The video is at the bottom for those who don’t like reading 😋
What’s up guys and welcome to my quick guide of how to do your own motorcycle shaken/syaken/車検 in Japan. From now on I’ll just refer to it as the “shaken”. If you have a bike over 250cc you will need to get a new shaken every 2-years. My bike is a 1000cc bike (KTM Superduke) so all of the information and prices (of stamps and procedures) are based on the 1000cc category of bikes. It MIGHT be cheaper if you have a 400, 600, or 750cc bike.
Recently you cannot just turn up to the shaken centre and hope to get an appointment the same day. You need to book an appointment online. The booking system is here: https://www.yoyaku.naltec.go.jp/pc/reservationTop.do
Don’t be afraid to try this yourself!
The truth according to Tarmac Japan
It may seem difficult, and the dealerships will be sure to tell you it’s harder than rocket science and you should pay them at least 80,000 yen to do it but that’s just typical Japanese bullshit. As always “the system” over here just want’s you to PAY PAY PAY and not think outside of the box. Don’t get ripped off by Red Baron or your dealer. Do it yourself and revel in the satisfaction that you did it by yourself and saved a heap of cash! Then go to Roppongi or Sakae and spend that 60K that you saved on cheap liquor and cheap ladies. Or just save it for a track-day or two!
What to prepare beforehand?
- Give the bike a good clean. I always clean the bike thoroughly the day before the shaken. I clean both the bodywork, and the chain/sprockets, engine, frame etc. Making it look good at first sight is a alway’s a good start!
- Make sure your bike IS actually road worthy. I don’t want to advocate trying this with a bike that isn’t in good condition. You don’t have to do a full-on 100 point maintenance program, but at least make sure your suspension, brakes, chain, and tyres are good.
- Check for oil leaks. If you are going to fix them, do so. If you plan to do it in the future, Ok…I trust you…take some parts cleaner and a rag with you and clean off the oil spills just before the test.
- Check all your electrics. Headlight, tail light, indicators, horn, etc. Make sure that both your front and rear brake light switches work, and finally make sure that your steering lock isn’t broken.
- You will need your current “shaken-sho” and “jibaiseki”.
- You will need your proof of Jidoushazei (Yearly vehicle tax) payment. This is a yearly tax that for my sized bike is ¥ 6,000. If you have lost it you MAY get lucky like I did, but they will certainly ask for it. It should be “on the system” as paid, but I only paid mine the day before and brought my payment receipt from the Post Office which wasn’t good enough. You may need to visit your ward office and get a copy of the proper official PAID receipt called Jidoushazei Nouzei Shoumeisho .
- Aside from the bike, take a pen/pencil and your inkan with you. Just incase you cock something up and have to write one of the documents again. You only need to stamp 1 document though!
OK. The actual test part is simple. It’s all the annoying documents that take time. There are 7 documents that you need. Two of the documents you already possess. Those are the shaken-sho and the jibaiseki (compulsory insurance). The other 5 documents you can get at the inspection centre.
Here is a breakdown of all the docs you need. I will put the photos below. I didn’t have a chance to scan them, so basically they are just photos from my phone, but are pretty hi-res so you should have no problems using them to copy from. Tick all the places I ticked. Write your name and address where I did (the same as is printed on your shaken-sho). Stamp where I stamped. Then you’re good to go.
The first thing to do when you get to the shaken centre is to purchase another 2-years of jibaiseki. You can buy either 24 months, or 25 months. But, if your current jibaiseki has a few weeks left on it, just get the 24 month policy. 25 months is mainly used as a precaution. If for some reason your bike fails the test and you need to take it back home to fix any issues, the extra month gives you some leeway. When I bought my jibaiseki on July 22nd 2020 it was ¥9680. The price varies from year to year depending on whether there were many accidents (i.e. claimants) of the compulsory insurance. This year seems cheaper than it was 2 years ago.
Pictures of documents
The truth according to Tarmac Japan
All inspection centres are different in layout, so unfortunately I can’ tell you; “Go to window 6 to buy jibaiseki” or similar, so you’ll have to find someone friendly to ask (Could be tricky. Typical miserable Japanese bureaucrats ippai).
Bought my new jibaiseki! What now?
Ok, so in your possession now, you should have:
2) Old Jibaiseki
3) New Jibaiseki
What you need next are:
4) Jidousha Kensa Hyou
5) Jidousha Keizoku Kensa Shinseisho
6) Jidousha Juryouzei Nofusho
Fill out all the documents the same as mine above but with your own name, address, phone number etc. Then go buy two stamps for ¥400 and ¥1300 from the appropriate counter. Stick those on the Jidousha Kensa Hyou (Pic. 4).
Next take the pink paper (Pic. 5 – Juriozei Nofusho) to the appropriate counter and pay the fee. In my case it was ¥ 4,600. Juriozei is basically a “weight tax”, so this probably will vary depending on the weight of your own bike. At the counter hand over the pink document and your current shakensho and they will tell you how much it due.
Next take the document called Jidousha Keizoku Kensa Shinseisho (Pic. 6) and put your stamp on it! Don’t forget to write “2” and “3” in the two boxes at the top that I have circled.
