With land in Japanese cities at an absolute premium, mammoth parking garages are often eschewed in favour of smaller car parks slotted in wherever they will fit. Suburban car parks are often nothing more than a single empty lot between towering apartment buildings with space for about ten cars.
The return on such a small car park is likely too low to afford to have any staff on a boom gate – or for that matter, any gate at all. If the car park needs to be unmanned, what to do? Here’s a common solution:
Until you pay, the automated toll keeper in front stays firmly up, and the railings on either side make sure you can’t sidle out. Still, if you had a car with pneumatic lifts or a Humvee, maybe you get to park for free. Your typical Japanese box-on-wheels doesn’t stand a chance, though.