Traveling by bike in Japan has various advantages on many occasions. With often crowded subways and car journeys stuck in traffic jams, using a bicycle is faster while remaining economical.
It is not uncommon for Japanese cities to have huge parking spaces for bicycles. Because the Japanese, too, like to pedal. Moreover, with the presence of self-service bicycles, visiting Japan by bicycle quickly becomes a part of the pleasure.
Rent or buy a bike in Japan?
If you are traveling to Japan, for cycling you have the choice between a local rental and a purchase. There are self-service bicycles in major cities like Kanazawa, Tokyo or even Hiroshima.
The rental is ideal if you plan not to go far since you will have to return the bike after a few hours. Certain provisions also allow the tourist to rent the bicycle at the station and return it to the same sign but located in another district.
Long-term rentals are not very numerous in the country since Japan is very mountainous. If you are considering small itineraries, therefore, prefer the rental. The price is affordable but you have to shell out a bit more for more sophisticated bikes such as semi-rigid e-bikes for a cycling trip given their high resistance.
If, on the other hand, you plan to make long trips spanning several days, it is best to buy your own bike directly. Count 45 euros on average for a second-hand bike and 120 euros for a new one.
As for ATVs, the price is relatively expensive but they are solid for the riders of steep terrain. Then register your bike at the police stations or kobanso that they are up to standard during police checks. Moreover, these controls are quite frequent in Japan so it is better to be within the rules.
You can take your bike on internal journeys by metro or plane. But the bike will have to be taken apart and packed in a special envelope. Once your stay is over, you can sell your bike on site.
Road rules to follow
We know that Japan is the country of respect for rules, cleanliness and order. By riding a bicycle, you are not exempt from local rules. And if you notice that some Japanese depart from them, don’t do like them because you are above all a tourist. Breaking these rules can cost you up to 500,000 yen in fines or up to three months in prison..
There are many rules, the JapanCycling site gives a detailed overview. However, here are the main ones to remember:
- Rules of conduct must always be observed and traffic lights and signs must be observed. Also note that driving with a faulty bicycle can cost a lot in fines so be very careful.
- The bicycle must be registered in the name of the owner with the prefectural police service.
- Like cars, you should always drive on the left side of the street even if you find yourself in a village in the middle of nowhere.
- Riding a bicycle while drunk is prohibited in Japan and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
- Driving on the sidewalk is prohibited. If there are cycle paths, it is best to take them.
- Riding with a passenger is illegal unless it is a child under the age of 6 and is installed in a secure child seat.
- Bicycles must have a doorbell and front light for safety.
The advantages of a bike trip in Japan
Using the bike is more economical and will get you to do some sport. By buying or renting a bicycle, you will read your movements as you roam the streets of big cities. You will also be able to make frequent stops in the small alleys and taste Japanese specialties in small traditional restaurants.
The other advantage of cycling is that you save more time. Which is practical in this country that walks at high speed. With Japanese traffic, driving a bicycle is not very difficult. This offers real pleasure in the city as well as in the countryside. Just be careful to follow the rules of the road.
In addition, Japan has many cycle paths and specially designed parking lots for bicycles. And don’t panic, the crime rate in Japan is so low that your bike will be safe. You won’t have to shell out an astronomical amount of money using the bike. A few extra pennies that will allow you to enjoy other pleasures of the Land of the Rising Sun.