Lastly, tick all the boxes on the Kirokubo (Pic. 7)
*Now read my notes/disclaimer below regarding the Kirokubo!
*The documents above are all free except the Kirokubo which you have to pay ¥10 for a photocopy of. Otherwise you can download it for free and print at home from here: http://www.koei-t.com/_img/maintenance/teiki.pdf
With regards to this document, they expect that you have done all of the checks printed on the sheet. Buuuuut, you can just go ahead and tick every box like I did. As I said before…please only do this if you’re sure that your bike is in good condition.
My own bike is well maintained…New oil, plugs, fork overhaul, new clutch cylinder, new chain and sprockets, new air filter etc. in the last few months so I was happy to just tick everything.
Finally! Paperwork is done. What next?
When all of your documents are filled in, stamped, and have the duty stamps affixed, take it to the appropriate counter. It SHOULD say “User Shaken” (ユーザー車検) on the sign above the counter. They will check everything for you and smash their official stamp on the papers. Then you’re good to go. Get on your bike and head on over to the “Line” where they inspect the bike.
The queue for the “Line” will be full of cars, but either the far-left, or the far-right lane will have a bike lane. Queue up behind them. When it’s your turn the inspector (typically wearing a blue uniform and carrying a tiny little hammer) will come and take your paperwork, then begin to test your bike. This happens outside usually, just before you go into the “Line” shed.
This guy will check the following:
- Chassis number (Usually stamped on the headstock)
- Steering lock operation
- Front and Rear Indicators
- Rear lights and brake lights (Front lever and brake pedal)
- Oil leaks, rust, loose bolts, tyre depth etc.
Once that’s done and he doesn’t find any problems, then it’s time to move inside.
The first test is emissions. I’d suggest telling the staff “it’s my first time and I am but a simple gaijin from another planet” and the chances are they will help you. If not, you need to press the appropriate button on the machine then stick the probe in your bike’s exhaust. The screen on tester will show an X for Fail, or a Circle for pass. You then have to stick paper No.4 (Jidousha Kensa Hyou) into the machine and it will print your results on that sheet.
Next is the brake test and speedo test. It’s probably easier to watch my video for an explanation of this, but basically you move your bike into this little roller device…
The first test (from memory) is the speedo. There is a thin but long metal pedal on the floor next to the tester. You should hold that down with your left foot until your speedo says 40km/h, then release it. This is done with the brakes off, and your bike in neutral. Probably best to hold your clutch in too! Basically when the test starts, the rollers will start to spin and you are supposed to release that pedal on the floor when your bikes’s speedo says 40km/h. Once that’s done, it is brake testing time.
Brake testing is done in three stages. Front only, Rear Only, Front and Rear together. The same thing will happen; the rollers will start rolling! You will then hear a voice and see the screen above the tester say “Bureki kakette kudasai”. When you hear that or see it on the LCD screen above your head, just JAM on those brakes. No feathering. Just go full MotoGP squeeze on that lever. Same goes for rear test…SLAM the brake on, then finally front and rear together.
As before, when the test is done, stick paper No.4 (Jidousha Kensa Hyou) in the machine. Again it will print your results. Paper No.4 is needed at all the testing stations from now on. Put it to the top of your pile.
The final test is the headlights. I think it is worth going to an independent tester (there are usually loads of small garages scattered around the Shaken Centre’s area) to get your headlight checked and adjusted before the actual Shaken test. These guys usually rip you off (¥1700 in this case) but they will adjust your headlight to make sure you pass. If your headlight is beyond adjusting, they will usually tape some newspaper over it to change the brightness, spread/beam pattern. They might also tell you something along the lines of “turn the handlebar to the left a bit when it’s test time”. It’s a pricey service, but worth it in my mind. Saves you having to come back for a re-test if you fail.
FINISHED! Well almost…
You are 99% done now. As long as you passed all the tests, you need to take all your papers 1-7 to a small room usually inside the Line shed. There will be more of the previously mentioned miserable Japanese bureaucrats inside waiting for your paperwork. Hand it over and wait for them to make a mess of pronouncing your name after 5-10 minutes of waiting. As soon as they give you back the papers (with even more official stamps stamped on them) hightail it back to the main building and find the appropriate counter. Usually it’s next to the “User Shaken” counter. If you’re not sure, just check-out what other people are doing. If there are people putting paperwork that looks the same as yours into a tray on the counter…Do the same.
This part usually takes 10 minutes on a quiet day, and much longer on a busy day. I have had the misfortune of doing shaken’s in April, which is the busiest time of the year for inspections. Waiting here for only an hour in April would have been a blessing.
After waiting and checking out all the sexy chicks in overalls (Anyone?) you will again hear someone making a hash out of pronouncing your name. Just shout HAI! and go to the counter to collect your brand new shiny Shakensho and sticker for your number plate.
OWARI! Otsukare samadeshita
All done. You can go home now and watch some Tarmac Japan videos on YouTube. Make sure you subscribe too!
Thanks for taking the time to read my (what I thought would be a quick) guide on how to do the shaken for a motorcycle by yourself. I hope it was useful. Be sure to stick a comment down below, and feel free to share either this blog post, or my YouTube video.
Goodbye for now