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    Exploring Tokyo's Hidden Gems on Two Wheels: A Guide to Tokyo Bicycle Tours

    By Nick Whitfield

    March 23, 2023

    Exploring Tokyo's Hidden Gems on Two Wheels: A Guide to Tokyo Bicycle Tours

    Are you a bike lover or looking for a creative way to explore Tokyo, Japan? Tokyo is an exciting and vibrant city with endless opportunities for exploration, and what better way to experience it than on a bicycle tour? While City Unscripted doesn't offer specific bike tours, you can customize your Tokyo tour to include bicycles by expressing your preference to your tour guide. 

    Joining a bike tour allows you to see more of the city without being completely restricted by being on foot. While exploring the entire city of Tokyo on a bike would take much longer than most tours provide, if you're simply looking to visit a specific district or area, doing so on two wheels is a convenient and fun option.

    In this article, we'll answer common questions about Tokyo bicycle tours and provide tips to help you plan your adventure on two wheels.

    Key Takeaways
    • Tokyo, Japan, is a bikeable city with many bike trails and biking lanes to support cyclists.
    • Many tours are customizable, and you can request to perform the tour on a bicycle rather than on foot.
    • Having a special biking license or insurance is not required to ride a bicycle in Tokyo.

    Key Takeaways

     Key Takeaways


    Tokyo: Great Cycling Tour City

    Tokyo is a sprawling metropolis that may seem overwhelming initially, but it has made significant efforts in recent years to become more bike-friendly. Biking in Tokyo allows you to explore at your own pace and experience the city uniquely and excitingly. You don't have to worry about not having designated biking areas throughout the city. With over 400 kilometers of bike lanes and rental stations throughout the city, biking can be a convenient and enjoyable way to get around. It allows you to discover areas inaccessible by car or train. 

    If you decide to join a Tokyo bike tour, your guide will help you stay safe by explaining some of the basic safety rules for bicyclists in the city and help guide and direct you throughout the tour.

    Are you traveling to the city for the first time? Well, it's no surprise that getting lost may be on the agenda. But, with the help of a tour guide, you don't have to worry about getting lost or veering off track.

    man riding a bike on a city street

    Many people who have traveled through Tokyo missed the picturesque riverside bike paths that provide a beautiful, scenic view of the city. Whether you plan on joining a half day tour or one of City Unscripted's full-day tours, adding a bicycle allows you to see much more than you would while on foot. 


    Is Tokyo a Bikeable City?

    While Tokyo may not be as bike-friendly as some European cities, it is becoming more bikeable with its efforts to improve its bike infrastructure. Biking can be a great way to get off the beaten path and discover hidden gems in Tokyo's neighborhoods. However, following traffic laws and being aware of your surroundings when cycling on the road is important. Consider renting a bike if you're staying in central Tokyo or any other city area. 

    If you're planning on visiting the Tokyo station, Tokyo bay, Meiji Jingu Shrine, Yoyogi Park, the Tokyo metropolitan government building, or the Tsukiji Fish Market, take the faster route and more immersive experience of bicycling.

    There are ways for you to store your bike and keep it safe at most attractions because biking is such a huge part of Japanese culture.

    Finding the Perfect Time to Cycle in Tokyo

    City Unscripted offers many Tokyo tours, all geared towards providing you with the best possible experience regardless of your preferences and desires. Whether you're interested in joining a food tour, a sightseeing tour, or a tour exploring the city's hidden gems, there are plenty of options for everyone. When booking a tour, ask your host if they can accommodate your biking needs. See if you can turn your exploration into a small group cycling tour led by a local guide through the bustling city of Tokyo. The itinerary for each tour can be fully customizable for your preference, so all you have to do is let your host know that you prefer your private tour to be on two wheels, and they can make the necessary accommodations. 

    Outside of City Unscripted's best bike tours, there are many other places that you can travel to in your free time on a bike. 

    Finding the best bicycle route in Tokyo can be a thrilling experience, and it ultimately depends on your interests and preferences. However, some routes, such as the Arakawa River Cycling Road, are more popular than others. This route boasts breathtaking views of Tokyo's skyline and a peek into the city's industrial heritage. Another popular option is the Tamagawa Cycling Road, a local favorite that winds through residential areas and parks. If you're looking for a peaceful and scenic ride, consider cycling around the Imperial Palace and its surrounding parks for a unique experience.

    a view of a busy city street during the evening

    Whether you're a seasoned cyclist or a beginner, Tokyo has an array of bicycle routes to suit all skill levels and interests. So, hop on a bike and explore the city's many hidden treasures and sights that can only be experienced on two wheels.

