Home Page Forums General Discussion Opinion on shared streets

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  • #9353


    Hi there, anyone who lives in Japan or has stayed/visited a while/often, what is your opinion on the “shared streets” like below?


    ie streets where there is no sidewalk and the curb is at-grade, that cars/peds/bikes can share.

    do you find them easy/safe to navigate? what’s your experience with them vs sidewalks — what is better/worse/comparable about them? are you able to enter/exit places?


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  • #9354



    On my trips to Japan I used a few streets like this, they had mostly people on them where their was shops and rarely any cars. Note that my perspective is from using a manual wheelchair when I visited. One instance that I recall with a car coming down the street wasn’t much of an issue,  saw from a distance the crowd politely parting for a slow moving car, so I positioned my wheelchair off to the side (most roads like this have at least enough room on the side for a person/wheelchair) and it passed by without issue. Never really had issues with cars in general in Japan, actually everyone seems to follow the rules pretty thoroughly.

    I’d say either option is pretty safe and I’ve found most people pretty polite and courteous (very courteous in fact, I’ve bumped people with my wheelchair in crowds and they have apologized quicker then I could!).

    Sometimes these shared streets are better then roads with sidewalks, if only to avoid going up/down curbs, but rural sidewalks can be very hit or miss for usefulness because of design or disrepair. Although sidewalks in the bigger city areas are very nice, and expensive areas even have wider sidewalks (then it’s just the crowds you’re contending with). Navigating wasn’t too difficult, but if you use a wheelchair you may need a little patients to work through larger crowds, so plan a little extra time when possible.

    Personally, the large train stations were the most difficult to navigate at first, but after using them a couple times it became no big deal. So, I wouldn’t stress over the roads to much. Anyway, I hope that helps,


  • #9355



    A lot of the streets around my neighbourhood are like that.  As Schroth Sensei mentioned, they are quite safe – though you should always exercise caution, especially at corners!  I prefer them because I can move more freely in my power wheelchair.

    To answer your question about entering stores/restaurants etc, it can be hit or miss.  One of the reason for steps at entrances is to keep rain water out.  So, if there is no sidewalk, there needs to be elevation at the building and therefore a step.  So, restaurants/shops on sidewalks are less likely to have a step.  The counter-point is that since the owner doesn’t need to worry about blocking a sidewalk, they have more freedom to build a ramp. So, in terms of shopping/eating it is hard to say one is better than the other.

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