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Unlike other countries like Singapore, where bicycles don’t need to be registered, owning a bike in Japan entails a far more detailed process than just paying the amount shown on the price tag.

Who can own bicycles in Japan?

As long as you have a registered address in Japan or a zairyu card (residence card), even if temporary or for a short-stay period, you can own a bike. Upon purchasing a new or used bike, you will need these for documentation or registration purposes. Other than those things, you’re good to go in accessing this essential transportation method. You can also opt for an even more temporary bike through rental services, which will be discussed later.

How and where to buy a bike in Japan

Buying a brand new bicycle in Japan is pretty straightforward if you get it from a shop. You pick out the bike that you want and inform the staff of your intent to purchase. They will also recommend the best bicycle for your height and riding lifestyle (whether for daily commute or off-road trekking).

You often have to present an ID and fill out a registration form called jitensha bouhan touroku. The registration form is submitted to the police for filing by the bike shop on your behalf. The staff gives you the original copy of the bike’s ownership form, a yellow sticker of registration which you put on the bike frame, the keys to the lock, and other forms such as discount coupons for future maintenance services. It costs about ¥500 to register a bicycle through a shop.

Your other option is to purchase one online from Amazon or Rakuten. This method is more convenient wherein you don’t need to browse and fill up forms, although you will still need to register your bike at the nearby …continue reading