Cycling in Japan: Tips
Here are some basic cycling tips in Japan to help you come prepared and have a smooth journey:
- Cars drive on the left-hand side of the road in Japan so cyclists should also do their best to stick to the left side of the road. There might be times you are forced to ride on the right side or you might see locals burning around on the right side heading into oncoming traffic but we recommend sticking to the left side of the road.
- Cycling on footpaths (sidewalks). In Japan - especially in the cities - you'll see a lot of city cyclists riding on the footpaths if there isn't a dedicated cycling path. Sometimes you'll see a dedicated cycling lane on the footpath so if this is the case then you should use that lane. If there isn't a dedicated cycling path then we recommend riding on the road on the left side so cars can still drive past.
- Helmets - when cycling in Japan - depending on the prefecture - you'll see 99% of the population cycling without a helmet. These cyclists are usually cycling for transportation (to the station, to work, to the supermarket etc) and more often than not they won't be wearing a helmet. This is because in a lot of prefectures in Japan it's not required by law to wear a helmet (crazy, right?). However, you will see cyclists riding road bikes, sports bikes or hybrid bikes with helmets on which is good to see. At RBRJ we highly recommend wearing a helmet while cycling. We understand that by law in some areas it isn't required, however we firmly believe that helmets can save lives. Japan is generally a safe place to cycle but accidents do happen. So in the interest of safety, we highly recommend wearing your helmet at all times.