It's a good way to explore a new town by bike.
You can go narrow back streets which cars cannot go in.
It's always good to know local rules and regulation to respect local culture.
Here I can tell you rules you may want to know before ring a bike in Japan.
Bikes go on the left side
You may drive a car or ride bikes on the right side in your counrty but here in Japan we go on the left.
We used to bike on the predestrian ways, so still you will see a lot of people go on the side walk.
However, now bicyles are supposed to go on the rodad with motor vehcles.
Bike lanes are not large enough
Since bike lanes are added recently, the lanes are usually narrow. Thry were just pained on the roads suddenly without any expanding constructions.
So it's not congotable and safe to go on a rode with cars in many places.
Also, there are a lot of cars stopping on the bike lanes. Then, riders have to go closer to the center of the road. This is not very confortable.
In some cases, bikes can go on the side walk
There are some exceptions for side walk riding. Children and elderly people can go on the side walk. Also if you feel unsafe to go on the road, you wan go on the side walk.
However, pedestrain ways are primaly for pedestrians. So riders have to be very gentle to walkers. You have to go very slowly and pass pople with great care.
Is helmet necessary when cycling in Japan?
Japanese goverment decided to make helmet almost mondatory.
It's really Japanesesy way and it's called "duty of effort".
It's really funny but Japanese goverment is very serious.
It means wealing helmets are almost mondatory and people are supporsed to make an effort to wear a helmet.
However, even if you don't make enough efforts, there is no punishment or fine, so not many people follow those roules.
We see students and polices officers wear helmets recenty though.
I don't suggest you not to weare a helmet. It will protect your head from serious injust, so it's defineterly better.
How your make right turn at a large intersection?
When you are making a right turn in a big crossing, first you need to go straigt and stop. Then your direction and wait until traffi light changes. After the light turns green, you can go straight.
So it means you can cross the intersection in two steps. I think this roule is the same in many countries.
Headphones are prohibited when riding a bike.
When you are on the bicyle you shoudl focus on just ring a bike. If your ears are plugged, you cannot hear sounds around you and cannot respond immidiaterly.
It could cause seripos accidents.
No riding a bike when you drink alhole
Japanese people are intolerant of the act of driving vehicles under alcohol influence. There is no exceptions for bicycles too. In your counry, maybe you can have a can of beer while riding bicyle or driving a car. But here in Japan it's totally illegal and you woun't be helped if you make an accident under alchole infulence.
Japan is known as a counry where openair drinking is legal. However, there is unwritten common rules about drinking.
Please enjoy drinking after finishing your ride.