First person video of a bike ride through Shinjuku, Tokyo

Originally published at:


I miss living in a city where one can bicycle around with relative ease. Bicycling in Tijuana traffic is practically taking your life in your hands.


I was watching a similar video (albeit walking through Shinjuku) the other day. Sparked some great memories (I’ve been to Japan including Tokyo twice).

I noticed on my visits, and I feel it was even more obvious in these recent videos, just how awesome architecture is in Japan. So many of the buildings are unique, and very futuristic-looking, while still maintaining a lot of class and avoiding kitsch (mostly). Obviously the Japanese have a keen appreciation of aesthetics, and I think it’s great how woven into architecture and city planning that sense is.

If you haven’t been over there and have the itch, I can’t recommend a visit more highly. It’s easy to get around, especially these days with things like Google Translate, which really is some insane future tech that makes international travel soooo much easier. Plus a lot of signs and such are in English. Don’t expect a ton of people to speak English, but again, the apps are insanely good at this point.

Also, if you go, definitely take the shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto and spend at least 3 full days there, in addition to Tokyo. It’s simply astounding, and as it didn’t get nearly as leveled as Tokyo did in WWII, many of the historical buildings, temples, shrines, palaces, etc. are still there – mixed in with all the super-cool futuristic buildings. :slight_smile: Tokyo has a little of that, but not nearly so much.


Love it!
I have a ton of unpublished footage from walking around taking photos at county fairs. Trying my best right now to take a year off from work so i can catch up on the 100’s of thousands of photos i’ve taken the past few years and get it all up online.
Here’s a nice sample from last summer at the St Paul Rodeo in oregon:


I’ll second what you wrote - was just there for the first time over the holidays with time in / around Tokyo and in Kyoto and yup - easy to get around, google translate worked pretty darn well, do pick up a pocket wifi, delicious food, etc. etc. Looking forward to a(n as yet unplanned) return trip in the near future.


That’s awesome you had such a great time. :slight_smile: I’ve been a Japanophile since I was a kid, and those visits are some real peak life experiences!


I bought a cheap bike to ride around there for a few days a couple years ago and it was the best experience of my trip. Cycling in Tokyo is super easy. It opens up a ton of places to explore you’d never see otherwise and it’s the safest big city to cycle in I’ve ever experienced. I highly recommend!


I took Japanese for two years at summer camp in Iowa - it was better than not knowing anything but I have a lot of brushing up to do.


I have a video like this from Beijing. It’s a bit more chaotic.


This is the exact kind of cosmopolitan video that makes me wish I was someone who’s not so much me.

1 Like

I see that even in Tokyo you have clowns walking (or parking) in the bike lane.

I bike in New York and there are days when I swear that fully 25% of the city is alive only thanks to the forbearance and quick reflexes of cyclists. (My colleague recently wiped out trying to avoid some idiot who stepped out into the bike lane without looking, and now she says that next time that happens she’s just going to tap her brakes and ride into them. Sure, it’ll give them a fright and maybe some bruises, but it’ll probably lessen her own chances of being seriously injured).

And yes, New York cyclists also act like asshats. For every clueless or entitled pedestrian stepping into the bike lane from between two parked cars while staring at their phone, there’s also some irresponsible jerk on a bike wrong-way slaloming through the crosswalk at twenty-five-per on red. But Jesus, people, get your eyes out of your WhatsApp and just fucking look around you before stepping off the curb: it’s for your own good.

Sorry. Got a little carried away there.


I speak enough Japanese that between my basic grasp of the language and the locals’ rudimentary grasp of English it was relatively easy for me to get around. I couldn’t carry on any deep conversations or anything but I could at least communicate. People are generally understanding and impressed at foreigners even trying to learn the language. (The odd thing is if you’re too fluent as a foreigner, it often arouses suspicion.)


Yeah, it’s the thirty years since those summer camps that makes it tricky…,


A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. My experience was that Japanese people’s default assumption (usually correct) is “The foreigner knows no Japanese” but that if you say the smallest thing in Japanese they flip instantly to “The foreigner speaks fluent Japanese,” and then you’re screwed. More than once trotting out the tiny fragment or set phrase I’d memorized earned me an answering torrent of idiomatic Japanese that I was in no way prepared to handle.

Not to discourage anyone from making the attempt – as you say, the effort is appreciated – but you should just be aware that it can get you into deep waters pretty fast.

The oddest reaction I ever had was being totally ignored. I tried to ask whether I was on the correct platform at a train station and although I’m pretty sure that I was both audible, polite and grammatically correct, the poor woman I tried it on simply stared straight ahead with a “rabbit in the headlights” expression on her face, clearly wishing that the weird-looking outside-country-person would go away and stop trying to talk to her. For the record, she got her wish.

Maybe she wasn’t Japanese? :wink:


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.