Bullet trains are modern marvels that will take you all across Japan in just a few hours. While riding the rails, there are a few things to note about etiquette on these trains that will make your journey a lot easier.
Getting lined up – You will either have a reserved or unreserved seat for the train, which means you need to find the right car to line up at before you board the train. Just look at your ticket and then compare it to the train car (which has an LED monitor to tell you) which car is a reserved one or not. Once you find your car, you will see where people will queue up to board.
Know your seat – Once you get on board, know your seat and what it has to offer. Most seats have a foot rest, a tray, power plugs, and some even have a hanger for your coat or jacket. It is handy to get used to your seat, especially if you plan on eating, working, or just have a long ride ahead of you.
Keep aware – Always be aware of your surroundings when you are on the train. If you need to use the phone, use the sections between the train cars as they offer some privacy. Bathrooms are on board the trains and lights above the doors indicate when they are in use or not, so do not form a line waiting for them (this isn’t an airplane where there are no rules of course).
Be ready – Bullet trains run on tight schedules and will only stop for a few minutes at each stop (even for the big cities like Tokyo or Osaka) so be ready to go when the train stops. This means be packed, up, and waiting at the door as the train approaches the station. If you are messing around and packing your stuff up by the train reaches the station, chances are you are going to miss your stop, they don’t wait for anyone.
Always have your ticket on you – It is fairly simple, always have your ticket (or JR Rail Pass) with you when boarding and moving around the trains. There are security guards and the conductor that will pass through the train at some point and will check to make sure you are supposed to be on that train. Having that ticket with you just makes it a lot easier and speeds up everything on the train.