Walking rules to follow in Japan

Japan is a country that is governed and guided by its unwritten rules. Even walking down the street has its own unwritten rules that locals and tourists follow.

Stay to the left – When walking down the sidewalk or on an escalator, make sure to stay to the left. This feels different for anyone from the US when we stay to the right, but just like the traffic, it is the opposite in Japan. The same is on escalators themselves, if you are along for the ride, stay to the left and allow faster moving people to your right.

Obey the crosswalks – I don’t care if there is not a car to be found for miles, the Japanese will usually always wait at the crosswalk for the signal to cross. So follow along and the law, just wait for the signal to give you the green light. Those who have been to Japan will also know that sound that the crosswalks makes when it is safe to cross.

Trash cans are rare – While on the move, you may be looking for a trash can, but be prepared, they are hard to find. Outside of stations of in front of a konbini, they are nearly impossible to find so you may have to take your trash with you until you can find a can somewhere. So don’t liter and just wait to find a bin somewhere.

Don’t eat & walk – When you walk, don’t eat or drink, it is consider both gross and rude. This is how and why the Japanese keep their streets clean, they are very mindful of what they are doing and usually won’t spill or leave behind food carelessly. If you are hungry/thirsty, just stop off to the side of the sidewalk and do what you need to do. Being in a rush is not always the best solution.

Hills – This one really isn’t a rule but something to remember, Japan is a country full of mountains and hills. So when you are mapping out how to get somewhere and see it is only a few miles away, keep in mind that it is probably going to involve some kind of hill or incline. Even if you are in good health or think you can make it, by the end of the day, your legs and feet will be singing a different tune.

One thought on “Walking rules to follow in Japan

  1. All good to know, Matt. I recall the stay to the left advice when in the airport – Osaka – on day 1 of my trip nearly 10 years ago to the day. Amazing how cultures differ but, show similarities, too. The Japanese keep their streets so clean in part because animals and elements do not blow trash out of trash bins. Smart approach.


    Liked by 1 person

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