Two-wheeled wonder: A guide for buying a bike in Japan
Despite being the second-highest dollar value worth of cars exported country in 2020, one of the most popular ways to go around in Japan is, in fact, by bicycle. The reason behind this is that many aspects of Japanese people’s lives are inspired by Zen Buddhism. In Japan, people focus on keeping life simple. Therefore, moving around by bicycle slowly became a lifestyle choice for the Japanese people. More than that, using a bicycle can help you save some money by opening up shorter and cheaper train routes.
Because bicycles are so popular in Japan, there are also lots of rules that apply to it. Therefore, we are going to help you with a guide for buying a bike in Japan, which will cover where you can get a bike? How do you register it? What kind of bicycle is the most suitable for you?.
1. Where to buy a bike in Japan?
Firstly, Where are you able to buy a bike in Japan? There are three options for buying a bicycle in Japan: a local store, an online store, or a second-hand bicycle store. The prices can vary from 5,000 Yen (~50USD) to 50,000 Yen (~600USD), or even more. Simply just come to any local bicycle store and get one that is suitable for your budget.
If language is a barrier you can go shopping online or go to some big brand’s store like GS Astuto, Y’s Road, Suginami, or even Rakuten. These big stores will often have staff that can help you with a decent level of English.
2. How about buying a second hand bicycle in Japan?
Well, you can do that as well, simply just ask for the way to a Recycling Center. Used bicycles at any recycling center are usually of decent quality.
How to register your bike?
After buying a bike, you must go and register it with your local authorities. It will be lots of trouble if you are found on the street with a bike registration that does not match your residence address. This is not really a problem if you are buying a bike from a store. The employee in the store will often do it for you when you buy the bike. All you need to do is provide the staff with your information so they can do the rest for you. But if you are buying a second-hand bicycle, you might want to visit the local police station to store the thing out.
3. Japanese regulation about riding a bicycle
So you are done buying a bike and got it registered, you are more than ready to head out on your bike right? Not really, there are lots of rules that apply to riding a bike in Japan. So to make it easier for you, we narrow down some of the rules that you have to remember when biking in Japan.
- Of Course like mentioned above, your bicycle must have been registered before you are able to use it. So remember to register after buying a bike in Japan
- Not like many of us who drive on the right-hand side of the road, Japanese drive on the left-hand side of the road, and the same thing applies to bicycles.
- Do not ever think of running the red light or riding on a bicycle that does not have a brake, or simply biking dangerously, the fines for riding carelessly are high and serious in Japan. You could end up in prison for up to three months.
- Do not use your bike on sidewalks. That is forbidden to do so unless there is a sign that indicates that you can.
- Headlights and bells are required so make sure you have them installed on your bike.
- Park at the right place. Yes! You must park at the right place that is designed to park your bike.
- Lastly, you are forbidden to carry an umbrella, listen to music, or talk on the phone while riding a bike.
4. What about insurance?
By April 2020, Tokyo authorities have made it mandatory to have bicycle insurance. Normally it will be provided by the store that you bought your bike from. If there is for some reason that the insurance was not provided, go to the nearest police station so you can get it done.
Like any other country, it is pretty simple when buying a bike in Japan when you already know the basic stuff. So what you are waiting for, go get yourself a bike and enjoy cycling in Japan.