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Thread: Buying a Car in Japan

  1. #1

    Default Buying a Car in Japan

    Hey everyone!

    I'm a short-lister from Nashville, and I have a question. I was placed in a pretty rural area (40 minute drive to the nearest train station), so I'm assuming that I'll need some sort of vehicle. My predecessor offered to sell me his for cheap, but it's manual, and I've never driven manual in my life. I was thinking about finding something more automatic, but that means that I'll need to track down the car on my own.

    Does anyone have experience with buying/renting a car in Japan? How much should I expect to pay? What do I need to look out for?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Buying a Car in Japan

    Learn how to drive manual now.

  3. #3
    Ghost of Ecru SomePeopleJustSaySnow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying a Car in Japan

    Seriously- manual. If you ever want to drive a car outside of your own country, learn manual. Gives you a whole lot of options - such as the option of not walking.
    Last edited by SomePeopleJustSaySnow; June 17th, 2014 at 07:55.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Buying a Car in Japan

    If you want to learn to drive a manual, get on it early, cause you'll need the MT endorsement on your license and take the MT test (unless your from one of the 'lucky' countries.) Once you're comfortable driving manual, start trying for the license test as quickly as possible.

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    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying a Car in Japan

    I'm all for learning to drive stick. Your pred's car, though, may or may not actually be a good deal, and you may want to ask a few questions of him before you go agreeing to buy it.

    How old is the car? If it's more than 10-15 years old, it's probably completely worthless unless it's a rare or special car. It's probably a piece of sh*t 1997 Suzuki Alto, tho, in which case it's worth about as much as the soft-boiled egg I'm about to eat.

    How much shakken is left on the car? Just been renewed? Then, if the car is the previously-mentioned 1997 Suzuki POS, it's worth a chunk of the shakken, maybe 5-6man. Maybe.

    That assumes, of course, that tires are good, no major problems, etc.

    Your pred's probably not out to rip you off, but he might be making some goofy assumptions regarding the worth of the car.

    Also, just as in the US, fewer than 10% of the vehicles sold here are MT cars (I think it's actually like 3%), so don't worry too much; you'll be able to find an AT without too much trouble, I'm sure.
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    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying a Car in Japan

    manual? did I fall asleep and wake up in 1985? any half decent car these days will have an auto box with paddle shift.

    anyway, buying a car.

    go to car dealer. pick which car you want. dealer will give you a list of paperwork to assemble. go to city hall and get said paper work (and depending on you areas local rules you will probably need to go to the police to get your parking space certified) take paperwork to car dealer. give him some money. wait a week or so. car dealer will either deliver the car to you or you go pick it up.
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

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    Ghost of Ecru SomePeopleJustSaySnow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying a Car in Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    ... any half decent car...
    Problem identified.
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    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying a Car in Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by Cbill1 View Post
    Does anyone have experience with buying/renting a car in Japan? How much should I expect to pay? What do I need to look out for?
    Unless you're absolutely certain you'll only be here for a year, I don't recommend renting - I had a lot of issues with it. It was 20,000 yen per month (which included insurance), but the car was worthless and kept breaking down (funny enough, it was a actually one of the very same 1997 Suzuki Altos word mentioned ...) and in the end I would have saved myself money if I had just bought a car when I got here. You can usually get a used car with 1-2 years of inspection and snow tires included for about 25,000 yen, give or take a few man. I would talk to your coworkers and ask for their recommendations as to where the best dealerships are. If you're required to buy a car the BOE will help you with it, but otherwise they might just hem and haw if you ask for help.

    I don't drive manual either, and like word said, your pred's car might not be worth it; I would just tell him no and plan to buy one when you get here.

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    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying a Car in Japan

    25000 for a car with shaken and snow tyres??? I think you might of missed a few zeros off the end of that....
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  10. #10
    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying a Car in Japan

    Derp. 250,000
    Last edited by therealwindycity; June 17th, 2014 at 09:21.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Buying a Car in Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by therealwindycity View Post
    Unless you're absolutely certain you'll only be here for a year, I don't recommend renting - I had a lot of issues with it. It was 20,000 yen per month (which included insurance), but the car was worthless and kept breaking down (funny enough, it was a actually one of the very same 1997 Suzuki Altos word mentioned ...) and in the end I would have saved myself money if I had just bought a car when I got here. You can usually get a used car with 1-2 years of inspection and snow tires included for about 25,000 yen, give or take a few man. I would talk to your coworkers and ask for their recommendations as to where the best dealerships are. If you're required to buy a car the BOE will help you with it, but otherwise they might just hem and haw if you ask for help.

