Etiquette tips for Japanese subways

There are a few things you should and should not do while riding on Japanese subways and trains. These are simple things that will make life a lot easier and also make sure you don’t stand out as an awkward tourist. While these aren’t laws that will get you in trouble, instead these are simple things people do to keep a nice, orderly ride while using the subways.

Stay quiet – When you get on the train or subway, just stay quiet. This means you can’t talk on your phone, but keep the volume down if you are using apps and such. If you are chatting with others, just keep it low. No one wants to hear your conversations, it can be annoying. Most people are just trying to get to work or home and just want some peace and quiet. So wait a few minutes and then make that phone call.

Make room – While riding the trains, make room for people as they get on or off (don’t be rude). If you are sitting and see a lady, an elderly person, or just someone that could use your seat, be a good person and give your seat up to them. The Japanese do it, it’s a sign of respect and just of being a nice person, so don’t be a rude jerk, just allow someone to take a break and sit down.

Do not eat! – How do you think the Japanese keep their trains so clean? People just don’t eat or drink on the trains. First, you will probably make a mess if you are eating and no one wants to clean that up or even see that. Do you want to watch a person sit there crunching on some food while just trying to get to your hotel at night, no, no one wants to do that. So just keep your food and drink wrapped up, wait, and then eat whenever you arrive wherever you are headed.

Be ready – The trains are always on time, they simply don’t wait for anyone. When a subway train arrives, be ready. You will only have a short period of time to get on board and get ready for the train to depart. Don’t panic, if you miss a train, just wait a few minutes for the next train, but just always keep that in mind, they don’t wait for anyone.

Watch your bags – Whether you have a backpack on or are dragging some luggage along, be mind-full of where it is. No one wants a backpack jamming them in the face while trying to pack the trains at rush hour. Keep your bags close to yourself. Spin your backpack around so it’s in front of you so you are jamming it into someone. Just use some common sense and know who is around you.


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