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    Do People Lock Their Bikes in Tokyo?

    Yes, it's common practice to lock your bike up in Tokyo. Much like in any other large city, bike theft is an issue and can happen anywhere.

    When renting a bike, you'll be provided with a bicycle lock to keep it safe while you enter restaurants or spend a little time shopping.

    You don't want to leave your bicycle unlocked even if an area seems safe. Having your rented bike stolen during your tip means you'll have to pay to replace it. 


    Are Bicycle Helmets Required in Tokyo?

    Are you traveling with children? If so, you will want to ensure they wear a helmet while exploring Tokyo. It's recommended for anyone ages 13 and under to wear a helmet. But this also means that adults aren't necessarily required to wear helmets while operating a bicycle. Just because it's not law, that doesn't mean you should avoid wearing one, especially while riding through the busy streets of Tokyo.

    Many other cyclists and motor vehicles will be traveling alongside you, and you won't be familiar with the streets and districts.

    Consider renting a helmet alongside your bicycle to keep you safe while touring the city.

    No matter what age you are, accidents can happen, and it's important to always practice elevated safety measures and precautions while traveling to a new city or country.

     a cycling helmet placed on a bench

    Do You Need a Bicycle License for Biking in Tokyo?

    No, you don't need a special license to ride a bicycle in Tokyo. If you live in the city, you must register your bicycle with the local authorities before using it. When renting a bicycle, you don't have to worry about this. The company you rent from already has it registered with the city because it's under their ownership.

    While having a special license and the need to register may not apply to you, you should know a few things to stay in good standing with the law while biking in the city. 

    There are fines for biking while drunk, similar to drunk driving. So, staying aware and sober-minded while touring the city is important, which may be a challenge if you're on a sake-tasting tour or any other tour that includes alcoholic beverages.
    Japanese sake and various other drinks

    Also, using your cell phone or wearing headphones while riding your bicycle isn't allowed. 


    Do You Need Bike Insurance in Tokyo?

    Consider purchasing travel insurance for your trip that can cover any necessary accidents. Even though this insurance isn't required, it's always a good idea to have some form of insurance while traveling to a new city, especially if you plan to do anything physical, such as biking. Tokyo law doesn't require you to have biking insurance. 


    Is it Better to Bike, Drive, or Train in Tokyo?

    The best mode of transportation in Tokyo depends on your destination and personal preferences.

    While biking can be a convenient and enjoyable way to explore the city, driving can be stressful due to traffic congestion and limited parking options. Public transportation, including trains and buses, can be a quick and efficient way to get around, but it can also be crowded during peak hours.

    a busy crosswalk

    Is it Illegal to Ride a Bike on the Sidewalk in Tokyo?

    While riding a bike on the sidewalk in Tokyo is not illegal, it is generally discouraged for safety reasons. This is why it's important to have a local guide helping you along your travels to help keep you safe and aligned with the local bicycling culture and procedures. Some areas of the city may have designated bike lanes or cycling paths, and it is recommended to use these when available. Depending on where you go, there are likely to be both local and tourist crowds for you to navigate around, many of whom use the sidewalks. 



    Tokyo offers endless opportunities for exploration, and a bicycle tour can be an exciting and unique way to experience the city. While City Unscripted does not offer specific bike tours, you can customize your tour to include bikes by expressing your preference to your tour guide.

    Consider adding a bicycle to your small group tour, whether you're joining a half day tour or one of the full day tours offered.

    With its improving bike infrastructure, rental stations, and beautiful parks and scenery, Tokyo is becoming more bikeable and is a great destination for cyclists of all levels.
    a man riding a bike trought the city

    So, why not unleash your sense of adventure on two wheels and discover Tokyo in a new and exciting way? Review the available tours on City Unscripted, book your tour, and contact your guide to let them know you prefer to see the city on two wheels. Stay active while traveling, and see a side of Tokyo that only those who bike can enjoy! 

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