CONTRIBUTED BY KATHERINE MOORE

Although I just arrived here on the island in January this year, it’s already time for me to renew my JCI.  I have heard so many horror stories about JCI renewal, and was not sure exactly what the best thing to do.  I read Shannan’s very helpful and detailed post “The dreaded JCI” and thought, that’s still a lot of work!

I do speak Japanese, so I thought, why not try something off-base and share my experience with the readers of Okinawa Hai?  I have driven many times by Koza Automobile on my way to my daughter’s daycare and so I thought, I’ll take my car there for JCI inspection!  By the way, if you have seen this picture of a dog with a wrench, it means that this place is certified by the government for JCI inspection, also known as Sha-Ken in Japanese.

JCI dog

So, here’s how it went.  Once I arrived it took about 15 minutes for the mechanic to evaluate my car and come up with a free estimate.  (Ask “Sha-Ken no mitsu-mori onegai-shimasu”, for an estimate.)  He told me that my fan belt needed to be replaced for 6,000yen including labor.  My options were to fix it then and arrange for transportation myself, or make an appointment when they could give me a loaner car.  Note: the loaner car is free and available for as long as the repair takes.

I came back two days later and dropped off my car, and drove away with a loaner car.  Note: if you are going on-base, you need to get a vehicle pass for the loaner car, ask Koza Automoile for the paperwork. Later that afternoon, I got my car back and was told to come back the next day to pick up my new JCI sticker.

Next, I decided to call Foster Vehicle Registration Office to get all the up-to-date information regarding JCI renewal.  This way, I’m able to compare the difference.  Here’s the price comparison (without the repair fees):

Koza Automobile

Foster etc.

JCI Policy

Y 10,890

Y 10,890

Weight tax

Y 12,600

Y12,600

Weight tax fees

Y 8,100

Y 8,100

Inspection fees

Y 8,000

Y 1,760

Final inspection fees

Y 6,000

Y 1,800

Total

Y 45,590

Y 35,150

Off-base:

•    Everything is done at one place, no waiting in line at Koza Automobile!  I spent a total of 30 minutes for the whole process.

•    Show up at your convenience, able to make appointments including Saturdays.

•    Free loaner car is available.

•    Make repairs on-site.

•    Car is detailed (cleaned) inside and out.

•    Credit card is accepted.

•    Very friendly with nice waiting area.

On-base:

•    Difficult time table.  Open at 7:00am for JCI inspection, but requires Weight Tax paid, which is not available until 9:00am.

•    Must show up early or risk waiting several hours or the whole day in line.

•    Different lines for JCI policy, Weight tax, and Inspection.

•    If repairs are needed, you need to find a repair shop on your own, repairs can be made at the Car Care Center, but is not part of the process – potentially another long line.

•    If not  repaired the same day, there is a $13 re-inspection fee, and more lines.

•    Need to carry both yen and dollar, credit cards are not accepted.

So, in conclusion, off-base is approximately $100 more than Foster, but you don’t waste the day in line, hoping to get it done without a migraine.  Koza Automobile operates on the principle of convenience and respect for the customer’s time.   No unnecessary repairs were recommended and they even fixed a dent in my bumper for free.


Koza Automobile

Hours: Monday – Saturday, 0830 – 1730, inspection not available from 1200 – 1300

Phone: 098-938-8668

Address: 〒904-2151 Okinawa-ken, Okinawa-shi, Matsumoto, 5 Chome−13

GPS Coordinates: 26.3577857, 127.80926829999999

Directions: From Kadena gate 3, turn right immediately after exiting the gate (this road is 74). At the second light (Ikento) with the overpass, continue left on 74.  The sign will show that 74 is straight and 85 is right, but you actually need to turn left to stay on 74.  Turn sharp right on the first light, almost feel like a u-turn.  Koza Automobile will be immediately on your left side.  Look for the big blue sign with their phone number on it (as shown on the picture) and the Sha-Ken dog.

Koza auto outside

11 COMMENTS

  1. My car was recently due for JCI and I debated whether to do it myself or drop it off somewhere. I did the wife’s car myself and remember how I had to do a bit of running around and the amount of time the process took. I searched JCI on here and found this write up on Koza automobile. After seeing the prices laid out and remembering my self JCI experience I decided to give them a try. Like Kendal stated they called someone who could speak English and then had them translate on the phone. Shortly after they hung up that same person showed up to the shop and was able to translate for me. They took my car back and had me wait which was fine since they brought me some tea and they had some ice cream and cookies available to eat. Once they did the initial inspection they walked me back to the bay where my car was and showed my things that would make it not pass, mainly grease/oil build up. They told me I could have a bad gasket or just a loose screw which was causing oil to leak. They said they would tighten the screws and didn’t automatically go right into saying I needed repairs. I left my car with them on a Friday and picked it back up on Monday. Might have been sooner if I had an appointment. But they did offer a loaner car which I didn’t need. Overall I spent around $525 for a 300 series plate, which is well worth it since my car might not have passed the first go round doing it myself and in turn I possibly could have spent my whole day there. I highly recommend this place for your JCI, it truly is a one stop shop.

  2. We used Koza this month to JCI both of our cars. They were great! I was very happy with the service, their desire to make the customer happy and their work ethic. I never felt as though they were pushing unnecessary repairs. No need to worry about the language barrier because they initially call someone on the phone to explain the process then they find an English speaking employee to assist through the appraisal process. I highly recommend them if you are looking for one stop shopping for your JCI.

  3. We went to Koza, spent about $1400 and a month later the vehicle had to be junked. I don’t know what happened but it was running well and after taking it to get JCI’d it only worked for a month. I don’t know if anyone else had this experience here.

    • Hi Jim,
      Sorry about your car. I have had people complain about their car breaking regardless of when they had their JCI done. I think there is a misunderstanding what JCI is for. They only check for your car’s safety and pollution control, not anything mechanical.

  4. after inspection, i need to get the car fixed, so i went to this place, they are polite but they turned me away, asked me to go to Toma’s. so if u only speak english and wanna get your car fixed . no need to go .

  5. Hi Mike,

    I’m glad you had a good experience with them too. I recently did another JCI there, and as always, they went out of their way to help me.

      • Stephanie- For the majority of cars owned by SOFA status it is required every two years. Some cars are required every year, but I doubt you would buy one of those.

  6. I just had work done on my car based on this recommendation.
    I needed a JCI and three repairs to my car; brake problems, new fan belt, new axle boot. The shop showed me what was wrong and made the repairs for a very reasonable price.
    The staff didn’t speak english but had a laminated sheet with basic translated phrases on it, and the mechanic called an english speaking family member and we made the arrangements by passing the phone back and forth.
    I won’t hesitate to take my car there next time i need repairs or inspection.

  7. JCI process is real easy and really cheap compare to what alot of people think.

    Steps for renewing JCI

    1. Pay the JCI insurance @ your AIU or ACE company.

    2. Pay the weight tax @ Foster Auto Registration Office, yen only.

    3. Pay inspection fee @ Foster Auto Registration office.And have it inspected in the back.(If your car fails insp. you can fix whatever faults you have and bring it back the same day and you don’t have to pay inpection fee.If you bring it back the next day you have to pay inpection fee again.)

    4. Bring paperwork stating you pass inpection to Foster Auto Registration and they’ll renew your paper work ,then you pick up the new sticker on the spot.

    If you do the process yourself it wont cost more than $300.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here