The Art of Parking, Tokyo Style



Space truly is at a premium in Tokyo, one result of which is that car parking spaces can be extraordinarily expensive, often costing more per month than a small apartment.

Even those people fortunate enough to have their own parking space aren’t always problem-free. Because of the high urban density, people often find that unless they have an ultra-compact vehicle, the parking space isn’t actually big enough to fit their car.

And secondly, what if they have more than one car?

A few main approaches are adopted to cope with these issues.


option 1: create more space

An easy and common solution to the 2-car problem, these double-decker parking platforms can be seen everywhere in Tokyo. A simple button press and the platform raises and lowers.


Why doesn’t the lower car get accidentally crushed? This is why:


option 2: squeeze the car into the small space

Japanese drivers are among world leaders in precision parking, and having an ultra-small car can help immensely.


option 3: let it hang

If the car isn’t short enough – simply get as much into the space as possible and let the rest hang out.

Narrow parking space? No problem! At least not for parking – opening the doors to get in and out is another issue entirely.

Strategically placed cushions help prevent damage.


option 2 + 3: create space and let it hang

Combinations of more than one strategy are used when appropriate.


option 4: the 2-way hang


This owner has a particularly unique problem, firstly because the car (a BMW) is long, and secondly because the house is extremely narrow. Fortunately there’s room for a back-hang too as the house sits next to a canal.


live action

The owner of a compact car completes an effortless squeeze manouvre.



A bus driver in Kobe zips into a narrow space.



And others stick to traditional methods of getting into small spaces.


giri giri parking

It comes as a delightful surprise (although not altogether unexpected) to find otaku existing in the rather niche field of “narrow space parking”.

The blog GiriGiri Parking (girigiri = “only just” or “barely”) delves right in, with photo-documentation of cars squeezed into narrow parking spaces. Each entry is accompanied with statistics including the exact width of car clearance and a score from 0 to 100 presumably based on the degree of difficulty.

It’s quite an entertaining read, not least when one imagines the blogger scouring the streets, hunting for narrow parking spaces to photograph, upload and rank.

(click images to enlarge)


Japanese drivers – precision skills – what do you think?

Please leave comments.

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~ by JapanGasm on 5 February, 2012.

4 Responses to “The Art of Parking, Tokyo Style”

  1. LOL best article yet!

  2. […] The Art of Parking, Tokyo Style (japangasm.wordpress.com) […]

  3. […] de pesquisa e imagens: Japangasm, […]

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