5 Things need to Know When Cycling in Japan

  • -

In recent years, cycling boom come in Japan, and many tours around the city and the city by bicycle have been held as one of the sightseeing.

Also, it seems that more and more people are coming to Japan from abroad to cycle not only on tours but also on the “Shimanami Kaido” and “the Japan Alps”.

In this article, I will introduce five things to keep in mind when cycling in Japan. I have ridden a bicycle in Japan and the world.

Recommended for these people!↓

  • Those who want to cycle in Japan.
  • Those who want to explore the city by rental bicycle.
  • Those who want to ride a bicycle but are unsure about the rules.

Run on the left & on the road

According to the Road Traffic Law, bicycles are positioned as “light vehicles” in Japan. Therefore, basically you will run the same road as the car and drive on the left side.

It is also allowed to run on the sidewalk, so if you are afraid to drive on the roadway, you can use the sidewalk.

In that case, plese drive slowly because pedestrians have priority.

Avoid national highways in big city

In Japan, sports cycling has a shallow culture, and you may find it difficult to ride a bicycle due to the narrow roadway.

In particular, the national roads of large cities (Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya) have many traffic lights and very heavy traffic, so it is safer to avoid them.

Not only is it hard to drive, but it can be dangerous.

Instead, there may be cycling roads along the river, or bicycle paths may be designated for each district.

It’s best to ask the locals, but you can also check with tourist offices and city websites.

Road signs to watch out

There are some marks to keep in mind as you drive down the road.

This indicates that the bicycle cannot pass. It is often located at the entrance of highways, car-only roads and narrow tunnels.

This is a stop sign. It is often seen at intersections, and if you pass through it as it is, there is a risk of accidents, so be sure to stop temporarily.

This is a one-way sign. Bicycles are also considered vehicles, so be careful not to go in the wrong direction.

This sign shows that you can ride a bike on the sidewalk. It is a mark that you often see in town.

Points to note about camping

Some cyclists may camp. Basically, wild camping is not prohibited in Japan.

There are also people who sometimes camp for free at “roadside stations” and riverbeds.

However, camping is sometimes prohibited in public places (parks and playgrounds), and in other cases, neighbors often call the police .

If you want to camp, I recommend the campsite for safe. In Japan, it costs around 2000 to 4000 yen, and there are many facilities such as water supply, cooking place, shower and toilet.

Depending on the location, there is also a place that is equipped with a power supply and Wifi.

Also, when it’s raining, the “Internet Cafe” is very convenient. You don’t need to make a reservation and you can use it for about 1500 yen per night.

Many internet cafes offer all-you-can-drink soft drinks, light meals, power supply and wifi, and shower. Recommended if you want to stay cheap in the room.

Be careful about hydration and food

Basically, you can find convenience stores anywhere in Japan, but be careful about relying too much.

Japan has a lot of up-down compared to other countries, and depending on the location, there are some tens of kilometers of unmanned sections. Also, especially in summer, it is a hot and humid climate, so you must be careful about heatstroke and dehydration.

Basically, you can drink tap water as it is, but there are places where the tap water does not run, so you need to prepare water depending on the route you run. (I once ran 80km in Hokkaido without replenishment and became dehydrated.)

5 Things need to Know When Cycling in Japan

Japan is surrounded by the sea but has many mountains, and the scenery that changes with the seasons is very beautiful.

Please take note of the above and enjoy cycling !

Click here for Japanese cycling courses ↓


The characteristic points of Nagano prefecture are a fusion between affluent nature and Japanese traditional lifestyle. Nagano is constructed in many town and village, where have originality. These regions have a different history, different culture, different nature, we can feel a side of Nagano as a treasure box.

Northern Alps in Nagano


”NAGANO TRIP” is sightseeing contents site to offer tourist information about Nagano prefecture in Japan. People who are interested in Nagano can learn and know about sightseeing contents before visit Nagano. In addition, visitor can learn and enjoy while traveling and after the trip.

  • -