Everything about Japan fascinates me – vehicles are no exception. A couple months ago, when a friend was driving me to the train station, I noticed his car’s license plate was yellow, instead of the typical white (car) or dark green (bus or taxi).
I nudged Ryosuke. “Hey. Why is the license plate yellow?”
“Oh, that’s because it’s a kei car. A compact car.”
“And that means there are only four seats. This car is tiny.”
After that, I started noticing there were specific parking spots for kei cars (K-cars, kejidosha, or 軽自動車). I also started noticing differences between the license plate colors. Here are my findings.
Regular car: White medium sized license plate with green letters.
Keicar / compact car: Yellow medium sized license plate with black letters.
Commercial vehicle (like a bus or taxi): Dark green medium sized license plate with white letters.
Regular bicycle: No license plate (of course), but a yellow registration sticker that carries your personal information. Police will occasionally stop you, run the number, check you ID to make sure they match, and let you go (unless you stole the bike, then you’re in trouble).
In any case, that is what the different color license plates in Japan mean. Pretty cool, right?
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