Japanese registration plates explained

  • November 13, 2018
Japanese registration plates explained


Registration plates on the streets are visible all the time. There is so many cars cars on the roads, we become so accustomed with plates that we don’t really notice them. Sometimes, in the multitude of standard domestic plates, only foreign registration are attracting attention. This time, I want to present You the most exotic registration plates on this side of the globe. Of course We are talking about japanesse one.

What the Japan plate consist of:

– Kanji signs, this one tell us in which prefecture the car is registered

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_registration_plates_of_Japan


– Three digit code show vehicle purpose. Meaning of fisrt digit:

1- mid size truck

2- microbus and bus

3- passenger car above two liter engine

4- small trucks

5- passener car up to two liter engine

8- special purpose vehicle

9- heavy, special puropse vehicles

0- construction equipment

– Marking the use of vehicle

It’s a single Hiragana sign. Private vehicles has green sign on white background, commercial vehicles- white signs on green background.

Private vehicle

Commercial vehicle

– Two groups of two digit number

Biggest numbers on the plate, it’s a serial number . If at the beggining appears zero number then it’s replaced by dot.

– Types of plates

– Temporary  

– Temporary for export or test rides  


– Plate for a”Kei-cars”. Kei cars are small cars with engine up to 660cm3  

– Diplomatic plates 

– Travel plates for foreginers. Translated to latinan alphabet 

– Commercial Kei-car 

– Interesting fact for the end. “Plates” for imperial family 

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