    I don't drive manual either, and like word said, your pred's car might not be worth it; I would just tell him no and plan to buy one when you get here.
    Given how expensive shaken and general repairs are, buying an old Alto will only turn out cheaper than renting if he gets lucky. All it takes is one heavy shaken and a faulty aircon to double that 25 man.

    No stress with contract renting either. Courtesy car, all problems fixed free of charge no matter how large or small, breakdown coverage etc etc.

  12. #12
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying a Car in Japan

    i dont know why you were paying 2man a month to rent an old car. cant you get new ones for that kind of money and after a few years you have the option to buy.
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Buying a Car in Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by mrcharisma View Post
    Given how expensive shaken and general repairs are, buying an old Alto will only turn out cheaper than renting if he gets lucky. All it takes is one heavy shaken and a faulty aircon to double that 25 man.

    No stress with contract renting either. Courtesy car, all problems fixed free of charge no matter how large or small, breakdown coverage etc etc.
    I guess now is a good time to mention that my 1997 Suzuki Wagon R's AC went out this week.

  14. #14
    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying a Car in Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    i dont know why you were paying 2man a month to rent an old car. cant you get new ones for that kind of money and after a few years you have the option to buy.
    Precisely.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Buying a Car in Japan

    Use goo-net or some other search engine, find a car you like, done. I paid 17man for my 2001ish Move. It had a year of shaken left, but no snow tires. There are definitely cars out there for under 20man that are in far better condition than the usual ALT special. Don't bother with your pred's car unless it's fairly new or a white plate.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Buying a Car in Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by coop52 View Post
    Use goo-net or some other search engine, find a car you like, done. I paid 17man for my 2001ish Move. It had a year of shaken left, but no snow tires. There are definitely cars out there for under 20man that are in far better condition than the usual ALT special. Don't bother with your pred's car unless it's fairly new or a white plate.
    If it isn't free or doesn't have a bunch of shaken left, it isn't worth the hassle. Heck, even if its free, it's likely to be beat to shit and not maintained/cleaned frequently, as well as being a super cheap (when it was new) POS without basic amenities, and most of those are likely to be broken. (For example, my car's stereo is 90% function-less - the tape deck is broken and the radio picks up on station on a good clear day, as well as there only being one functional speaker in the car. The fabric seats are dirty and worn and the carpet is full of holes (covered by mats.) The paint is patchy and scratched up from where predecessors had backed into/scraped and repainted the area themselves.)

    Unfortunately, my shaken will run out in March before I leave - so my successor won't get a free car (there is no way I'm paying for shaken again - I'll send it to the wreckers and rent a car if I must.) I can deal without having a stereo/radio in the car, and non-functional AC - but I wouldn't foist it off on a new JET. Sure, they'll end up paying a month's salary to get a car, but at least they'll get one that they want (if they want one.)

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    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying a Car in Japan

    If I'd arrived in Japan knowing what I know now, I would've just bought a brand-new car from a dealer. It probably would've saved me money in the long run. If you're likely only to stay one year, rental of a decent newish car is probably a good option. If you wanna stay 5+ years, just save yourself a lot of hassle and money and get something good that will last you a long time.
    Quote Originally Posted by 00Bear00 View Post
    When I read your post I suddenly feel like I am so far away from being crazy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ananasboat View Post
    It's festivals days like these on which I really try really hard to make up for not partying in college.
    yeah, because who needs free flowing drugs and alcohol fueling adventorous sex with taut, lithe young bodies when you could wander around a dying town in the freezing cold with a can of asahi super dry in your hand while some toothless old farmer shouts at you.

  18. #18
    keepin' it real ihatefall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying a Car in Japan

    A/C isn't that hard to fix.

    Learn to drive a stick, you'll get more HP out of the engine. Its better on gas, better for climbing hills, etc.
    If the OP is a girl, she'll learn in no time. If the OP is a guy, well you should already know and should be ashamed of yourself.
    Everything I have ever said was a lie, and that's the truth.

  19. #19
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Buying a Car in Japan

    I know a few ALTs around here who rent for winter months from a local dealer. 2man/month, 5 month rent.
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Buying a Car in Japan

    My pred has offered to sell me their car for around 20man. Although the prospect of having a car as soon as I get to Japan is really tempting, I really have no idea if it is a good deal or not. It's a 10+ year old car with a fair amount of km on it so I'm rather cautious.

    What do you guys think? I'm willing to pay some sort of premium for getting the whole car shopping process taken care of before I arrive, but I don't want to get completely ripped off either.

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