Tokyo may not be Amsterdam when it comes to reputation, but it’s actually a solid cycling city. Getting around by bike is often a more convenient, quicker and cheaper way to travel than by train. Plus, on the weekends, there are many excellent cycling routes to explore. If you’ve been looking for a new ride but don’t know where to start, we’ve put together a few options for bicycle shops in Tokyo.
Basic Tokyo bike rules
Don’t leave your bike just anywhere: Strolling through Tokyo, chances are you’ll spot some often older-looking fellas decked out in green. These guys are the bike police who patrol the city, tagging and even taking illegitimately parked bikes, which you can collect back for a fee. Tokyo is a lot stricter on this front than other international cities, but at the same time, it’s also more densely populated, so it’s necessary in many areas.
Invest in a poncho: If you want to ride while in the rain, be wary that holding an umbrella while riding will get you in trouble with the police. While it’s often best to avoid riding in the rain in general, a good quality poncho will make your life easier (and drier).
Texting and cycling: If you get caught on your phone while cycling, you could be stung with a pretty hefty fine (around ¥50,000 if you’re unlucky), so best to pull over to check your notifications.
Bikes on trains: In Tokyo, it’s often barely possible to get your own body in a carriage, so just imagining trying to squeeze a bike into the packed Metro. Unlike other countries, bringing your bike on the train is an overall, general no-no.
Get it registered: Bikes should be registered in Tokyo. It seems like a bit of a pain, but it’s also super handy if your bike does get stolen or taken by the bike police. Registration doesn’t cost much (less than ¥1,000), and can often be done when you buy your new bike.
Bicycle shops in Tokyo
Don Quijote: Cheap, cheerful, and convenient
Known colloquially as Donki, Don Quijote is an unofficial icon of Japan. This brightly lit, always messy, garishly soundtracked mega-department-lifestyle-drugstore-supermarket has it all, including bicycles at many of its outlets. While, honestly, the store looks cheap and tacky, the bikes here are of reputable quality (from personal experience). And best of all, if you’re just looking for something basic to get you from A to B, they can be pretty cheap too.
Do be aware that Donki outlets vary in terms of products depending on location, but for something central and failsafe, Shibuya’s MEGA Don Quijote has all your bike needs covered. At this outlet, you can pick up a mamachari (a ladies-style bike with a basket) with a few gears for around the 10,000 yen to 15,000 yen mark. There are higher-end options there too, but it can be a mixed bag. They also sell all the accessories you’ll need: bike locks, lights, and the rest of it. The staff can also register your bike in store, so you can cycle out fully registered and ready to go.
Mega Don Quijote, Shibuya
Tokyobike: Stylish cyclist
Arguably the city’s most beautiful bike store chain, Tokyobike is a bike brand that’s been making waves both locally and internationally, with outposts in the US, the UK, Italy, German, Australia, Thailand and Taiwan. The company was born in the laid-back suburb of Yanaka (near Ueno), and they specialize in elegantly simple, pared-back bikes designed for inner-city cycling.
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Tokyobike have three outlets in Tokyo; Nakameguro, Kichijoji, and Yanaka, the original. Perfect for those who don’t mind spending a little, but also want something simple, the colorful range features 13 different styles—including children’s bikes—both single-speed and bikes with gears. As we mentioned, they’re on the pricier side, but if you’re not too sure whether the investment is the right one for you, you can also rent a bike from the Yanaka outlet for the day to give it a proper test spin.
Cycle Spot: The all-rounder
An easy choice for those who want to explore both the higher-end and cheaper bike options, Cycle Spot is the perfect option. This near-ubiquitous chain has outlets dotted throughout Tokyo’s more residential neighborhoods. The stores are all run by expert staff, who spend their days going between advising shoppers, fixing and repairing well-worn bikes, and helping passersby with their free air-pump service that’s available outside more of the outposts.
In terms of bike selection, the store may vary depending on the location, but in general, they offer a range of big brand names, cheaper bikes for short runs and more technical options for the serious cyclist. They also sell a range of bike equipment and offer in-store registration.
If you buy your bike from Cycle Spot, they also offer a membership (for a small fee), which gives you access to discounted or free bike services (depending on the service). Membership is applicable at all their outlets, which is super handy if you have trouble on the road, as you can pop in to their closest shop.
Cycle Spot Musashi Koyama
Cycle Base Asahi: The casual cyclist
Similar to Cycle Spot, but with potentially a larger range, Cycle Base Asahi is an easy all-rounder for those who want a simple cycle, but the option to choose from a huge selection. One of the main drawcards for city cyclists is the store’s selection of Weekend Bikes, a brand that honestly comes across as a cheaper version of Tokyo Bikes. Weekend Bikes are straightforward city bikes that come in a range of colors but cost about half the price (think 35,000 yen rather than 70,000 yen), so if that’s your vibe, one of their 60+ Tokyo stores are worth a visit.
VanMoof: The bike, elevated
Definitely not for the budget-conscious cyclist, VanMoof is one of the biggest and most reputable names in the electric bike world. In terms of tech, design, and rideability, it’s probably fair to compare a VanMoof bike to a car, so in that respect, it could fit under the “cheapo” category. The Tokyo store is located in the back streets of Jingumae, Harajuku, and at the time of writing, is open to customers by appointment only.
For those unfamiliar with the VanMoof brand, the company was founded in the Netherlands, and the brand’s super-sleek design (no chunky battery pack like other e-bikes), high-tech properties, and stylish online presence has given it a cult following around the world. Also, it may not be so much of an issue in Japan, but the company also promises that if your bike is stolen, the city’s “bike hunters” will use GPS tracking to hunt it down—and if they can’t find it, they’ll replace it with a brand-new ride.
Y’s Road: For the serious cyclist
Looking to spend the weekends out of the city, taking on some mountain trails, or want a superfast bike that can carry you from Saitama to Odaiba in no time? Then it’s probably worth preparing to invest a little and visiting Y’s Road. The store has outlets across the inner city, including Shibuya, Ikebukuro, and Shinjuku.
The store features a huge selection of big-name brands across all cycling styles, but its main appeal is its keen selection of mountain and road bikes. The super knowledgeable staff will be able to help you select your next ride or upgrade your current ride, installing accessories, and the like.
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