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Bicycle thefts in Japan 2017/12/3 05:26
Hey Everyone
My question is about bicycle touring in japan. I gonna have panniers with me and will sleep in tent most of the time and I try to figure it out what should I do with my bags when I have to leave my bike behind like going shopping or visiting shrine, etc. I can lock down the bike but my bags are still stealable.
Some advice would be nice from someone who did something similar...
by Tamasta  

Re: Bicycle thefts in Japan 2017/12/3 10:13
Many train stations have lockers where you could safely store your bags while shopping and sight seeing.
There are also lockable panniers for bikes.
by curious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Bicycle thefts in Japan 2017/12/3 10:20
If you have ever seen a typical lock on a bicycle in Japan (i.e., very very flimsy), you would know that bicycle thefts are rare - but it can still happen. I would not leave anything valuables in the pannier bag, like your passport/wallet/smartphone/etc.. Otherwise, I would just put some kind of lock (like a pad lock) on the pannier bag just to deter any potential thief. Don't make it too easy to steal.

For a long term parking, you may want to utilize coin-operated lockers.
by charin (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Bicycle thefts in Japan 2017/12/3 16:22
Hi Tamasta,
I just completed a two month cycling trip through Japan and nearly never took of my panier from the bicycle nor was there any way how to lock it to the bike. Yes, I took out money, identity card and iPhone when I left the bike, but I left my computer and everything else inside the bag.

I have not visited big cities on this trip.

Japan is a very safe country but also a country with a lot of coin lockers. So if in doubt you can often put your bags into a locker.

But when just cycled around Tokyo for shopping I would normally leave any shopping bags in my open basket while parking the bicycle and going for some more shopping.

Enjoy your cycling through Japan!
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Bicycle thefts in Japan 2017/12/4 02:51
Bicycles do get stolen, but they are mainly mamacharis. I carry a lock (that cost me about 15GBP)that would not slow a determined thief down by any time at all but it shows I've taken the effort. Japan is the most ludicrously safe country I know. As long as the bike doesnt look to be abandoned you should be fine
by Stan Norrell rate this post as useful

Re: Bicycle thefts in Japan 2017/12/4 10:19
For most westerners - when they think their bike has been stolen it's actually been impounded for parking in the wrong location. There are also very rare instances where you might be stopped by a policemen to make sure you bike is not stolen. In many locations, locals need to register their bike and it gets a number. That way - if your bike is impounded they know who to contact.
by mfedley rate this post as useful

Re: Bicycle thefts in Japan 2017/12/4 15:53
@Mfedley is right that you should register your bike if you are a resident. As a visitor there is no need or indeed mechanism to do so. I have pictures on my phone of the bike in my home country (and elsewhere) that I can show a policeman if the need arises. If you do not look Japanese it unlikely that it will.
by Stan Norrell rate this post as useful

Re: Bicycle thefts in Japan 2017/12/5 00:51
If you have ever seen a typical lock on a bicycle in Japan (i.e., very very flimsy), you would know that bicycle thefts are rare

Bicycles do get stolen, but they are mainly mamacharis.

Neither of the above is true according to my experience among many others. Japan may be safe, but people commonly steal bicycles (and umbrellas) like it's nothing. Fancy bikes even tend to get broken into pieces. Sure, I never had a hardcore lock on my bike, but I knew they are going to steal it regardless of the type of lock.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Bicycle thefts in Japan 2017/12/6 21:26
As I live in Japan and have been for a long time, I need to mention this as it could be helpful to many foreigners in the future.

I don't know about Tokyo or bigger cities, but I live in Shizuoka City and I have had my bike stolen before.

Sometimes bicycle thieves will use chain cutters to cut bicycle locks, but isn't common where I live (don't know about Tokyo).

The one time I have my bicycle stolen I forgot to lock it and I came back later and it was gone. Here is the thing wasn't really stolen as much as it was "borrowed" most likely by a drunk salaryman. The reason I believe this is because I found my bicycle 2 days later parked outside an electronics shop nearby where it went missing in the first place.

I later told many different Japanese friends about this situation and they all told me they had the same experience and that but bicycles weren't taken by a serious thief, but from someone who was drunk at the time and that this is "a thing" here in Shizuoka City.

Anyway, you will not really need to worry if you make sure you keep the bicycles locked and you memorized the registered number or just take a photo of it to be safe.
by blondesurferboy rate this post as useful

Re: Bicycle thefts in Japan 2017/12/7 08:55
it wasn't really stolen as much as it was "borrowed"

That's true, and you're very lucky since it truly seemed to be. Most of the time, bikes are "taken" and then abandoned at a far away place often about 5 kilos away where there are no convenient trains, at least around the hour when the bike was taken. Then it's either that it's found and you need to go take it, which is indeed lucky, or it will be abandoned in private property where the police can legally do nothing, ruining that property.

I even had a local friend, a very serious person, coming home from a bar and a stranger telling him, "Here. You can take this bike. I just stole it anyway." The friend did take it and used it for a while.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Bicycle thefts in Japan 2017/12/7 15:16
I will have a proper lock for the bike but I am worry about my bags. Easy to steal them but hard to protect.
by Tamasta rate this post as useful

Re: Bicycle thefts in Japan 2017/12/7 15:51
Ifdid not worry and nothing happened to my bags in 2 months of traveling. I do not know why everyone went off topic but it would not be common for a drunk Japanese salaryman to steal a fully loaded up and locked bicycle or to take off the panniers. People steal bicycles for a ride home but it is more like taking a bike that is not locked (quite common that people donft lock there bicycles or it is a bike that was already stolen by someone else in the past). Drunken salarymen donft come with tools to break a lock.

I was ever only wary (about my bags) in very touristic areas because of the foreigners. I know, this is racist, but thatfs how I felt. But even there nothing ever happened.
The only thing that ever got stolen in 2 months were 4 biscuits and the culprits were some crows. If you travel through bear territory you should also take special precautions around your food, as a bear might see a biscuits as a nice antipasto prior to taking a chance at some tasty cyclist legs.

I did not meet a lot of other touring cyclists in Japan. But the few time I saw people with bags on the bicycle they also just parked the bicycle like that without further precautions.

You could probably even leave your valuables on the bike, but I would take those with me for peace of mind. I had a very compact hand bag were I could put in my purse, phone and credit cards while walking around.
by LikeBike rate this post as useful

Re: Bicycle thefts in Japan 2017/12/8 18:11
I used drunk salarymen as an example of people who often take unlocked bikes...not ones that cut bike chains to seriously steal.

I thought it was clear that real thieves will sometimes actually cut your bike chain not salarymen.
by blondesurferboy rate this post as useful

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