Biking Culture in Japan

Japan is one of the most developed countries in Asia, arguably the most developed one in that part of the world. With that naturally comes infrastructure – noticeable too, as Japan has some of the cleanest cars to drive on this planet and some of the most developed public transport solutions available.

Given the nation’s strong economic power and relative stability, one could safely assume that most Japanese drive a car or at least abuse the train system a lot – which is true, mind you, however, many Japanese prefer to use their bicycles. In fact, Japan has one of the strongest and most widely spread biking cultures in the world, and they have good reasons for it too.

First is that it’s so common – in some countries, riding a bike will garner strange looks, whereas in Japan it is very common, similar to many European countries. Unlike those countries however, Japan isn’t all that strict on laws and regulations regarding the use of a bike – many ride without a helmet or lights, sometimes even regardless of the flow of traffic.

This leads us to the next reason – sheer convenience. In Japan, most things you’ll need to access daily will be fairly close, especially when living in a suburban or flat out urban area. While inconvenient to walk for half an hour, on the bike the stores or school might only be five to ten minutes away.

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Next is beauty. Japan is a beautiful country and biking is one of the ways to truly appreciate the scenic views and fresh air many parts of the country have to boast for themselves. Plus, it’s nice to simply stop every now and then, allowing the riders to be flexible in their transportation which riding a car or bus might hinder.

The final reason of note are the existing roads. You can bike pretty much everywhere in Japan as the nation’s roads are generally very well maintained and even have dedicated lanes for bikes, making it all the easier to enjoy the simple, yet healthy and effective, mode of transportation.

 

Image by podiumcafe.com