31 October, 2015

Tiny streets

Tokyo has tiny streets. Many more tiny ones than large ones. When we first moved here we kept wondering when it would "open out" to wider, main roads, and we don't live in the highest density parts of the region. 

The quiet street we lived on in Australia earlier this year is bigger than most of the streets in Tokyo. 

Though I must say that this first photo is smaller than most streets. You can't drive anything motorised down here except a motorbike or moped.
In addition to being tiny, it has power poles on the road! 
This is our road. It has power poles on it too. However, it is
wide enough for vehicles as big as our van to pass, as long as you
don't try to do it at the power pole . . . or at the rubbish disposal
point further up the road.
This was our street in Australia earlier this year.
You don't see this size road in Tokyo
without it being a main road.
This is a major road, two lanes. Speed limit 50km/hr if you can manage it. But the large dump trucks that I shared it with the other week don't fit very well.

Especially when they squeeze a fifth lane in at the lights for turns. Yes I was stopped when I took this photo. Can you see how far that right wheel is protruding into the turning lane?

I've read that 30% of cars in Japan are kei cars or light vehicles and are designated by yellow and black registration plates. It is a special category of small car that is exempt from certain government regulations. They can be only a maximum of 3.4 m long, 1.48 m wide, and 2 m high. With a maximum of 600CC and only four passengers allowed, they're small vehicles. But they are very handy for getting around in the tiny city streets. Not so good on the expressways or in collisions, though!
This is an unusually small kei car!
We drive an 8-seater van, a Nissan Serena. We chose it specifically because it is a little narrower than some vans: its width fits into our carport, allowing bikes to be parked alongside it.

It's very useful and we've often got it filled to capacity with people or stuff. However some days we wish for the days when we could buy a smaller car and not feel so cramped on these tiny roads.

1 comment:

MOM2_4 said...

The tiny roads with all the traffic is one of the things that makes me cringe when we go to Tokyo.