The Biking Culture of Japan
You cannot argue that the Japanese people are well-versed when it comes to any means of transportation. In fact, when you visit this country you will be amazed at how people can use their prerogatives and strength to make things easier for everyone. And this is where the culture of cycling is rather the norm rather than the exception.
In fact here in Japan, most people own a bike or two. It is a common place scenario for people, even in the concrete jungles of Tokyo – to see people; young and old using bicycles to get to where they want to be. If you happen to walk on the sidewalks, seeing people riding bikes rushing their way beside you is just normal.
Part of Everyday Living
And many other countries have adopted this kind of lifestyle. The “Mottainai (もったいない) mentality” of the Japanese people is something to be admired greatly. This culture means that nothing is to be wasted. Everything in all its form can be utilized, recycled and maximized. With that, biking is a good means to promote health and exercise. It is also good for the environment because it will totally decrease the carbon footprint marks that automobiles emit when they’re being used.
The Japanese people believed that it will save them time, gas, money and effort if they will use bicycles instead of taking the train or to use a car. If you are going to a near distance, say, for example, the supermarket two blocks away from your house, then it is ideal to use a bike.
Moreover, most places have a designated bicycle parking lots which are actually awesome! I haven’t seen any other country who is so much dedicated to making bicycles a part of not only their daily routine but also as a part of their life cycle (see what I mean?)
There are many kinds of bicycles in Japan. There are those designed especially for mothers taking their toddlers or small kids with them. They also have a special plastic shield for protection in case of rain or during the winter season. In order to provide convenience and warmth for children. You can usually find the regular bike with a flower basket attached to it. And what is more awesome is the fact that you can buy second-hand bikes but still of good quality all over Tokyo.
Even in the Kansai areas of Japan, all the more bicycles are used as a daily means of transportation. Taking the train is a little bit expensive in Japan compared to other countries so if you wanted to save some money on your transportation expenses – it would be way more ideal to use a bike for daily transport.
Heed the caution:
When you are in Tokyo, you have to be very careful when and where to place or park your bicycle as it is not allowed to just dump it anywhere you please. If you are a newbie, it would be safe to ask from someone within the vicinity (of your area whether in school, work or at home) if there are any parking areas for your bicycles. Note that even though it is safe in Japan (for most terms), the use of some sort of lock is completely unnecessary at times. However just be cautious where and how you use your bikes.