Residential street parking is not a common site in Japan. Though there are exceptions, parking the car in most urban areas around Japan requires a parking permit in order to legally register any given vehicle.
No parking certificate, no number plate
Whether purchasing new or used, each application to transfer the title of a vehicle requires a parking certificate, issued by the police in each local district.
The main reasons given for proof of parking is to give unrestricted access to emergency vehicles and ordinary road users. Owners of vehicles parked on the road for an extended period of time, are subject to a maximum fine of JPY200,000 and/or three penalty points on their license.
NB: Parking certificate not required for kei cars. Simple notification procedure to the local police station, where applicable, will suffice.
Points of caution
Another factor to remember when purchasing a vehicle is to make sure that said vehicle will fit the parking space. Most sellers will display the dimensions of each vehicle somewhere on the estimate, so it’s best to double-check first.
Unfortunately, we have heard of numerous stories where customers have only raised parking issues AFTER a vehicle has been purchased.