CONTRIBUTED BY KANDY
Ducati_oki_3 Nangbiker_2

You know you’re a military spouse…if there has ever been a motorcycle in your dining room.

One thing I will never forget about living here is driving here.  The first time a motorcycle zoomed past me while I was in a line of traffic, I screamed a not-so-G-rated version of “Oh my, did you see that silly freak?”  Two years later, it seems totally normal to expect a few motorbikes to zoom by in between traffic.  But it scares me to think not all people look out for crotch rockets or potatoes.  Despite that, sometimes I wish I had a motorcycle on a beautiful day, wind blowing through my hair (I mean through my helmet, SAFETY FIRST!)   I wish I knew how to ride a motorcycle and not just be a passenger on a Power Ranger’s my husband’s Ducati which he opted to leave in stateside storage.  If you wish to bring your motorcycle to Okinawa don’t expect it to be cheap or easy.  Click HERE to learn more about that.  THIS informative forum has loads of information specifically for people interested in importing and exporting motorcycles to/from Okinawa, not to mention a lot of other cool motorcycle perspective.

A question from one of our readers:

Hi there, we will be PCSing to Kadena, eventually (2010 to be precise!), and I was wondering about motorcycles. My husband has a motorcycle, is he able to ship it over with our House Hold Goods? What about the JCI and would there be any other expenses since we would be bringing it over ourselves? I’ve heard how crazy the drivers are there (I’m from Chicago..it’s all good), would he be safe puttering around Okinawa on a motorcycle?

If anyone else has any experience with motorcycles on Okinawa or knows of any other motorcycle communities on the island that can help our two-wheeled friends, we’d love to hear about it!

 

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12 COMMENTS

  1. I am working through this process now (July 2016) and have found the process has gotten more complicated/challenging since the writing of this article. Much of my challenge comes from being stationed in Okinawa (vs. mainland Japan) so I must coordinate transportation of my motorcycle to and from mainland Japan for the required testing…this is an out of pocket cost to me of around $3K (and this appears to be the best option from a few months of research).

    Some challenges I found (and how I worked through them):
    1. TMO has conflicting guidance on whether or not motorcycles are allowed to be shipped to Japan. The DoD order states in one section that motorcycles may be shipped as HHG, in another it states that motorcycles may not be shipped to Okinawa (due to cost of getting the bike tested and licensed) and in a final section states that motorcycles may be shipped as a vehicle, but that requires a waiver (and the e-mail address listed as the waiver authority bounced my message back). Ultimately, I was able to ship my motorcycle by telling my local TMO office I was aware of the costs and challenges involved, and am willing to accept that risk (I had to sign a memo saying this).
    2. GOJ requires extensive testing on your motorcycle, none of which is available on Okinawa. I had to fax (no e-mail # available) Harley-Davidoson Corporate to request a statement of homoganation. Along with this, I will need the original owners manual and some documentation (that Harley won’t provide) from dyno testing (HP vs Torque vs RPM). I got the dyne figures online and hope they will suffice. My speedo is in MPH, and must be in KPH (bought a sticker from e-bay for that) and also you need a sticker on your bike showing the shift pattern (ugh…makes my bike ugly). Finally, for the testing, I need to get (I will rent on island) a set of Japanese spec HD mufflers (to pass noise and emissions).
    3. KEEP YOUR BIKE STOCK until you test it; I am told any changes from stock make it more likely to fail.
    4. The testing centers for GOJ only speak Japanese; you will either need to find a translator or get a friend, or even pay a service to take care of the testing for you.
    5. Getting the bike to and from the testing center requires temporary tags; an easier way is to trailer the bike.

    All this being said, I have found the best option for me is to pay a service on Okinawa to do this for me; testing costs and shipping the bike alone would run me more than $2K, and for $3K this guy picks up the bike on base with his trailer, drives it to the port, ships it to mainland Japan, trailers it on the other end and gets it to the all testing sites (and does your paperwork). Instead of me spending a week traveling with my bike, going through a process I don’t understand, I am chipping in an extra grand to have it all done for me.

    The big downside is how long the process takes; my bike may take 90 days to get over there with my HHG, and the testing guy told me it can take another 90 days to get everything completed (and getting the mufflers is a variable not counted on yet). All that being said, hopefully by Christmas (its July now) I will have 2.5 solid years of riding my HD Street Glide Special on Okinawa, and enjoy my tour that much more.

    • I’m pcsing here soon from Lakenheath to kadena. I’m wanting to bring my street glide over as well. How’s the weather treating your bike since you’ve been there. Any issues that have come up since you did this. We’re you able to get it all done?

  2. Anyone know the Base rules as well local regulations for bringing/riding a 49cc moped? I’m thinking of buying a Honda Ruckus/Zoomer and taking it over. Are there a lot of them for sale on Oki?

  3. For anyone looking to do there own Emissions Certification for your 2001 and newer bike,Go online and find a place close to Tokyo called Moot Foot.He speaks english take your bike to the Naha Port send it to him he,ll arrange the Ship time for you,,He,ll Emissions cert it and send it back to the same place you dropped it off.Price runs about 190,000.Which cuts out the Middle man for the 2 guys that conduct the service here at 225,000 and above,Trust me I did it,It,s super easy,Just call Motofoot and he,ll tell you what you need.

  4. The whole process here is very easy for the user and is not expensive I had mine done at Bike Shop Gixxer He’s a retired Gunny He provides I think the most complete service and is by far the Cheapest on island and your bike is Insured up to mainland and back it cost me 190,000 Which included everything to register it here,You can find him at Gixxerokinawa.com Trust me I,m happy and one other shop I looked at did not seem like a shop so I steered away from it,As well I heard that there Powedercoating work leaves alot to be desired so I asked them there price so I knew 225’000!!,It was a NO brainer where I was going.

  5. As for bike safety here, I’ve never felt worried or UNsafe. Defensive driving is key, of course. Military members/their families also have to take the motorcycle safety course on Kadena in order to be licensed.

    It’s a great way to get where you’re going while avoiding a lot of the unbelievable vehicular traffic.

  6. We PCS’d here with my husband’s motorcycle. Soooo easy. You can ship it as household goods, which is what we did. Keep in mind, though, that if you have weight restrictions, it WILL count against them. That severely limits what else you can bring, unless you’re willing to pay the overlimit charges. If you’re Air Force though, our weight limits to come here are the same as they would be to move anywhere else, so it wasn’t an issue.

    We’ve also PCS’d from Hawai’i to the States with the motorcycle, same deal.

    However, my husband’s motorcycle is a 2000 model Harley, so we didn’t fall under the restrictions for bikes made in 2001 or later.

    • Do you have anymore information on the year and restrictions for bikes? I have a 2000 Harley as well and was wondering what will be required before being able to ride on the island. Thanks,

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