When living or working in Japan, one big priority will be finding the perfect method of transportation for you. There are a ton of options available. In this article we’ll go over the commonly available methods of transportation, their pros and cons, and the costs.
This article will cover: Bicycles, Cars, Trains, Busses, Motorcycles & Scooters, and Trams
In Japan, 78% of households own bikes for some reason or another. 15% of commuters require a bike for some or all of the trip. If you live in the city, a bike will be particularly helpful. Once you’ve got your bike, all you have to do is pay a small registration fee at the store and you’re ready to go.
The most common bicycle you’ll find in Japan is the “mamachari,” (mom bike) so named because many mothers will attach one or two child seats on these bikes to take their children wherever they need to go. This is the bike that you’ll probably be buying, unless you’re riding for sport or exercise rather than for daily life.
Mamachari: Bike features
Comes with a lock
Comes with a light (For a slightly higher price, you can have a light that will automatically turn on and off depending on the time of day. Handy, because lights are a requirement, and if you’re riding at night without them, you WILL be stopped by the police.)
Usually comes with a basket (Useful for groceries)
（Saturday, October 12, 2019 Izanau）
All eyes are on Japan at the moment, as the Rugby World Cup kicks up a gear and gets into full swing. Some fans have had to stay at home to watch the games, while others have travelled there to immerse themselves in the spirit of the tournament. One 11-year-old girl has beat everyone however, as she is cycling from Tokyo to Osaka to keep up with the games.
Mariya Budd was at her grandparents home in Auckland last year with her father, Stephen. The family began watching a programme on Discovery Channel about the old Tokyo to Kyoto walking road the Nakasend?, and the conversation quickly turned to the logistics of actually doing it. After that initial idea was sparked, the father and daughter spoke at length about the idea, and eventually made a plan ? to cycle another route ? from Tokyo Tower to Osaka (near to where Mariya’s grandmother lives) during the Rugby World Cup to follow Stephen’s cousin Dean Budd, who just so happens to be on the Italian squad.
“I was born in Japan so it was a great place for an adventure for me and to help with my Japanese. I go to school in Japan for one month every year, and my school in Australia was OK with me taking an extra few weeks after the Australian school holidays to do this,” Mariya told Lonely Planet. It took Mariya and Stephen awhile to figure out the itinerary, as they wanted to avoid long cycling days and too many hills. They used Google Maps to set a route.
（October 14，2019 Lonely Planet）
TOKYO -- A father who has been taking his daughter on long-distance bicycle trips every summer since she became unable to attend elementary school has shared his experiences, hoping they may encourage parents with children who aren't at school.
Shigeo Onda, 54, and his daughter Harune, now a 20-year-old university student, went to the Kansai region in western Japan on their 12th bicycle trip this year.
"We've experienced kindness from many people during our trips, and they have been good experiences," stated Onda, a worker of a nursing facility in the capital's Itabashi Ward.
Harune became unable to attend school from the autumn of third grade, after she was subjected to physical abuse by a male student at an elementary school run by Itabashi Ward. Onda felt that the school's response was insincere and did not force his daughter to return.
One day, the two visited a library and found a picture book about a father and daughter traveling on their bikes. When Onda suggested they do something similar, his daughter responded with a nod.
In the summer of 2008, Onda took his daughter to the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast for their first trip. They cycled on a mountain path, roads without street lights at night, and even stayed at a campground. Onda recalls thinking, "There probably won't be a next time," as the route was very harsh for the physical capacity of a primary school girl.
（September 24, 2019 Mainichi Japan）
HIMEJI, Hyogo Prefecture--An easier-to-use road bike was developed for elderly people hoping to get back in the saddle of cycling and women who are hesitant to buy the ubiquitous “mamachari” (mom’s bike).
The new bike produced by Koumei Co., which makes and sells bicycles here, eliminates the often troublesome and potentially painful top tube that connects the handlebars and the seat post.
The new model also features sports-type wheels and components so cyclists can enjoy speedy rides.Named Mamachari Road, the road bike was designed in the image of a mamachari, the popular bicycle that features baskets for grocery shopping, seats for transporting small children and other practical parts.
