Our Experiences of Cycling in Japan
Those who follow my blog will know we try and cycle whenever we travel, we find that exploring a district by bike gives a much better perspective on local colour, sites and culture than driving, plus it allows you to cover more ground than walking. When Jerome was a toddler we would put him in a bike seat and ever since Jerome was old enough to cycle on his own we have made it part of many of our travels. Jerome was able to cycle some distance even from age 5 or 6 – we even made one tour of over 30km in Shikoku when he was that age with only a little help from us. In Japan we have found the environment surprising cycling friendly and this post aims to share some of the hints and tips to consider if you would like to try cycling there.
Cycling in the Cities
Although it would appear to be a busy destination with many cars and lots of traffic we have found the cities in Japan including Tokyo very safe and easy to navigate. Unlike some European cities the streets in the cities are mostly wide with broad pavements (sidewalks) and the local rules allow you to cycle on these which makes the only challenge avoiding the pedestrians and other cyclists. Many cities have also been adding dedicated cycle lanes and routes through quiet side streets, these are finding their way onto the navigation aids like google maps. Using a combination of the cycle paths and pavements (sidewalks) we found the cycling safe and very child friendly, the only disadvantage being the need to wait often at the many red lights for crossing, although this is no worse than cycling on the streets. Most of the cities are full of bikes whether Mama-sans doing their shopping, kids on the way to school or commuters off to the station so you will not be alone on cycles.
We have cycled across all of Tokyo at different times with Jerome from age of around