What people see: Like coin parking lots, stacked parking lots are a familiar sight for people who drive cars in Japan’s densely populated and space-challenged cities. However, people who live in the suburbs or people from overseas often don’t understand their necessity, and when they do finally get the chance to actually use one, they may feel like they’ve crossed a threshold of sorts. Read more They were, however, built out of necessity due to the state of Japan’s cities and roads. With the creative ways the systems pack an incredible amount of complex technology into a small, narrow space, the user-friendly design and the omotenashi (Japanese customer service and hospitality) of the operators, these parking facilities can be considered another example of quintessential Japan.
In short: Japan’s stacked car parking lots fit as many cars as possible into a limited space by loading each car onto a single pallet, making sure the car is secured (usually with the emergency brake) and then transporting it to a location underground or to one of the above-ground levels of a tower. They are often located near or in large-scale facilities like department stores in urban areas.