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JDM stylin: KiwiPlates release Japanese-style plates

2 February 2020



Add the ultimate JDM accessory to your streeter with a Japanese-style personalised plate from — it’s completely legal to use on New Zealand roads!

New Zealand has forged itself a unique image when it comes to car styling. With a mix of international influences and local creations, it’s fair to say we’ve got some of the best examples in the world. But if there’s one place we look to for inspiration more than any other, it’s the motherland of many of the cars we hold dear — Japan. Whether it’s simple styling touches like slammed ride heights on big, wide wheels, or the historical influences from legendary motorsport achievements, much has been taken from Japanese styling and integrated into our own aesthetic.

With a treasure trove of parts to unearth to help us achieve these visions we see online, there’s a strong desire to have your car looking like an authentic Japanese vehicle, which leads to the search for genuine Japanese plates in order to create the illusion of the car being in Japan itself, without ever leaving our shores. The only problem is that to get your hands on these requires the illegal exportation of Japanese government property and once here, the inability for it to be used on New Zealand roads legally. Sure they look cool, but they are ultimately limited in their use.

However, thanks to our local personalised plate company, KiwiPlates, that doesn’t have to be the case anymore. After repeated calls from vehicle owners to produce a Japanese option, the company has just dropped its latest design that brings you authentic Japanese plate styling with all the personalised plate customization you’re used to. The best part of all? They’re 100% legal.

KiwiPlates Japanese plate designs
With six options available, KiwiPlates Japanese designs feature the Kanji characters “日本” which translates to “Japan”, and is representative of the ‘prefecture name’ found on the real deal. These are followed by one of two classification number options available: ‘511’ for private use vehicles with engines under two-litres of capacity, or ‘337’ for private use vehicles with engines over two-litres of capacity — the same way they do in Japan. Both can be selected in black, white or green border designs to suit your car.

Understanding genuine Japanese plates

Prefecture names: referring to the prefecture (area) where the car was registered. There are now 106 prefectures in Japan.
Classification number: used to distinguish a wide range of vehicles. First numbers 3 and 5 are most common and represent a regular vehicle that seats less than 11. The following one or two digits are simply unique identifiers for the vehicle.
Kana text: a pseudonym character used to differentiate vehicles that are registered within the same prefecture, issued the same classification number, and license plate number
License plate number: a four-digit combination between 1 and 99-99

WIN a Drift Taxi Ride with Mad Mike
Nothing says Japan like going sideways four-up in an authentically-styled Japanese taxi, and to celebrate the release of the new Japanese plate designs, KiwiPlates is giving away a Drift Taxi Ride with Mad Mike for you and two mates. To enter, all you’ve got to do is purchase a Japanese plate between 3 February and 31 March (new or redesign). For further details and to enter, visit