Registering a Bicycle in Tokyo

By on October 4, 2017

Urban commuting has never been easier – thanks to the mighty bicycle that has been around for over 200 years.

Over fifty percent of Tokyo moms rely every single day on a ‘mama chari’ (the Japanese term for two wheelers or mom bikes), for school drop-offs and pick-ups, running errands, and do things efficiently.

Tokyo families guides you this month to everything you need to know from owning one to choosing the right ride for you.

For newbies in Japan, you can not just buy one and ride on it the next day without going through a proper registration routine. Just as motor vehicles need to be registered, so must a bicycle. This particular registration is called ‘Crime Prevention’ registration which is valid for 10 years under the safekeeping by the Metropolitan Police Department.When the term expires or bike owner changes, there is a need to register anew. The Japanese law requires bike owners to register both new and second-hand bicycles with the Crime Prevention Registration Office under the National Public Safety Commission.

So whether your family is buying a new bicycle or replacing an old one, you will need to have the bicycle registered by presenting the following documents which can take around two months. One good thing about buying a brand new bicycle from a shop is that the store takes care of it.

Here’s a list of what you should submit in order to have your bicycle registered to your name.
▪ Identification card that contains your picture and current address issued by a Japanese authority. You can use a driver’s license, health insurance or a residence card (zairyu).
▪ Deed of Transfer or Joutou shomeisho
▪ Warranty card or sales certificate that contains the bike’s identification (shop, product, body number)
▪ Previous owner’s bicycle registration
▪ Crime Prevention registration Fee of ¥500

What can go wrong if you fail to register your bicycle under your name?

It has been a common practice for expats leaving Japan to sell their bicycle on social media. If you will be buying a used bicycle at a sayonara sale and the registration remains valid for a few more years, you should immediately transfer ownership to your name. Have the Deed of Transfer made before the original owner leaves Japan. If you fail to do so, the law says buyer can be charged with theft, according to the Tokyo Bicycle Crime Prevention Association.

Stolen Seal
Despite the unbelievably low crime rate in Tokyo, there are some cases, although rare, of stolen registration seals in the city. If your registration seal that contains a number was stripped off your bike, you will need to register again because the authorities do not reissue the same number.

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