Lesson 2: Parking lots, and parking your car.

Ugh, parking. 

If you’ve driven even a tiny bit in Tokyo, you’ll know parking can be a real pain in the butt.

What’s worse is, if you take my advice from the previous lesson and stay off the main roads, you’ll find the amazing mom ‘n pop shops have no parking lot of their own. 

You’ll have to find a paid parking lot.

Not only does this cost you more money but you’ll then have to deal with the payment mechanisms at the parking lot.

Tire-locking parking lots

One type of paid parking lot you will encounter is a tire-locking parking lot (sometimes referred to as the gate-less parking lot). When you park here, a plate will raise up to lock your car in place until you pay.

Prices vary greatly by location, but one thing you can count on… a payment terminal in Japanese. Luckily most follow the same pattern, here it is:

On the type pad, enter the number of the parking spot your car is in. You’ll see the price come up on the screen, put your money in, collect change, and you’re done!

Pro tip: if you want a receipt for this transaction, hit the green button after you put your money in. This will tell the machine to kick out a receipt for you.

Here is a fantastic YouTube video showing you this entire process.

Be quick!

The locking mechanism will lower, but don’t wait too long to move your car though — it will raise up again if it doesn’t detect your car has moved from the spot.