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Bicycling Culture in Japan

bicycling culture in japan

Biking in Japan is a widespread activity and popular form of transportation. You can ride a bicycle almost anywhere without fear of getting caught in traffic jams, and some types of cycles became especially popular after the triumphant anime – Yowamushi Pedal Re: RIDE.

The bicycle is an environmentally friendly mode of transportation, and there are special bike lanes for bike touring in Japan and you don’t have to be between two fires – speeding traffic and pedestrians.

A Bike as Part of Everyday life

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Japan is one of the first countries in the world in the number of bicycles per capita. Nearly one in two people in Japan owns a bicycle. Office workers commute to work on bicycles; housewives go to the store to buy groceries on bicycles equipped with special baskets; you can also see bicycles equipped with child seats (so that mommy can take her babies) everywhere; bikes are used by students and students to get to school.

But cycling in Japan tips is not so easy, as there are several rules and obligations for this type of transport, enshrined in law and execution of which is simply obligatory. Just as when driving a car, it is prohibited to ride a bicycle in a drunken state, the cyclist must obey the rules of the road and ride in the dark with headlights on, can not talk on a cell phone or smoke. For children, a helmet is mandatory. It is also mandatory to have a registration certificate confirming the right to a bicycle.

How to Get the Right to Ride a Bicycle

bicycling in japan

The first thing a traveler must do when purchasing a vehicle to bicycling in Japan is to have it registered with the local government, store, or police station. If you buy a bicycle in a store, the registration process is not very complicated. You only need to get the bicycle identification number, fill out a certain form, pay the registration fee, and that is the end of the formalities.

But each prefecture in Japan has its own rules for registering and re-registering previously registered bicycles. If the owner wants to sell or donate a bicycle to another person, the bicycle must be reregistered to the new owner.

There are two ways to change ownership of a bicycle: the first is to change the owner of the bicycle, and the second is to cancel the registration of the previous owner and re-register the bicycle to the new owner.

The change of bike ownership is a simpler procedure, as the presence of the old owner is not required, it is enough for the new owner to provide

  • The bicycle itself.
  • His or her driver’s license, Japanese resident alien’s registration card, or other identification.
  • The old owner’s bicycle registration card.
  • The deed of transfer (a document confirming the right to purchase the bicycle).

There is also a fee for the registration procedure (registering the right to use the bicycle to the new owner).

It is also possible for foreigners to register bicycles in Japan when they bring their bicycles, provided that they have the documents confirming the right to purchase the bicycle and the above-mentioned documents. However, you should keep in mind that bike riding in Japan require two brakes, front and rear, which are mandatory, and all bikes must be equipped with them.


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Bicycle parking in Japan is one of the things that everyone follows strictly, i.e., no one will leave a bicycle in a place where parking is prohibited. In front of many stores, parking is free for a certain amount of time, usually two hours.

Usually, parking for bicycles is also paid for, but the prices are reasonable. There are special parking lots, such as at schools, which may be free, but only for a limited time (for the duration of classes). Bicycle parking near your home is usually free, too, but you get a special number taped to your bicycle that confirms you have the right to park in front of a specific house. Bicycles in parking lots are usually locked with a simple lock.

A favorite pastime of the Japanese and tourists are excursions to beautiful places by bicycle. In the Hiroshima area, for example, bicycle tours of the nearby islands are very popular. A trip from Hiroshima to Shikoku on the many suspension bridges is an unforgettable experience.

Travel in Japan by bicycle is a great alternative to automobiles, and in addition to the aesthetic pleasure they provide, it is undoubtedly important that physical activity keeps you fit and improves your mood.

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