Driving in Japan vs. the USA
In the USA, there are no Kei-cars（軽自動車）. I had never seen a Kei-car until I moved to Japan and started driving one for work. When I first started driving in Japan, I always felt like I was moving slowly. At first I thought it was just the fact that I was used to driving on the right side of the road and on the left side of the car, but the feeling persisted long after I had adjusted to driving on the opposite side of the road and car. I then considered that I was was sometimes driving on smaller roads, with less space for cars and more winding roads it made sense that I would be driving a little slower than on most USA roads, but even when I was on the paid highways (こうそく), I felt that it was taking far too long to go such short distances. Then I started thinking about the speed limits, and suddenly I found my answer. As 1 MPH (Mile per Hour) ＝~1.61 KMH (Kilometer per Hour).
Here is a chart to help show the most common driving speeds in the USA vs Japan:
|Areas||USA Speed limits||Japan Speed limits|
|Residential:||15 MPH (24 KMH)||30-40 KMH (18-25 MPH)|
|Undivided Main Roads||35 MPH (56 KMH)||50 KMH (31 MPH)|
|Divided Main Roads||45 MPH (72 KMH)||60 KMH (37 MPH)|
|Freeway Urban||55-70 MPH (88-112 KMH)||70-90 KMH (43-56 MPH)|
|Freeway Rural||65-85 MPH (104-137 KMH)||70-100 KMH (43-62 MPH)|
To put this into perspective, the highest speed limit that I have been able to find in Japan is 90 KMH (about 56 MPH), although I have heard there may be a 100 KMH (62 MPH) limit, I have not seen it, and local Japanese have not seen it either. This is surprising as the paid highways are typically rather straight, well maintained, and decently sized. When driving from Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima to Shinjuku, Tokyo it is approximately 300KM. While driving at current Japanese paid highway speed limits of about 42-49 MPH (70-80 KMH), it would take about 3 hours 45 minutes to 4 hours to arrive, while if going 70MPH (~112KMH), you would arrive in approximately 2 hours 45minutes to 3 hours.
Posted on December 2, 2015, in Japan, Life in Japan and tagged 2014, 2015, 2016, Aizu, Aizuwakamatsu, ALT, application, Assistant Language Teacher, アメリカ, Car, CIR, college, driving, english, 車, 軽自動車, Fukushima, fun, goal, International association, Japan, Japan Exchange & Teaching, JET, JET program, JET Programme, Keicar, kph, life, limit, mind of ryan, mindofryan, mph, Perspective, program, ryan, speed, speed limit, themindofrion, themindofryan, Travel, university, USA, wakamatsu, 日本. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.