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Japanese Technology | Hunt & Hawk

Japanese technology is the best. 

Sometimes quirky but always so innovative.

We particularly love the innovations that are eco-friendly and/or socially responsible.

A prime example is the country’s super funky underground bike parking stations.

Recently, we featured new tech coming out of Melbourne to help prevent e-scooter misuse and other issues.

But this has nothing on Japan’s bike-related tech. And we’re talking about an innovation that’s been around for a decade.

Bicycle use is massive in the Asian hotspot, as it is elsewhere in the world – like another top spot, Amsterdam.

Japan has more than 80 million bikes, and travelling on two wheels is a popular way to commute. With those numbers, it’s hardly surprising that a lack of available parking space is a constant issue – particularly in the country’s densely populated centres.


Woman riding a bicycle in Tokyo, Japan.

Japan is home to an estimated 80 million bikes. Credit: Dovile Ramoskaite on Unsplash.

Japanese Technology Goes Underground

Enter ECO Cycle, an intricate and spectacular automated mechanical underground bike parking system, developed by local tech company, GIKEN.

How does it work?

Well, using IC card and IC tag technology, registered users alight at one of the designated parking stations, punch in their password on a touch panel, place their bike on a loading rail, and press a button.

From there, the doors of the parking station open, and their bike is transported underground at furious pace via a completely automated lift mechanism that looks like something out of a sci-fi movie. It’s insane!

The whole process from press of button to bike resting point takes a mere 10 seconds or so to complete. Amazing.


Plans for a Global Rollout?

Better yet, it’s equally efficient for users to retrieve their bikes when required.

Aside from helping to combat a space shortage, the parking stations protect bikes from adverse weather and theft – although the latter is less of an issue in Japan.

About 50 of the parking ‘lots’ are currently dotted around Japan, and there are reports of a global rollout.

Once again, Japanese technology leaves a lot to be admired.


Male cyclist riding through the CBD in Melbourne, Australia.

It’d be great to see this Japanese technology introduced in Australia. Credit: Mitchell Luo on Unsplash.

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