent official document;
  • Invoice, if there has been a sale;
  • Import Declaration Form
  • Bill of Lading
  • Form of Identity, for example, Passport or Identity Card

Once your vehicle clears customs, you will be issued with a Customs Clearance Certificate.

Things to Consider

  • When you ship a vehicle to Japan, it must comply with the Japanese government’s strict regulations and technical requirements. Any vehicle parts that do not conform to the required standards must be fixed before using the car on Japanese roads. This testing process can take about a week.
  • To ship your vehicle to Japan, you must have a registered parking space in Japan.
  • Japanese law obliges any motor vehicle user to take out Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance. You must produce a certificate of insurance resulting from the obligation of automobile insurance.

Shipping a Car to Japan: Costs & Time Frame

Using a baseline of a compact car being shipped using the roll-on/roll-off method from the Port of Los Angeles to the Port of Yokohama, our estimate for Car Shipping from USA to Japan starts at a cost of $1,095 USD.

However, the actual cost to ship a vehicle to Japan can vary depending on factors such as the model and make of your vehicle, your current location, the nearest departure port in the USA, your shipping method of choice, availability of your chosen services, your destination port, and your final destination. Additionally, you’ll need to consider costs related to shipping cars such as storage, cleaning, other vendor fees, and Japanese taxes & duties, such as Japan’s value-added tax (VAT).

An estimated timeframe to ship a vehicle to Japan measures the duration of a port-to-port service. Typically, the timeframe to ship a vehicle to Japan from the USA will take between 4-6 weeks, depending on your port of departure, arrival, and method of service. This is provided all the required documents are submitted to us in a timely manner, the vehicle is prepared to depart and all other vehicles to fill the container have been secured.

To obtain an estimate of the cost to ship a car to Japan, fill out our free quick quote form.

Before car shipping to Japan from the United States, verify your vehicle’s specifications and compliance with Japanese requirements.

If you are shipping a vehicle to Japan from the United States, your car will be subject to local customs duties as well as a value-added tax or VAT. Import duty is payable at 10% of the price you paid for the vehicle plus the shipping cost. Meanwhile, VAT is calculated at 20% of the car’s value plus any additional fees.

The amount of taxes and import duties payable when shipping a car to Japan from the US will vary and depends on the details of your shipment. As the vehicle passes through customs, it will be assessed for automobile acquisition tax, which must be paid prior to clearing customs.

However, in certain circumstances, you might be able to gain exemption from paying Japanese customs duties and taxes.

  • If you bring your car or motorcycle into Japan temporarily (for less than 12 months), it can be imported into Japan without paying any duties or taxes. In this case, you must obtain a Carnet de Passages en Douane (CPD) from the vehicle’s country of origin. You must then contact the Japan Automobile Federation to have the CPD authorized. The authorized CPD is an important customs document and must be kept in the vehicle at all times.
  • Under certain conditions, a vehicle imported into Japan as part of an individual’s household goods will be exempt from duties and taxes. If this is the case, the vehicle must not be transferred to a third party within 2 years, or it will be subject to duty.

Online Quotes - Guaranteed Response within 24 Hours!

Quotes are available online for domestic and international vehicle shipping services. Depend on us for reliable and expedited vehicle relocation services - Our dedicated team of shipping specialists are always a phone call away to answer any questions you may have.

Shipping a Car to Japan: Options

Car Shipping from United States to Japan can be performed using a shared container, a sole container or a roll-on/roll-off service.


Roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) – Vehicles are loaded onto a ship that contains a cargo area built like a very big parking garage. This international car shipping option tends to be cheaper as other than the shipping charge, you are required to pay only port charges and customs clearance charges.

Transits tend to be faster than with the shared container service as the vessels depart on a weekly basis.


Shared container service – This method for car shipping to Japan requires multiple vehicles to be loaded into one shipping container. While there are more fees involved to ship a car from the USA to Japan with shared container service than with the roll-on/roll-off shipping method, due to the fact that the container must be processed, these charges are shared between the various clients who are using the container. Such fees include a trucking charge, terminal handling charge, customs clearance, and charge for unloading the vehicles at a bonded warehouse.

