Japan’s Ueno Motorcycle District
A pictorial look at the motorcycling centre of Tokyo, Ueno.
Ueno Motorcycle District Tokyo
On a recent trip to Tokyo, we paid a visit to what is considered the centre of motorcycling in Tokyo, the Ueno district. Ueno is an area not far from downtown Tokyo, accessible by train on a JR line, or in our case, via rented pushbike and much bell ringing.
The Japanese motorcycle market is very different to Australia’s, with scooters and small bore bikes dominating the market. Retro styled bikes are also very common. Space is at a premium in Japan, particularly Tokyo, meaning motorcycles, scooters and pushbikes are very popular.
They also have a number of unique styles of ride, a look through the following pictures will illustrate some of these, the most noticable being the modded maxi scooter, and the fat tyred “bobber” style which has been applied to all kinds of machines.
Scroll down the page to view the images and descriptions, or click on any of the thumbnail images below to see full size versions of the images in this article.
Harley meets ute body? Only saw this from a distance, there was a convoy of a dozen or so trikes like this, perhaps some kind of trike club run.
Nice Kawasaki retro styled machine, the W400. Looks old, but is in fact a 2009 model. 400cc is apparently the upper limit after which getting a license to ride equates to climbing Mt Everest. Or maybe it’s the registration. Might have been lost in translation.
Not sure what you’d call this, so I’ll settle for “Honda with fat rear tyre” It is actually a popular style in Japan, based on a Honda FTR230, or the Yamaha TW200.
The maxi scooters are also very popular machines to undergo the Japanese customisers touch. Suzuki Burgmans – known as a “Skywave” in Japan, the Honda Fusion and the wildly styled Yamaha Maxim are the choice of ride. Mods include hot rod style upholstery, lowering and sound systems.
A typical bike shop in Ueno, a lot of the shops are surprisingly old school., much like the bikes shops of the 70s and 80s in Australia. The parts counter guys are just as hard to talk too as well.
Great names abound in Japan, and “Goo Bike” is no exception. I have no idea what this represents, but appears on a number of stores. My attempts to find out were met with bemused smiles and shrugged shoulders of non comprehension. This shop was in a small back street of Ueno.
Corin is a large motorcycle accessories store. It used to known as the Four Floors of..,no, wait..that’s in another country. It used to be a five story megastore, but if that still exists, I couldn’t find it peering at my Iphone map. They sell hardcore hot up stuff as well. Attempting to take pictures inside shops resulted in lots of arm waving, and some shouting in Japanese.
Aliens and bike servicing have always gone hand in glove. At least the guys who service my bike treat me like an alien anyway. Taiyo Motors here appear to specialise in Kawasakis, most under 400cc I’d assume.
Retro is the other big thing. Later model retro style bikes sport 70’s paint schemes. This pair of Kawasaki Zephers look great in their Z1-esque colours.
Small capacity two strokes abound at most of the shops. Old and newer in this shot, with an RZ250r, and its later clone the R1-Z. Just the ticket for carving up Tokyo’s traffic. Parking appeared to be hap-hazard, with motorcycles appearing in pushbike racks, and randomly parked on the footpath, or in business foyers.
Now who wouldn’t love to have one of these beauties in the garage. This is the Honda Fusion, with only the Yamaha Maxam looking more like a Cadillac from the 80s than this gem. The one pictured had a tasteful set of welded Z bars, and a giant pair of stereo speakers in the cabin. No 8 track though.
There was a sprinkling of supersport bikes available, and if you are going to go to that trouble here in Tokyo, may as well grab the race ECU while you’re at it. No point hitting that pesky limiter at only 280 km/h. This was the latest R1 in satin black, wearing a tag of 1.3 million yen, about 15k Australian.
I forget how much this was, but it was cheap compared to the Aussie made versions. This style of bike was more often based on the newer fat wheel TW200, than the older SR singles.
A static display of bikes in a large shopping centre, which is probably a clever way of attracting customers to your shop, which was several suburbs away. From what I could gather someone had raced one of the bikes in the background at the Baja race in Mexico.
New bikes await pre-delivery in the street. Bike in foreground is a Kawasaki supermoto, the 250 D-TrackerX.
Another maxi scooter, a Suzuki Burgman/Skywave. Most of these 250 and 400cc scooters run a fairly loud aftermarket muffler, and a horde of them leaving the traffic lights sounds similar to the start of a supercross race.
What better accessory to go with your new white Skywave, than a matching white leather jacket, proudly proclaiming you as the “Highway Magician”. More power to you.
If you have a trip planned to Japan, and you get the chance, dont pass up an hour or two of browsing this interesting area of Tokyo, Ueno. Just don’t go much before lunch, as a lot of the shops don’t open till 10 or 11 am.