Japan Train Etiquette

  • Published on : 26/06/2016
  • by : Japan Experience
  • Rating :

Guidelines to travel by train

An overview of some of Japan's public transportation etiquette that might differ from that in your own country. Explore Japan by train with your Japan Rail Pass - available in 7, 14, and 21 days passes

Specially designated cars and seats

Try to pay attention to signs and surroundings. Nowadays, many Japanese trains have a special women-only car, marked on both the train and the platform with a pink sign.

Additionally, some trains also have the first car designated as an "electronics off" car, where you're expected to power off your cell phone. In theory, these cars were created for the elderly who worry about interference with their pacemakers.

Priority seat

Priority seat

©djedj, pixabay

Mobile phones and chatter

Make sure that your mobile phone is set on "silent mode," or vibrate, when you are traveling on public transportation.

On trains and subways, never talk on your cell phone! It's extremely bad manners in Japan.

Also, you'll find that most Japanese people do not talk loudly on the train. It's a good idea to follow their example and keep loud conversation to a minimum.

Commuters on Japanese transportation are pretty strict about getting on and off the train. There are markings on the platforms to show where the doors will be and how to line up two by two as your wait.

Once the train has arrived, the line will split to either side of the doors to allow passengers to get off the train.

Japan Train

Japan Train

©liam-burnett-blue, unsplash

No more personal space...

Japanese trains famously get very, very crowded at times. Because it is a small island with a large population, in some situations, the ideal amount of personal space gets thrown out the window.

When needed, be prepared to cram into seats or aisles like sardines. If you're traveling on a packed train late at night, don't be surprised if a particularly exhausted salaryman uses your shoulder as a pillow!

Golden Week

Golden Week

©Francesco Ungaro, unsplash

Latest Articles

Golden week

Golden Week Travel Advice

Japan will celebrate Golden Week from April 29 to May 7, 2023, which comprises four national holidays: Showa Day on April 29, Constitutional Memorial Day on May 3, Greenery Day on May 4, and Childr

Narita Airport Ticket Office

Japan Rail Pass Exchange Offices

Japan Rail Pass Exchange Offices: the major offices throughout Japan where an Exchange Order can be exchanged for a Japan Rail Pass. Below are a few of the 51 offices throughout Japan where the Exc

Train Conductor in Japan


If you want to optimize your time when taking the train in Japan, you should plan your routes well in advance (and ensure that you order your Japan Rail Pass prior to departing for Japan).

See All (124)


Rate the content

  • Star
  • Star
  • Star
  • Star
  • Star

Your comment

Enter the characters shown in the image.
* Required fields