Japanese train culture

Japanese train culture

Manners for riding a train in Japan are very unique. There are no rules posted anywhere but all Japanese know the unspoken rules and follow them. Here, I will introduce these unique Japanese manner for riding a train. 

Adjusting one's fare for riding past one's destination is allowed in Japan

In Europe, adjusting one's fare for riding past one's destination is mostly prohibited and normally it is subject to fines. But in Japan, because a ticket indicates which station one got on, fare can be adjusted at any destination.  Therefore, it is allowed.

Be careful when you give up the seat for ladies

In Europe, it is a kind of norm to give up the seat to ladies whatever the age they are, following their “lady first” culture. And the ladies there welcome the seat and gratefully accept the kind gesture. But the situation is different in Japan. In Japan, women may think they look old because a seat is given to them despite their young age. Therefore, it is polite not to give out the seat if they don’t look older than 70.

Talking on the phone on the train is not allowed.

Talking on the phone on the train is considered nuisance in Japan.

Lining up before entering the train

On the platform of any large city in Japan, people line up for the train while waiting for one. In case of long distance trains such as Shinkansen (bullet train), for the reserved seat, one will check the number of the car on the ticket and will line up where his car number is indicated on the platform. If one has a non reserved ticket for the long distance train, one has to go where the non-reserved cars are indicated.

Train where you can eat

Even the residents of japan don’t know which train is fine to eat while traveling and which is not. Normally, people eat Ekiben (Bento sold at the station) on the long distance train but it is not polite to eat in a short distance  normal priced train.

David li

Male Chinese who works for major advertising agency in Tokyo. 15 years of living in Japan has made him an expert on various Japan related topics. He came to Japan after graduating from high school and now permanently settled in Japan. His hobby is to enjoy local cuisines while travelling around various parts of Japan. He has a personal goal of visiting all prefectures in the country and in the process of achieving it, enjoying trips and dining experiences in the nation on his off-days with his family.

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