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Private passenger cars in use per 100 households in Japan 2019, by prefecture

In 2019, private car usage per household in Japan was the highest in Fukui Prefecture, with 173.6 private passenger cars in use per 100 households. The national average amounted to just over 105 private passenger cars owned per 100 household during the measured period.

Rural vs urban car usage

While the number of vehicles in use showed a slow, yet 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 transport systems. An alternative, yet popular mode of transportation are 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 to 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 willingness to invest into vehicle related purchases tends to be comparably low across all prefectures. This 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 pay per use. However, as long as public transportation networks do not sufficiently serve rural areas, car ownership rates will likely continue to be high across the Japanese countryside.

Number of private passenger cars in use per 100 households in Japan as of March 2019, by prefecture

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Release date

July 2020



Survey time period

March 31, 2019

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