If there is one thing we have have covered fairly throughly here at Access J, it is the dreaded car inspection (shaken 車検) and various beauracratic and money related headaches associated with it.

Most of us know the shaken as a bi-annual headache. However, there are actually three varieties of shaken intervals: three years, two years, and one year.

How to Determine Shaken Length
The length of your shaken is based on your car's registered purpose of use. Below is a list of car types and their respective shaken periods
  • Regular Home Use Cars (jikayo jidosha 自家用自動車) and Light Vehicles (kei-jidosha軽自動車)
    • Purchased as new: 3 years
    • Regular intervals: 2 years (includes used cars)
  • Goods Transport Vehicle (kamotsu jidosha 貨物自動車)--8 tons and over
    • Purchased as new: 1 year
    • Regular intervals: 1 years (includes use cars)
  • Goods Transport Vehicle--under 8 tons
    • Purchased as new: 2 years
    • Regular intervals: 1 year
  • Bus and Taxis
    • Purchased as new: 1 year
    • Regular intervals: 1year
  • Passenger Use Rental Cars
    • Purchased as new: 2 years
    • Regular intervals: 1 year
  • Light Vehicles Used for Goods Transport (kei-kamotsu jidosha 軽貨物自動車)
    • Purchased as new: 2 years
    • Regular intervals: 2 years
  • Large/Regular Two Wheeled Vehicles (futsu ogata nirin jidosha 普通・大型二輪自動車)
    • Purchased as new: 2 years
    • Regular intervals: 2 years
How to Tell What Type of Car
The simplest answer to that is open your glove compartment and look at your inspection certificate. (shaken-sho 車検証). It should be listed under the category of "usage" (yoto 用途). It will be either marked off as "home use"(jika-yo 自家用) or "goods transport" (kamotsu-yo 貨物用).
The other way of telling if the vehicle in question is for passenger use or transport use is by looking at the license plate. Small cars will usually have a 3 number designation begining with a 4 or 6 while bigger vehicles will have a 1 designation. See LP's great post about license plates in Japan for more info on the subject.

Any care that is designated for carrying goods must have the total maximum load size clearly marked on the back of the car.

What Exacatly is a Goods Transport Vehicle?
Basically, a goods transport vehicle is any auto that is primarily used to carry non-living goods. This classification is a bit tricky as it is further broken down into business use cars (eigyo-yo 営業用) and personal use cars (jikayo 自家用). Transport vehicles can be anything from an 18-wheeler to a small mini-car.

Cars like the Toyota Probox might
look normal but they are actually
considered good carrying vehicles
in most cases
Only certain cars designated by the land transit office can be used as transport vehicles. In the case of non-lorry cars, these are usual micro vans (vans with yellow and black registration plates), mini-trucks, and small to mid sized wagons. Wagons can have rear passenger seats but they must be able to be folded down for carrying use.

If you are looking for new cars, make sure you know what type you are buying as many normal looking cars might actually be designated as good transport vehicle. Unless you need to be carrying stuff around then its generally a good idea to avoid having to get a shaken on a yearly basis. The only exceptions to this rule are light vehicles (kei-jidosha 軽自動車) designated for transport use, which are inspected every two years.

Have you had any experience with non-regular shaken vehicles? If so, let us know in the comments!

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