On Board with Courtesy: Guidelines for Navigating Japan’s Railways

The allure of Japan’s railway system extends beyond its operational excellence, punctuality, and technological advancements.

Its harmonious atmosphere is maintained not just by the railroad operators, but also by the riders who adhere to an unspoken etiquette.

Here are some key manners and precautions to keep in mind when riding the rails in Japan.

1. Silence is Golden: Respecting the Quiet

Japanese trains are noted for their tranquil environment, which passengers strive to maintain.

Speaking loudly on phones or to companions is generally frowned upon.

For longer journeys, consider using earphones at a moderate volume for music or videos, and remember to keep phone conversations brief or step into designated areas if necessary.

2. Order and Patience: The Art of Queuing

Orderliness is a hallmark of Japanese society, and train platforms are no exception.

Passengers patiently wait in designated areas and lines that correspond with the train’s doors.

When the train arrives, allow those disembarking to exit before stepping aboard.

3. Space Maximization: Making Room for Others

During rush hour, trains can be crowded.

If you’re carrying a large backpack, consider placing it on the overhead rack or at your feet to maximize space.

Refrain from sprawling out or occupying more than one seat, and always offer your seat to the elderly, pregnant women, or individuals with disabilities.

4. Eat with Discretion: Mindful Munching

While eating is allowed on long-distance trains and the Shinkansen, it’s considered impolite on most urban and local trains, especially during peak hours.

If you must eat, choose foods that don’t have a strong odor, and dispose of your rubbish in the appropriate bins or take it with you.

5. Priority Seating: Respect and Care

Trains in Japan feature priority seating for the elderly, pregnant women, and people with disabilities.

Unless the train is empty, refrain from occupying these seats to ensure they’re available for those who need them most.

Riding the railways in Japan is a wonderful experience, but it’s important to remember that consideration and respect for others form the backbone of this experience.

By observing these manners, you’ll contribute to the harmonious atmosphere that makes Japan’s trains a global benchmark in public transportation.

So, when you’re on board, remember – every journey is shared, and every passenger has a role to play.