Discover bicycles and special rules in Japan

Tremendous advances in transportation technology have brought significant development to the means of transport. However, in Japan, bicycles still hold an important position and are strongly favored.

Jun 20, 2023 - 11:54
Discover bicycles and special rules in Japan

Here Injavi introduces you to an exciting adventure in the world of Japanese bicycles and the strange laws involved.

Bicycles are still a very popular daily vehicle in Japan, used by everyone from schoolchildren, students, officials to housewives and old people. The Japanese cycle simply for many different purposes - to work, to the market, to take their children to school or just to enjoy the fresh air. Picture a bike ride on the streets filled with cherry blossoms in spring, along with pink petals gently falling from above. It was truly an unforgettable experience.

When visiting Japan, you will easily notice the popularity of rental bicycles at many tourist destinations. This is a convenient and cost-effective option for exploring cities and small towns, especially when the attractions are far apart and not within walking distance.

Bicycle rental shops are usually located near train stations. Some stores require you to make a deposit or provide photo identification. They may also ask for your address and phone number.

The most popular type of bicycle for rent in Japan are the mamachari - simple bikes, equipped with a basket or child seat, a simple lock, and only one gear. In addition, there is also a choice of higher-end models with multiple gears or power assist. However, mountain bikes and road bikes are rarely rented.

As with any other rule, it is important to understand the rules of cycling in Japan. For example, you should always stay on the right side of the road and keep a reasonable speed. In particular, it is worth noting that the use of mobile phones while cycling is prohibited. This is to ensure the safety of all road users.

Bicycle parking is also an important issue. In Japan, there are many public bicycle parking lots with thousands of parking spaces. It is worth noting that you must park your car in the right place and avoid breaking the rules to avoid being stolen or tagged with a violation ticket.

With a combination of diverse tourist culture and bustling Japanese lifestyle, a bike ride will be an experience to remember. Experiment and discover the beautiful streets and wonderful moments of everyday Japanese life.

-> Japanese Vocabulary: Bicycle


Here are some key rules you need to be aware of:

  • Ride on the right: Bicyclists must ride on the right side of the basic road, similar to cars and motorbikes.
  • Driving: Bicyclists must control the bike with their left hand and place their right foot on the pedal. Riding with your right hand or not keeping your foot on the pedals may be an offence.
  • Ban on the use of cell phones: Bicyclists are not allowed to use cell phones while driving. This is to ensure concentration and avoid traffic accidents.
  • Park your car in the right place: When parking, you must comply with the regulations and park in the permitted areas. Avoid parking in places where parking is prohibited or obstructs pedestrians and other traffic.
  • Lights and reflectors: When cycling at night or in low light conditions, you must have headlights and taillights. There should also be reflectors on vehicles and on people to increase visibility from a distance.
  • Bicycle lanes: On some major routes, bicycle lanes may be available. You should use this reserved road correctly to ensure safety and avoid violating traffic regulations.

These are just some basic rules and do not cover all of the bicycle laws in Japan. For detailed and accurate information, you should consult legal sources or consult an expert on bicycle traffic regulations in Japan.


Below are some common penalties for bicycle-related traffic violations in Japan. Note, however, that penalties may vary by region and specific situation:

  • Driving Violation: If you don't follow the rules on how to ride your bike (e.g. steer with your right hand or don't put your foot on the pedals), you could be fined.
  • Violations of lights and reflectors: If you don't have the required headlights, taillights or reflectors when cycling at night or in low light conditions, you may be fined.
  • Right-hand driving violation: If you don't ride on the right side of the basic roadway, you could be fined.
  • Parking Violation: If you park your bike where parking is prohibited or obstruct other traffic, you may be fined or forced to move the vehicle.
  • Using cell phones: If you use a mobile phone while riding a bicycle, you may be fined.

Note that specific fines and regulations regarding bicycle traffic violations may vary by region and specific situation. For detailed and accurate information on penalties, you should consult legal resources or consult an expert on bicycle traffic laws in Japan.

Injavi "InJavi" is a website that provides information for foreigners to enjoy life and visit in Japan more smoothly. This website is easy to use even for first-timers to Japan and those who are not very good at Japanese, and supports multiple languages.