TOKYO, Japan — In a crowded city with a population over 13 million people, vehicles here tend to be on the small and efficient side. Gas is expensive, parking is difficult, and driving is on the left side of the road.
As guests of the Pioneer Corporation, we spent a few days around the capital of Japan and managed to catch a wide variety of automobiles on the streets of Tokyo and its surrounding neighborhoods.
Boxy Japanese cars, vans, and trucks dominate the majority of the city’s streets and highways along with motorcycles, scooters, and bicycles. Many of the bicycles are parked on the sidewalks and are surprisingly unlocked thanks to the country’s low crime rates.
Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics in 2020, so now is a great time to start planning a trip. Summers can get super hot and humid so dress light, bring a bandana, and plan on sweating — a lot. Spring is probably the best time of year to visit if you want cooler weather and to catch the blooming cherry blossoms. Fall is a good time of year for leaf peepers too.
Shibuya is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in and is similar to New York’s Times Square district where the action continues into the wee hours. It’s crowded, packed with bars, restaurants, and shopping centers.
It’s also the best place to catch Ferraris and Lamborghinis roll by with the occasional low riders and Harley-Davidsons too.
Many high-end car dealerships can be found in the tony neighborhood of Roppongi and the city’s largest Toyota showroom can be found across the Tokyo Bay on the man-made island of Odaiba.
Over in Ginza, Nissan Crossing is a great spot to check out the locals and we caught a few cool concepts in its crowded showroom.
The Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo is currently parked in its lobby and despite being three years old now — it still looks pretty fresh.
Akihabara is great neighborhood for cameras, electronics, anime, and people watching. And you can still shop for music at Tower Record stores located in Aoyama, Harajuka, and Shibuya.
If you can’t get used to driving on the left side of the road, the subways are a great alternative to sitting in traffic. Google maps and Google translate come in handy too — Arigatō Google!
Check out our galleries of Tokyo’s everyday vehicles and some of its more interesting automobiles caught in the wild around town.