What's new

Registering bike brought to Japan from overseas


Jun 14, 2009
Just have a question about registering a bike in Japan, and was wondering if anyone could help.
i plan to bring a bike into Japan this summer (a folding mountain bike, in my luggage), but just realised bikes in Japan have to registered with the police. However, it seems this might be a bit difficult, since the receipt for the bike will be from a shop in Canada. anyone have similar experiences? can i expect problems trying to register this bike with the cops in Japan?
You can if you want to at any local bike shop but I think no one on this site would register their bikes. Just bring a copy of the receipt if you are worried about the cops being a PITA. That and a lock should see you right.
Asked my local koban when I first got my bike but they told me to go to the main police station. I didn't bother in the end.
I wouldn't bother with the registration either.

My wife paid for the registration when she bought here mama-chari at the local bike shop. I think is cost 500 yen. The idea being that the police can track down the bike and return it if it is ever stolen.

As alluded to above, I think after paying a pretty penny for a nice ride many people on this site are probably more worried about the sticker ruining the paint job or frame color scheme!

I'm not actually sure if you can get a "fix-it ticket" in Japan if you don't have one, but I once saw an Omawarisan giving a poor lady on a mama chari a bad time for not having the stupid sticker.:eek:uch: Maybe he was having a slow day!:)
Wanted to ask this same question, so decided to resurrect this old thread instead of starting a new one.

With the latest police crack downs, does everyone still recommend not registering your imported bike/frame?

I brought my cannondale with me in a shipping container so the only receipt would be a shipping container invoice (if I can still find it).
I am less worried about it being stolen (I use a good lock), but more worried that the cops might see this un-registered cycle locked up and decide they need to impound it.
And if I would want to get that sticker, how would I go about it?
While in pedestrian clothing, I used to be constantly stopped and asked to show the registration sticker.

Since switching to cycling specific wear, I have not been stopped for registration check. I pass through these checkpoints regularly. They seem to be profiling people that are most likely to have stolen a bicycle. Younger males on the sidewalk seem to be the ones mainly stopped. I've been stopped on occasions but those were mostly the police advising caution.

If you do want to register, most bicycle shops will do this for 500 JPY. You need to provide proof, in a form of a receipt or similar, that you really do own the bicycle. It's a matter of convincing the shop owner that the shipping container invoice is sufficient evidence.

Personally, my bicycle is not registered and I would not bother. The bicycle is very unlikely to be ever impounded and unlikely to be recovered if stolen. I'm pretty comfortable dealing with any harassment from the police. My understanding is that registration is optional.
None of my bikes are registered as they are either from the UK , or I've built them myself.

I've been stopped a few times (never in cycling gear like Jack says!) and always explain my situation in Japanese. I finish my spiel with a question to the officer about how I should go about registering a self built bike with second hand parts / bike from the UK. The officers are totally clueless and quite sympathetic in my experience.

As the police have no advice, I have any intention of registering the bikes; a waste of time in my opinion!
Last edited:
Pretty sure you would have a tough time convincing the bike shops to give you a sticker. They have all the risk and nothing to gain as after all; you may have stolen it.
My understanding is that registration is optional.
Registration is compulsory. But there is no penalty to the owner for not registering. It is also an offense punishable by a fine to sell a new bike without registering it or to sell a used bike without changing the registration to reflect the change of ownership.
Lots of great advice, thanks everyone.
ok it does sound like it is not worth even trying to register my bike.
I also built up this cannondale custom (bought the frame in america and all the parts separately: some from america, some when I lived in the uk, some here in japan...). It would be next to impossible to find all the receipts for all the parts. I usually ride in cycling gear and I'm female so I would likely not get stopped for questioning. I will definitely use Arcadiandream's approach of explaining the complex nature of the bike if I ever do get stopped.
Just wanna add another perspective to this discussion.

For me, having this 500 yen sticker can be a deterrent to theft. I made it a point to get my daily commuter registered. The bright yellow sticker looks horrible on my white steel frame but whenever I see my bike among other unregistered bikes in the parking lot, I feel more secure thinking a would be thief or the occasional opportunist would pick a less risky, hassle free option.
  • Like
Reactions: jdd
Registration is compulsory. But there is no penalty to the owner for not registering. It is also an offense punishable by a fine to sell a new bike without registering it or to sell a used bike without changing the registration to reflect the change of ownership.
Then Costco are breaking the law as they sell bike but do not have the faciliti
In the 20+ years that I have lived in Japan, I have owned well more than 20 bikes. At first, they were mostly used complete bikes that I had shipped in from abroad, back in the days when shipping was cheap enough to do that. Then, over the last 15 years, I have built my own bikes, sold some, built more, sold some more--I currently switch between 7 or 8 (clearly need to sell some more!). All bikes were assembled with new and used parts from around the world, and I have almost never kept receipts. I have never registered any of my bikes (and yes, I do wear dedicated biking wear), and have never been stopped by the police (while my son, riding a crappy mama-san bike got pulled over a couple of times...). I would not bother with registering until if/when it actually becomes a punishable offense.
Top Bottom