All bicycles in Japan must be registered for anti-theft registration, and the registration sticker must be affixed to the bicycle. If you purchase a bicycle at a store, they can register your bicycle at the time of purchase.
If you receive a bicycle from a friend, you will need to perform procedures to transfer ownership. Get your friend’s anti-theft registration and bring it to a bicycle shop with the bicycle. They can register the bicycle under your name and affix a new sticker.
If your friend no longer has the registration, have your friend write a Transfer Certificate instead.
If you neglect to transfer ownership, you may encounter problems. If you are stopped by the police, and they find that the bicycle is registered under another person’s name, you may be detained and possibly charged with theft. Never ride an abandoned bicycle for the same reason. Also, never ride a bicycle that is not equipped with a front light or brakes, because that is prohibited by law.
Bicycle parking is permitted only in designated areas. If you park a bicycle in a prohibited area, it may get impounded. You would then need to go to the impound center and pay a fine to get your bicycle back.
Tip:No Bicycle Parking signs
Signs banning bicycle parking are usually written in Japanese as 駐輪禁止 (chuurin kinshi).
On Tokyo Tech Campuses
All bicycles and motorbikes used on campus must be registered. Visit the General Safety Management Center’s website for further information on how to register. Note that bicycles and motorbikes parked on campus without registration will be clamped or impounded.
The National Police Agency provides five safety guidelines for cyclists:
- Cyclists should ride on the street and use sidewalks only in exceptional cases.
- Cyclists should ride on the left side of the street.
- Cyclists must reduce speed on sidewalks and give pedestrians the right of way.
- Cyclists must obey safety rules
- Children must wear a bicycle helmet.
See the National Police Agency Traffic Safety Guidelines for more useful information on safety.
Bicycle Liability Insurance
Bicycle liability insurance covers accidents caused while riding a bicycle, including compensation claims for damage or injury to third parties. From October 1, 2019 in Kanagawa prefecture, and April 1, 2020 in Tokyo, bicycle liability insurance is mandatory for anyone who rides a bicycle in those areas.
Please check whether your own insurance coverage includes bicycle liability and, if not, obtain separate bicycle liability insurance as soon as possible.
Information on bicycle liability insurance with a chart for checking your insurance coverage
- [Tokyo] (Japanese only) https://www.tomin-anzen.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/kotsu/pdf/koutuu/pdf/chirashi_riyousha.pdf
- [Kanagawa] https://www.pref.kanagawa.jp/docs/f5g/documents/english.pdf