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About Road Parking Circumstances in Tokyo

In Tokyo, on the street parking for cars is prohibited and is punished by fines and towing away. Also, from April 2009, not only police officers but also private parking attendants are authorized to ticket violators, especially in Tokyo.

When ordinary vehicles park illegally, the fine is 15,000 yen (about $187.50). It is necessary to pay a bigger parking fine, 18,000 yen (about $225), in a no stopping zone.

So, how should one park a car in Tokyo? If you are willing to pay 300 yen (about $3.75), you can park your car for one hour at a public parking meter on the road. But, if you are in the center of town, parking spaces decrease dramatically and it is not unusual to pay 500 yen (about $6.25) for just 15 minutes in a private parking lot.

People try to avoid paying and come up with ingenious plans. For example, in the news on August 17, one person thought of a makeshift means to avoid paying the violation charge and parking fees and, moreover, to pretend he was not parking illegally. He made a “life-sized doll” and sat it in the passenger’s seat to make it look like he was not parking illegally. Of course, it was discovered quite naturally by a patrolling police officer and he had to pay a total of 30,000 yen (about $375) in fines and tow away fees. Surprisingly, this particular transgressor has been caught before doing the same thing!

In Tokyo, the public transportation system is very extensive and one can go almost anywhere by train or bus for a reasonable fee. When coming to Tokyo, I recommend you take a train or bus. Beware, do not rent a car!

September 1, 2011

Katsuyuki Imagawa