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To Obtain a Bicycle

  • Inherit your predecessor’s—easy.
  • Ask colleagues about second-hand bikes or recommended shops.
  • Go to the police. They periodically empty their impound lots by selling abandoned/lost/stolen bikes through silent auction. Contact your town’s ward office for dates and times.
  • Buy new at a bicycle shop or home goods store.

To Curb Theft

  • Register your bike, old or new, with the local police or at any bicycle shop. In theory, this will help identify your stolen bike should it be recovered.
  • Buy an extra lock.
  • Insure your bicycle, particularly if it’s a mountain bike. Available for new bikes only and can be arranged at the shop when you buy it.

To Transfer Bicycle Ownership

  • To transfer bicycle ownership from (for example) a former JET to a current JET, download the bicycle transfer form 自転車譲渡証明書 (jitensha-joto-shomeisho) here.
  • Complete the form. In the first section, provide full name, home address, and telephone number of the former owner (transferor). Sign or place a seal (inkan) next to his/her name. 
  • In the middle section, fill out the same information of the new owner.
  • In the bottom section, provide the register numbers, color, maker name, and size of your bicycle.
  • Bring the completed form to the nearest police station (koban). Remember to bring personal identification with you (your residence card). You will have to pay 500 yen to transfer ownership. 

Cycling Laws

  • It is illegal—technically—to cycle while using a mobile phone, umbrella or with more than one person. Everyone does it, but you have been warned!
  • You should ride on the LEFT side of the road going along traffic all the time. It is illegal to ride on the right shoulder against the flow of traffic.
  • It is legal to cycle on sidewalks only if they are marked with the following blue circular sign.130604_bicycle


  • Yield to pedestrians when riding on sidewalks.
  • No riding while drunk.
  • You must ride with a light after dark.
  • Only one person per bicycle.
  • Do not ride two abreast.  
  • Children under the age of 13 must wear a helmet.
  • Bicycle-pushing Zone  In Tenjin, the 400-m portion of the sidewalk on the western side of Watanabe-dori Avenue is designated as a bicycle-pushing zone. Please get off and push your bicycle when you are passing through this zone.

Safety and Good Bicycle Manners

  • Use the bell.  If you are going around a blind corner or coming up on someone from behind you should alert that you are coming.
  • If you are riding through a crowded pedestrian walkway, get off and push your bike
  • Cars often park or even drive on the sidewalk too. Be aware of opening doors!
  • Slow down and take caution when riding past driveways and small side streets. Drivers rarely look for cyclists.