Where can you park your bike in Tokyo? Churinjo 駐輪場 or Churin Kinshi 駐輪禁止

If you are a new resident to Tokyo, you may have bought a bike and are having fun riding it around your neighborhood or using it to commute to work – but do you know where to park it? Do you know where to NOT park it? What happens if you park it illegally and it gets taken away?

It can be daunting – especially for someone new to Japan that has trouble reading Kanji. In this mini-guide – we will show you what Kanji you need to know to understand bike parking rules in Tokyo.

Where NOT to park in Tokyo – Churin Kinshi 駐輪禁止

Well first things first, what places are off-limits from parking?  MANY places – and all of them will normally have a clear marker / sign / traffic cone – letting you know loud and clear that you are not allowed to park there.  You will see the kanji 

Churin Kinshi 駐輪禁止 – No Parking Ban / Where you cannot park your bike

The chances that you will bump into a blue parking cone, or a no parking sign with these Kanji are virtually guaranteed. They are EVERYWHERE in Tokyo.

This can often be frustrating as they normally appear very close to stations – or areas that would be very convenient for parking your bike when you are running errands or relaxing while riding around on your days off.

The temptation to ignore these signs and pretend that you don’t understand what the “bicycle with a giant X through it” symbol means can get quite large.

You may even see other people ignoring these signs.

Where NOT to park in Tokyo - Churin Kinshi 駐輪禁止
Someone ignoring a bike parking sign.

This can all be quite confusing. Why do other people do this and why should you not? Why is the world unfair?  These are very good questions.

Each of Tokyo’s 23 wards have different standards around bike parking and different areas have more stringent policies towards what they are willing to ignore.

The bicycle in the photo is someone who figured that they would either be back in time before someone could catch them, or if someone did catch them, they would only receive a warning and not have their bike removed.

Having your bike towed in Tokyo is not fun. You have to find where the illegally parked bike lot for that area is located and then go there to retrieve your bike in person, often in a location that is hard to find and far away from any major train station.

And at some major train stations there are more than one illegal bike parking lot – so asking someone locally may result in a wasted trip to the wrong location.

Additionally, each area has different staff that can decide whether or not they want to simply place a warning paper on your bicycle or actually have it removed.

For this reason, taking the extra time and energy to find a visitor parking lot / pay parking lot is worth the extra ten minutes it takes.

Churinjo 駐輪場 – The correct place to park your bike

Churinjo 駐輪場 - The correct place to park your bike

If you want to be better safe than sorry, you should park your bike in a Churinjo or 駐輪場 – (a shortened version of bicycle parking lot in Japanese).

Most train stations will have a nearby bicycle parking area where you can pay for 1 day use or by the hour, many of these parking lots are automated or have a kiosk with a staff attendant that will help you to rent a parking space.

If you need help finding a parking lot for your bike in Tokyo, you can normally find a list of usable parking lots on the official city ward website.  Shibuya as an example http://www.city.shibuya.tokyo.jp.e.mu.hp.transer.com/est//bicycle.html#1

(Note: Downloading the list ahead of when you need it may be a good idea, as the websites for most city wards are not very mobile friendly and many of the pages that are in english can be in PDF format. Which can be hard to read on certain mobile devices.)

For many of these parking lots you will see the following kanji appear on a sign that also has a list of rates.  

Churinjo 駐輪場 - The correct place to park your bike - Timing

一時利用(Ichiji-riyou) – Hourly/Temporary Parking

当日利用(Toujitsu-riyou) – Use on the Day

一日利用(Ichinichi-riyou) – One Day Use

It may also be helpful to understand how to ask the attendant for daily or hourly use.

一日利用 を申し込みたいのです – Tsuitachi riyō o mōshikomitai nodesu

I would like to apply for a daily use.

一時利用を申し込みたいのです – Ichiji riyō o mōshikomitai nodesu

I would like to apply for temporary use.

So if you are able to read these Kanji – you should have an easier time when you need to find a place to park your bike in Tokyo!

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