A cloud-shaped license plate issued by Matsuyama City is the first non-rectangular vehicle number plate in Japan.
Rice-shaped license plates have been issued by Tome City, and Ueda City has produced a castle-shape number plate.
Mount Fuji, Japan’s most famous landmark, is represented in a new rectangular license plate for cars and a mountain-shaped number plate for smaller vehicles The 4 non-standard designs can be used for scooters with an engine displacement under 50cc, motorcycles of 125cc or less, and small-sized special vehicles such as tractors and combines.
The cloud number plate represents Matsuyama in the clouds on the top of a hill. Tome, a rice growing area in Miyagi Prefecture, began offering rice-shaped license plates in October. The rice shape was chosen by citizens’ votes on entries submitted in a city-sponsored design contest in April. The slogan on the plate is ""Mizu no Sato Tomeshi" (Water’s hometown: Tome city) The castle-shaped license plate that promotes Ueda Castle is issued from the Ueda city government. The white, yellow, and pink color options are dependent on the engine displacement of the registered vehicle.
License plate regulations were modified in 2006 to allow themed "Place Number" license plates. Previously, only official car registration office locations – such as Shinagawa, Hachioji, and Tokyo – were imprinted on standard-sized plain plates.