When traveling to Japan, we're sure riding on Japan's trains and other public transport can be one thing to enjoy. In today's article, we're going to be talking about Japan's high-level transport system, Tokyo's system in particular.
Even though the system itself is quite difficult to understand, it doesn't mean you can just stop using the train, right?
Do you ever get worried that what is common knowledge in your own home country is very different in Japan? That you may be misunderstood and thought to be quite rude?
Well fret not, in this article, we're going to be explaining all of the tips, tricks, and culture that's known by almost all Japanese people.
Manners When Near the Station
When heading to the nearest station from your hotel, these are the things you should definitely remember and keep in mind:
Do NOT Play Close to the Train Line
When heading to the station with family members, especially younger members, you may come across train lines that you have to cross. These places can be very dangerous, and should never have children or anyone else playing or messing around near them, ensure you also do not put anything down near these lines. The chance of a train derailing is never 0, so ensure you keep a safe distance from the tracks when stopping. The train itself has CCTV equipped, so you will be found out if you're doing any of these things.
Manners When Boarding the Train from the Station
Here's what you need to pay attention to when reaching the station：
1. Check Which Side You're Walking on
Once you've reached the station, you need to find the correct platform, right? Once you're walking towards your platform, you'll probably find some stairs which are quite wide, however, this doesn't mean that you can walk up these stairs freely. People heading towards their platform should stick to the left, and people who have debarked and are leaving the station or heading to another platform will come down on the right. This helps reduce the chance of build-up or other complications.
2. Make Sure to Wait Behind the Yellow Line
When waiting for the train to arrive, make sure to line up, and stand behind the yellow line. Do not stand next to or in front of other people who are waiting for the train.
3. People Debarking from the Train have Priority
When the train stops, there's no need to rush, let the people getting off the train debark first, then get onto the train in an orderly fashion.
4. You Don't Need to Rush
When reaching your platform, there may be times when just as you reach the doors close, do not try and rush to get on the train as it is dangerous. Wait for the next train which will arrive shortly.
When Inside the Train
Up next, we'll share how you should act on the train after boarding.
1. Do NOT Place Luggage on other Seats
A train is a form of public transport which many people use, please ensure you don't put any of your belongings on the seats next to or around you. When you have a lot of luggage, please pay attention to the other people riding the train, and try to use the spaces provided such as the overhead rack.
2. Do NOT Speak Loudly
In large cities in Japan, trains are an indispensable form of public transport, people often use them to commute to and from work, which means there's most likely a lot of people who are quite tired riding on the train. Making sure you're not loud when riding the train is an important manner in Japan. Even during an emergency, please try to refrain from talking on the phone. If you must talk, ensure it's with a small voice. This includes when talking with your friends. If you're listening to music, or something similar, make sure to use headphones and to ensure those around you cannot hear what you're listening to; this is especially true during rush hour.
If you're planning to accept a phone call when riding on the bullet train, please move to the space between carts to take the call.
3. About Priority Seats
On most Japanese trains, certain seats are marked with a color to indicate priority seats. These are typically used for the elderly, injured people, pregnant women, or small children. There are also carts dedicated specifically to women and children during certain hours. When the train isn't that busy anyone can use these seats, however, if there is someone that needs the seat, it's common courtesy to offer them the seat. There is a chance that people that shouldn't have any sort of signals close to them may be in these areas, so ensure your mobile phone is set to silent mode and to not accept any phone calls.
Even if you're not in a priority seat, if you see someone that could use your seat, make sure to offer them it.
4. Do NOT Eat Food
There is a custom in Japan where most people do not eat food outside other than when in restaurants. However, when using the bullet train or the green car, you are permitted to eat food. Normal trains and people commuting using said trains do not permit the consumption of food whilst riding the train.
5. Do NOT Leave Garbage Anywhere Other than a Trash Can
Ensure you take all of your items including trash with you off the train without leaving them behind. You can typically find trash cans on platforms, so throw it away once you debark the train.
6. Don't Do Your Makeup
For women, doing your makeup whilst on a train is considered very rude in Japan. If any of the makeup spills, it could cause issues not only with the train but with surrounding passengers. Most people would get very annoyed seeing someone doing their makeup on a Japanese train. Ensure you do your makeup prior to riding the train.
7. No Smoking
In most of Japan, smoking is strictly prohibited apart from in select areas. Most trains strictly prohibit smoking. Bullet trains typically have a select car/area for smoking, but prohibit it within the majority of the train.
8. Be Careful When Drunk
When traveling on trains in Japan, there's a good chance you may see some drunk salarymen riding home. Even if you're drunk, ensure you don't walk around the train, or fall asleep. Try to drink in moderation so that you don't feel sick whilst riding the train, and ensure you do not start any kind of trouble.
9. Where to Put your Things when Riding a Train in Japan
When riding on a train that's full, make sure to put your backpack on your chest instead of your back. This will ensure people can get off the train much easier. Also, if you have any large luggage such as a suitcase, ensure you hold it tight and keep it close.
How did you find this article? We hope it'll help you with your next trip to Japan.