English daily up-to-date Kyoto tourist and travel information





Visitors Info

Satoshi Satoshi

  • Culture
  • feature_main
  • Japan
  • unique

Introduction to Japanese Manners -on Train and Bus-

People have their own culture. Furthermore, each people have different manners in various countries. When you visit a place where people have  different cultures to you, you might encounter people’s behavior which you find hard to understand. That is perhaps one of the most interesting things in your trip.

Japan is a country surrounded by many oceans and seas, and people have an unique culture. “Manners” in Japan might be a bit confusing for visitors from overseas.


Today, I will introduce you some points of Japanese manners, especially on train and bus.


Manners on Train and Bus


No Calling over the phone! Please put your phone in Silent Mode!

In Japan, it is prohibited to make phone calls on the train. You also have to turn off your phone or put them in silent mode. I do not know why are you not allowed to call, while you are allowed to chat in person inside the train. Of course, you are not prohibited to use the phone in itself, which means you can text, Facebook, twitter etc. Just calling over the phone is prohibited. Ironically, you might find that too many people pay overly attention to their phone, not to people around, on train or on bus in Japan.


No Smelling Food

Basically, you should not eat anything on train or bus. But in reality, you would see someone eating foods in your travel. There is no strict border between what you can eat and what you should not eat. People generally tend to judge it depending on the smell of the food in Japan. You should not eat smelling foods such as Mc Donald’s and KFC. However, sadly, this rule is not perfectly obeyed by everyone. Sometimes, you find students eating Mc Donald’s on train.


Give in your seat to person who really need it

I know thats this is not a social manner specific to Japan , it is probably a world-wide thing. If you find someone who needs a seat such as an elderly person, a pregnant woman, or a person injured, you should cede your seat to those people in need. However, Japanese people are not always willing to offer their seats. I have taken trains even in other countries, and I felt that people in foreign countries are much more considerate and spontaneous in offering their seats compared to people in Japan. We Japanese people should learn such manners from other countries and we should mould Japan into a kinder society to those people.


Things you should know when you take a bus!


In addition to manners on train and bus, I will let you know some important things to keep in mind while taking a bus in Japan.

1. You need to pay the exact fare.

On the bus in Kyoto, you pay a fare at the front door when you get off. Because even if you pay more than the fare there will be no return change, hence you must be careful to drop the exact amount into the machine. Basically, Kyoto City bus charges a flat fare of 230 yen. You do have a possibility to change your banknotes to coins using the machine next to the driver. Yet it is convenient to prepare in advance the exact fare amount and pay it when you get off the bus.


2. One more step inside

This is a really important thing about bus! Door cannot be closed if you stand up too close to the door. Even the driver will not be able to close it in case you are standing there obstructing. When you are on a bus, you might think “Why is the bus yet to start?”. However this perhaps might be because of you causing hinderance unknowingly. Some buses fill up fast and is pretty hard to get inside the bus. However, if you are standing near the door and the bus is not starting yet, just make sure to move “One more step inside”.


3. Push the button when you want to get off

When you want to get off at the coming bus stop, you need to inform the driver by pushing the button next to you. You can find them almost at any seats. Failing to inform, the bus would pass through the stop without halting. Please Do not miss it!


Have a Pleasant Journey!

Manners play a vital role in representing a country’s culture. However sometimes, it is pretty hard to understand for people from overseas. Manners in Japan might be confusing for tourists. Questions like “Why people behave like this!? Why people are looking at me!? ”  can be a problem. In order to avoid these situation, understanding manners in Japan is perhaps very important. I humbly introduced you to some manners and certain things good to know when you take a train or bus in Japan. Making you obey Japanese manners is not my core intention. By just understanding that Japanese people have these kinds of manners and trying to accustom yourself to the same will make your journey much more joyful!


Tags: , , ,