Useful Train Station Vocabulary

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

Words and Phrases to help you in Japanese Train Stations

Teach yourself a few useful words to use around Japanese train stations! Order your Japan Rail Pass today.

  • 指定席 (shitei seki): reserved seating

These cars require a specific seat reservation, and the conductor will come by to check your ticket. If you have not reserved a seat and notice that you're on a shitei seki car, you may be in the wrong place!

  • 優先座席 (yūsen zaseki): priority seating

This phrase is usually followed by pictures to explain. These are seats reserved for people who may need to sit most: the elderly, expecting mothers, injured and sick people, and the physically challenged. It's probably best to avoid sitting in these seats, even if there's no one around, to keep them open for the aforementioned passengers.



©as365n2,,CC BY-SA 2.0,

  • 喫煙 (kitsu-en): Smoking [section]

Some long distance trains, including shinkansen, will have smoking areas-- either a car where it's OK to smoke, or a standing area separated from the seats.

  • 禁煙 (kin-en): Non-smoking [section]

Although it sounds very similar to the word for smoking section, kin-en designates an area as non-smoking. This includes all normal, shorter distance trains and subways, as well as buses and other transportation.



©Tzuhsun Hsu,,CC BY-SA 2.0,

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