Private passenger cars in use per 100 households in Japan 2022, by prefecture
Rural vs. urban car usage
While the number of vehicles in use showed a slow, though steady upwards trend in recent years, many of the country’s residents travel via public transportation. The reliance on cars in Japan heavily depends on the area, with higher usage rates among households from rural regions and below-average car ownership in metropolitan centers with well-running public transportation systems. An alternative, yet popular, mode of transportation is bicycles. Narrow streets, limited parking options, and heavy traffic make car ownership a costly and difficult-to-navigate endeavor for city dwellers. Bicycles bypass suchlike matters and instead provide easy access and low maintenance mobility for daily errands.
Sharing vs. buying cars
Unsurprisingly, residents from rural areas in Japan tend to spend more on cars, yet the willingness to invest in vehicle-related purchases tends to be comparably low across all prefectures. This attitude might open up new opportunities within the domestic vehicle market, such as ride or car-sharing services. Shared mobility services are not only convenient but also easier on the wallet as customers avoid maintenance costs. However, as long as the rural infrastructure does not provide the development of public mobility, car ownership rates will likely remain high across the Japanese countryside.