Japan on Bike?

Mar 23rd, 2010, 04:19 PM
  #1  
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Japan on Bike?

Greetings again

For my 2011 Japan trip we are considering renting bikes (non-motorized) or motorcycles to expand what we can see during our visit to Tokyo and other Japan locals. Does anyone have experience using a bike in Japan? Does this increase the amount of things you were able to do and see or did it end up being a hindrance?

Also, I have no idea how easy it is to find bikes or motorcycles for rental... If a bike is a good option, would it be cheaper to just buy a low quality one while we are there? Any help is much appreciated!
highcommander is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 04:57 PM
  #2  
 
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I don't know how long you'll be in Japan, but each of the 4 times I've lived there for 5-11 months I've had a bike. I never travelled more than a 5-km radius from my home and used it mostly for shopping. Japan is very bicycle-friendly, and cars give you some respect. Many wide sidewalks have bike lanes.
In Sept 2009 I bought a typical "shopping bicycle" for about $130. I had to search a bit to get 27" wheels, as I'm over 6'. It came equipped with fenders, a headlight, front basket, and built-in lock. But no gears! That was a mistake; next time I'd go back to the 3-speed Sturmey-Archer type that I've had before.
Many bicycles in Japan now have electric motors, reputed to cut pedalling effort in about half.
I don't know about rentals, but in some places used ones are available cheap. No experience (in Japan) with a motorcycle.
WillJame is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 05:00 PM
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Yes you can rent bikes in Tokyo but the subways are the way to get around town. Some hotels may even have bikes to rent or lend if you ask but too many hills and too much traffic for me to ride a bike unless it was in a quiet neighborhood. See the links below for some information

http://www.japan-guide.com/forum/que...y.html?0+60296

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2017.html

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2375.html

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 06:48 PM
  #4  
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Thanks a bunch. There is going to be about 4 of us going and it will be for 2 weeks with at least one full week in Tokyo itself. I think that after reviewing the links about the Subway system (thanks hawaiiantraveler) It would make much more sense to just get day passes for the subway.

1 day pass is as low as 450 yen per person, compared to a minimum of about 600 yen per day for a bike rental and the hassle that comes with availability of bikes and returning it at certain times. The drawbacks come from our inexperience with the subway system which will without doubt cost us some time and confusion during our trip.

We will take a look into bike rental once we choose our second week's location which may not have ready access to subways. Perhaps if the location is too remote we may end up buying used bikes in Tokyo to take with us to the more remote locations.
highcommander is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 06:57 PM
  #5  
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Oh almost forgot... Anyone used a Motorcycle in Japan to sight see? Was it a rental?
highcommander is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2010, 11:35 PM
  #6  
 
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I've rented bikes in smaller towns such as Takayama and Sendai. it was a lot of fun and in a place where there was poor public transport, an easy way to get around.

I wouldn't worry about the subway in Tokyo. You'll figure it out after a ride or two. If nothing else write down your destination, and show it to the human at the gate. They'll likel;y walk you over to the machine and show you how to do it. If you can't get help form an employee, look for a teenager. They most likely will speak some english and help you. Another ruse is to buy the very cheapest ticket in the machine, then get on the train. At the end of your ride, you need to put the ticket in the turnstile to get out...if you didn't pay enough they'll just ask for the balance. And they won't make you feel like you were cheating. Many people do this.
lcuy is offline  
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