What is considered good manners when traveling on Japanese transport?

Manners and etiquette are very important in Japan and will be greatly appreciated by Japanese people. Here are some tips to keep in mind when travelling by train with your Japan Rail Pass and on the subway:

  • Making a lot of noise, taking up too much space or leaving a mess are, of course, not considered good manners in Japan on trains, subway or anywhere else.
  • On escalators it’s customary to stand on one side and leave the other side for people in a hurry – just like Australia. If you’re traveling with bags try and make sure they’re not getting in anyone’s way.
  • Mobile phones on trains are generally frowned upon.
  • Japan is a very orderly and organised society where queuing is customary. Never jump the queue unless it’s an emergency.
  • Stand behind the yellow line when the train arrives and wait for passengers to disembark before boarding.
  • In Japan it isn’t customary for men to give up their seat for women. Instead they believe younger people should give up their seats for elderly passengers (regardless of gender).
  • There is no need to tip in Japan at hotels, restaurants or on trains.
  • Eating on Japan Rail trains is fine and there’s even a tradition surrounding it of getting an “Ekiben” meal that’s unique to the station you buy it from.  When it comes to metro/subway, it’s considered impolite to eat strong smelling food.

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Have another question?  Visit our Japan Rail Pass FAQ page or contact us for a conversation.