According to Koumei, road bikes are growing in popularity among elderly individuals who are increasingly conscious of their health and weight.
But typical road bikes force cyclists to raise one leg over the top tube for mounting or dismounting. Many elderly people are reluctant to buy road bikes out of concerns about “collapsing and breaking bones,” a Koumei official said.
（September 27, 2019 The Asahi Shimbun）
TOKYO (Web Desk) - A 61-year-old man from Tokyo’s Ota Ward was recently arrested by Japanese police for allegedly stealing no less than 159 bicycle seats, as a bizarre way of taking revenge for having his own seat stolen last year.
Earlier this month, Akio Hatori was apprehended for the alleged theft of a bicycle seat on August 29. Surveillance camera footage showed him casually removing the seat of someone’s bike, placing it in the basket of his own bicycle and pedalling away. Unfortunately for him, the victim called the police and they started investigating the minor theft. However, when officers identified Hatori and raided his house last week, they only expected to find the one seat, not a stash of 159 of them.
The story of how the old man came into the possession of such a large collection of bicycle seat is even more bizarre. Apparently, the 61-year-old man had his own bike saddle stolen in the summer of 2018 and was so disappointed that he wanted other people to feel his pain. So instead of reporting the theft or at least trying to identify the thief so he could exact revenge on them, Hatori turned into a serial bicycle seat thief himself.
A transport ministry panel has agreed on a plan to call on local governments to pass ordinances aimed at obliging cyclists to use liability insurance.
The plan was agreed to on Friday at the first meeting of the expert panel, set up for discussion on compensation systems following a series of court rulings that ordered large damages payments over bicycle accidents in which pedestrians died or suffered serious injuries.
According to the panel, headed by Kansai University professor Keiji Habara, only six of the country’s 47 prefectures and five ordinance-designated major cities oblige bicycle users to sign liability insurance policies.
The number of collisions between cyclists has been increasing in Japan since 2015, rising to 2,749 in 2017.
（JAN 11, 2019 THE JAPAN TIMES）
A Tokyo Success Story
A Tokyo Metropolitan Government survey for fiscal 2018 counted just over 27,000 bicycles abandoned at railway stations around the city (the official figure includes mopeds and motorbikes, although these are rare). This is the lowest number ever, and represents a reduction of nearly 4,000 on the year before. It is also a mere tenth of the figure of 243,000 recorded in 1990. The survey was performed by municipalities across Tokyo in October 2018, during daylight hours, and counted bicycles abandoned at around 600 railway and subway stations.
Tokyo’s approach?regular removal of abandoned bicycles combined with the creation of additional bicycle and car parking, both public and private?has paid off, with a clear downward trend achieved in the number of abandoned bicycles, particularly since 2000.
Plenty of Parking Spaces
Bicycles abandoned outside train stations are obstructive for both pedestrians and emergency vehicles alike, and have been a headache for Japanese cities for around 40 years now. According to surveys conducted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, in the period between 1990 and 2000, over 700,000 cyclists were riding their bikes to stations, with between a quarter and a third of those bikes being abandoned in any given year.
While in 1990, the worst year for abandoned bicycles, only 540,000 parking spaces were available to accommodate the 704,000 cyclists who rode to stations, by 2018 the number of spaces had increased to 925,000. These numbers show that there is now ample parking available.
（May 21, 2019 Nippon Communications Foundation）
GIFU---A 50-year-old man riding a bicycle died after he was hit from behind by a car in a tunnel in Ena, Gifu Prefecture, on Monday.
According to police, the accident occurred at around 9:40 a.m. in the two-lane tunnel along National Route 257. Police said the cyclist, Tomoyuki Tsunogai, who lives in Nagoya, was riding with a companion between the road and a walkway when he was hit by the car. He was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Tsunogai’s 52-year-old companion, who was riding ahead of him, was also knocked off his bike and suffered an elbow injury. The 27-year-old male driver of the car was uninjured.
Police said Tsunogai and his friend were cycling companions who often made long rides together. They were on their way to Nagano Prefecture when the accident occurred.（July 16，2019 Japan Today）