Normally I enjoy writing out DIY instructions for stuff like this in Japan. Unfortunately, parking space registration involves a large amount of dreadfully boring paperwork. Written out in duplicate.

Years ago, Dom wrote us a nice article about getting your residential parking space approved by your local Japanese police department. This is a necessary step in purchasing a car or changing the address on your 車検証 (shakenshou), an automobile registration document that basically functions as the equivalent of a car title in Japan.

Several months ago I moved to a new apartment, and as part of the move I decided to finally update the address on my shakenshou too. I say "decided" because although one technically needs to have a current address listed on the shakenshou at all times, a lot of people, Japanese people included, don't bother to update their addresses (or even their license plates, if they move out of prefecture) until their next vehicle inspection due date rolls around. This is because changing anything on a shakenshou is a large, time-consuming affair.

Anyway, I did it, and I thought it a nice opportunity to write a refresher for AccessJ and add some more details to our guide. Follow Dom's post for the flow of the process. Here I've simply included the names of the forms used during the application process (in Japanese) and the details needed on each form.

There are four pages to the 保管場所証明書 application.

The forms vary by prefecture, so you're best off going to your police station once beforehand and picking up the forms they want you to use. That said, the Tokyo Metro Police website provides good examples of all the forms I mention in this post.

Because many of the pages have to be written in duplicate, I recommend you get your forms directly from your local police station; the forms that the police station provides are on carbon paper, making it so you only have to actually write out each form once.

(jidousha hokan basho shoumei shinseisho)


2) 保管場所標章交付申請書
(hokan basho hyoushou koufu shinseisho)

These two forms look very similar to each other and contain almost the same information. They require information from your car's current shakenshou, so use that as a reference when filling it out. If you are purchasing a new vehicle, provide this form to the dealer to be filled out correctly.

The parts of the form are:

車名 (shamei): This is the make of the car. Toyota, Mazda, Ford, etc.
型式 (keishiki): This is the model number of the car. Don't write "Impreza" or "Accord"--the keishiki is a code (like "GH-CF3") assigned by the manufacturer to distinguish between the changes implemented across one model name.
車台番号 (shadai bangou): This is the serial number of your individual vehicle, called the "VIN" in the US.
Dimensions: When asked for dimensions of the car, you need to use the exact numbers in millimeters as specified in the shakenshou or from the dealer's spec sheet.

自動車の使用の本拠の位置: This is your address--the location of the owner of the vehicle.
自動車の保管場所の位置: This is the address of the parking space. If you park in front of your house or on the same plot of land as your apartment building, this should be identical to your home address (minus the building name and apartment number, if applicable). However, parking spaces aren't always so conveniently located in Japan. If you don't park in the same plot of land as your home, the address of your parking space will be different from that of your home. If you are renting the space, the address will be specified in your contract.
保管場所標章番号: This line is not necessary unless you are buying another car to replace an old one, and you want to keep the new car in the same place you kept your old car. In that case, write in the parking space registration number of the old car. It can normally be found on a registration sticker affixed to the back window of the car. (Also, if you're using the same parking space you've had validated once more, you don't need to include maps with your new application.)

DON'T fill in the date on these forms--do it at the police station when you are standing at the window actually submitting the application. If the form has the wrong date on it, you'll need to cross it out and stamp it with your inkan before correcting it, and if the form starts looking too messy with mistakes like this, you may be asked to write it all over again.

Finally, include your postal code, address, name, furigana, and phone number in the space provided and stamp the form with your (official) inkan.

3) MAP
(hokan basho no shozaizu , haichizu)

You don't need to provide these maps if you are re-using for a new vehicle a parking space you've already had registered with the local police.

Provide a picture of your immediate neighborhood with your home address and (if it differs) the address of your parking lot marked in pen on the map. You can print out a Google map, cut it, and affix it with a gluestick. You can also print out a Google map or copy a map from an atlas on A4 size paper and append it to the page. In that case, write 別紙 in this box

Provide a picture of the parking lot itself, including immediately adjacent buildings and roads. Clearly indicate with a shaded rectangle the location of your parking space. Write the dimensions of your parking space in meters and the width of the adjacent road in meters.

This map will usually have to be hand-drawn; however, some apartment buildings provide maps of the building parking lot to indicate parking spaces to new tenants. This style of map can be easily adapted for this purpose.

Here is an example of these two maps when hand-drawn.

(hokan basho shiyou kengen somei shiryou)

If you own the land you are parking on, you need to write out a form called the 自認書 (jininsho).

If you are renting the parking space, you need the 保管場所使用承諾証明書 (hokan basho shiyou shoudaku shoumeisho). In this case, the owner of the land (the person renting to you) is supposed to fill in and stamp this page at the bottom. You can fill it out yourself, but the inkan stamp must be from the rental agency/landowner. Don't make a mistake on this page. If you do, it's not your inkan but the landowner's inkan which needs to be stamped above the crossed-out mistake. I made a mistake on this form when I bought my first car and as a result had to bicycle (no car yet) across town to the real estate agent to have the form re-stamped. It's not the end of the world, but it can be quite a hassle.

The info on this form is:
保管場所の位置: The address of the place you'll park the car.
使用者: This is you. The "user" of the car should in principle be the same as the owner. Write your name, telephone number, etc.
使用期間: This is the length of time you've contracted the parking space. In practice, this must be a range of dates encompassing at least one full year. The date on which you submit the application must fall within this range. Usually you can just use the start and end date of your rental period.

In lieu of this form, which is the most troublesome in my opinion, some police stations have a policy in place to accept a copy of your parking space contract. It's a case-by-case thing; if you want to go this route, bring a copy of your contract and show it to the officer at the desk.

Two of the three times I have gone through this process, the police station has accepted color copies of my contracts rather than making me go to the landowner to get his inkan stamp. This saved me a bit of money; one of my former landlords wanted to charge me 4,000 yen for him to stamp the 保管場所使用承諾証明書. Another stated that I would need to pay at least six months' rent up front for him to stamp the form. At my first apartment, I was told by the landlord that he'd "take care of my 車庫証明 process" for the low, low price of 4,500 yen. I foot the bill and was handed the exact same piece of paper that you can get for free at the police station; the landlord had just filled it out and stamped it. I still had to fill out the same application pages and maps and take them down to the police station myself... so take landlord claims about 車庫証明 with a grain of salt.

After you submit all of these forms at the police station, they'll take a few days to drive by your place, look at the parking space in certain, then process your paperwork. You will probably be told a specific day on which to return. Return on that day during station business hours to pick up your processed application. If your application was successful, you'll receive a document (which you need to provide to the Land Transport Bureau in order to alter your shakenshou) and a sticker which goes on the back window of your car as evidence that it is associated with a legally registered parking space.

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