One disadvantage is that you might face a longer wait before your vehicle departs, as the container must have a full load before shipping to Japan.


Full container load – You have the added benefit of a fully enclosed container, just like our shared container service, but the 20 ft container is dedicated solely to your vehicle. Since there’s no wait for other cars to be loaded, you’ll enjoy a shorter wait before departure. However, additional terminal handling fees and other charges won’t be shared with other vehicle owners.

Our most selective customers prefer the high level of safety and expediency offered when shipping cars with dedicated container shipping. When your vehicle is received, we’ll photograph and document the vehicle’s condition as well as the loading process. Your vehicle will be loaded using our modern steel loading system, which is not only environmentally friendly, but doesn’t rely on outdated wood ramps and nails that other shipping companies use, which can damage your vehicle.

After your car is loaded onto your own private container, it is locked and secured. This will ensure no one gains access to your car before reaching its final destination. Since the vehicle is fully enclosed in a secure container, we invite our clients to pack and transport other items inside the vehicle. However, everything must be loaded securely, as we won’t be responsible for loss or damage of any kind.

Once your vehicle reaches its destination in Japan, our agent will unlock the container, document the vehicle’s condition, and photograph the entire unloading process. Every step of the shipping process is not only handled carefully but documented for your peace of mind.

Compared to our RoRo shipping option, enclosed container shipping is not only more secure when shipping to Japan, but much faster due to frequent departures each week.

Additional Services


Sourcing vehicles – Overseas clients who wish to buy a vehicle can turn to our long list of car buyers developed in our nearly thirty years in the auto industry, who can find and purchase vehicles for an additional fee or commission.


Other services – Some of the auto transport services we offer in overseas territories include domestic pickup, vehicle import assistance, tracking of your shipment, customs clearance in the USA and a full vehicle inspection report.

Ports Served in the US and Japan

Departure Ports – United States

The location your vehicle will depart from depends on the method of car shipping to Japan, where your vehicle is located, your budget, and which services the nearest port offers. We have multiple departure locations from which we can ship cars from the USA, including Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Miami, Savannah, and more.

Destination Ports – Japan

Here are the Japanese entry ports that we can ship your car to.

  • Yokohama
  • Tokyo
  • Nagoya
  • Osaka
  • Kobe
  • Kitakyushu
  • Hakata
  • Shimizu
  • Kawasaki
  • Chiba
  • Shimonoseki
  • Sendai
  • Yokkaichi
  • Ishinomaki
  • Naha

Cleaning Your Car of Biosecurity Concerns

Before shipping to Japan, the undercarriage of your car must be cleaned and free of foreign soil to prevent the introduction of invasive plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms. This can be accomplished through steam cleaning or other thorough cleaning methods.

CFR Classic can assist with finding an appropriate cleaner to help ensure you comply with this requirement before car shipping to Japan. We do not recommend washing the interior of the vehicle as it can cause mold during transport. Vacuuming the interior is usually more than sufficient prior to car transport.

Plating Your Vehicle in Japan

After clearing customs, your vehicle must be registered at a Land Transport Bureau Office, allowing you to obtain a car registration certificate for the vehicle. Your vehicle must be registered within 3 months of undergoing a preliminary inspection test.

To register your vehicle, you will require the following documentation:

  • Customs Declaration Form
  • Registration Form
  • Registration Fee
  • Inspection Certificate
  • Emissions Test Certificate
  • Proof of Insurance
  • Parking Space Certification

In order to drive your vehicle on Japanese roads, you will need to be issued with national number plates, which can only be provided once the car has been registered. Temporary number plates can be issued to allow vehicle transportation to a testing center or Land Transport Bureau Office.

Other Japan/US Shipping Options

This information was updated in January 2024. All information, time frames, pricing, and regulations are subject to change. Please contact a sales representative for the most current rates and information.

Online Quotes - Guaranteed Response within 24 Hours!

Quotes are available online for domestic and international vehicle shipping services. Depend on us for reliable and expedited vehicle relocation services - Our dedicated team of shipping specialists are always a phone call away to answer any questions you may have.

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