Riding a train in Japan is just the same when riding a train in any country. If there are differences, maybe just a few. Below, we listed 11 Tips that you should and you shouldn’t do when riding a train in Japan.
11 Tips of Do’s and Don’ts when riding a train in Japan
1. Don’t Smoke
Smoking is not prohibited in Japan but you can’t smoke anywhere in this country. There are designated or specific places that you can smoke, definitely Train Stations and Trains are not one of them, and it is a BIG NO. But as they say, “in every rule there is an exception”, there are some trains that has special smoking area/cars like the Shinkansen.
2. Wait Behind the Yellow Lines
Train stations in Japan have yellow lines before the train way. You should always wait behind the yellow lines patiently.
3. Phones Should Be in Manner Mode (マナーモード)
You may be wondering what “Manner Mode” is. Manner mode is the equivalent of silent mode in Japan. I find it wonderful and useful that they called it as Manner mode which is easy to understand. To prevent disturbing other passengers on the trains, you should turn your phone in Manner mode or silent mode. Most of the time, this is also announce on the train.
4. Refrain from Talking on Your Mobile Phones
Talking to someone on your mobile phone while at the train stations or on the trains is not practiced in Japan. This is one is pretty obvious because you can see signs and it is also announce on the train. This is to prevent other passengers that you may annoy while talking on the train. Maybe, it’s okay to answer it but for just a few seconds and maybe you can tell the caller by whispering that you will just callback once you’re not in the train anymore.
5. Remain Quiet
When you ride a train in Japan, you will notice that passenger generally stand or sit quietly. It is considered to rude when you are being too loud and you are already disturbing to other passengers. You should remain quite or even better silent while on the trains. You can chat to your friend or travel companion but with a low voice so that you cannot disturb others. This also includes tip numbers 3 and 4.
6. Priority Seating
We all know that this one is not new to you. This rule is common for any type of public transportation around the world. In Japan, their trains usually have priority seats on each cars that are reserved for old people, pregnant women, people with small children, people who are injured, or people with a handicap.
7. For Women Only Train Cars
It is not new to you that there are designated car trains that are for women only because some countries have this also. In Japan, most of the time, train cars designated for women have time. It means that, for the specific time of the day, only women can ride on those train cars. Most of the time, this applies every morning, during the rush hours. You can see pink signs on the platform in Train Stations if the train car where you’re standing up is for women only. If you didn’t noticed that you get on the wrong car, you may always change car by exiting through the sliding doors connected to other train cars.
8. Let The Passengers Off First
When you’re in the line waiting for the trains, it’s good manners to stand off to the side and clear the middle when the train arrives. This is to let the passengers from the train to get out first before the people waiting can get in and this is to prevent bumping to those who are getting out of the train. If you are on the train and you are blocking the door, get out first off the train to give way to those you will get out and just get in once there is no one getting out.
9. Don’t Put Your Thing on the Seats
Make sure you will not put your things like bag on the seats beside you to give seat space to others. There are racks above the seats when you can put your bags or any things or you can just put your bag on your lap or maybe between your legs.
10. Fall in Line in Two Rows
Another etiquette in Japan when taking the train is you need to fall in line in two rows while waiting for the train to come where marks on the platform that you see on the photo above. These marks represent where the doors are align when the train stops. The lines have space in between to give way to those who are getting off the train.
The eleventh thing that you should remember is when you want to take the escalator instead of the stairs. In Tokyo, when you take the escalators, you should not stand on the right because the right side is intended for walking. If you want to wait and stand, do it on the left side. In Osaka, it is the opposite way, you should stand on the right and the left side is for walking.