What is the cheapest mode of transportation in Japan?

Even foreign travelers who have never been to Japan might have already known that the answer is train. Not only cheap, train is also the most practical mode of transporation as the railway network has already reached every corners of every cities and has been connecting various cities in the entire Japan. No wonder if the train becomes the mostly used mode of transportation, either by local Japanese as well as the foreigners.

Talking about trains in Japan, there are always many things we can talk about. Starting from the technical things such as its complicated railways (it is said that train network in Tokyo is one of the most complicated ones in the world), how to buy the ticket, and much more. Travelers who comes to Japan for the first time are usually the ones who looks for informations about technical stuffs.

It is totally undersandable since the system difference must be the one that make foreign travelers in Japan a little bit confuse and they even probably get a culture shock as they see how the train become an unseparatable part of Japanese people’s live. But apart from those technical things, there is actually another thing that is just as important to know by train users, it is the ethics of using trains.

Train in Japan [photo by: Tiseb]
Train in Japan [photo by: Tiseb]
Typical of train interior in Japan [photo by: Hitachiota]
Typical of train interior in Japan [photo by: Hitachiota]
 

How important is it actually to know the ethics of using trains in Japan? It is very important. It is so important that some common senses are even displayed in advisory posters that could be easily found on many corners at the stations or inside the trains. It is understandable considering that train is the favorite mode of transportation, so the common comfort issues become the thing that is unbargainable.

So what will we get if we break those rules or ethics? Well indeed, in Japan, there are no strict punishment or fine to charge. The least you will get are the unfriendly staring eyes or complaints from other passengers. But if you wanna be comfortable as well as the other passenger while using trains, there is nothing wrong to understand what are the do’s and dont’s inside the trains in Japan.

An example of advisory poster [photo by: Tenaciousme]
An example of advisory poster [photo by: Tenaciousme]
An example of advisory poster [photo by: Tenaciousme]
An example of advisory poster [photo by: Tenaciousme]
 

For travelers who would like to know regarding the ethics of using trains in Japan, here are some of the ethics that are taken from various posters, both in the stations or the trains. Most of them are actually the common senses that are also applied in Indonesia.

General

  • Here is the most basic rules that must be obeyed by any passenger of mass transportations, either in Japan or in Indonesia: queue before getting inside the train. The concept of queueing in Japan’s stations is considered very good as it has the clear queue line. Insisting to cut the line? Be prepared to be complained by other passengers!
  • Put the common comfort in priority. Do not do things that could disturb other people (either inside the trains or at the station area), such as eating foods with strong aroma, standing in group nearby the train door and blocking other passengers, swinging your umbrella as if you are playing golf, or sleeping by resting your head on someone else’s shoulder.
  • If you bring children, make sure that they don’t do things that could disturb other people such as: making noises, screaming, putting their feet up to the seats, playing toys with blaring sounds, and don’t let the children to run around inside the train, and such things.
  • Don’t apply your make up inside the train. What “applying make up” means is not just putting on your face powder or lipstick, but applying the whole make up, starting from applying the foundations up to sweeping on the blushers (this thing is usually done by young girls who wakes up late). Also, avoide the activities that might disturb other people such as removing your nail paint with removal liquid.
  • Do not litter inside the train
  • No smoking during the trip
  • Having a cough or flu? Wear a mask so the virus would not spread to other people.
  • Do not walk through the train which is about to set off (this thing is usually done by office workers who are late to catch the morning train).
Queueing before getting into the train [photo by: ShunEndoPhotos]
Queueing before getting into the train [photo by: ShunEndoPhotos]
Sleeping on someone else’s shoulder [photo by: MShades]
Sleeping on someone else’s shoulder [photo by: MShades]

About using electronics and sounds

  • Do not answer the phone inside the train. Browsing or opening up emails are still okay.
  • Better to set your phone to silent mode prior getting inside the train. It would be even much better to just turn it off, as it might disturb other passenger who might be using heart pacemaker device.
  • It is fine to use earphone and listening music inside the train. But make sure the sound doesn’t leak out or be prepared to get complained by other train users. Or, at least, getting stared at or criticized.
  • Do not talk in loud voice. If you want to chat, do it with the lowest voice possible.
    The calm atmosphere inside the train.
The calm atmosphere inside the train [photo by: ç§ã®å†™çœŸ ]
The calm atmosphere inside the train [photo by: ç§ã®å†™çœŸ ]

About Seating

  • There usually are 2 types of seat on Japanese train: regular seat and priority seat. Priority seat is intended for these people: pregnant woman, person carrying little kid, difabled person, sick person, and the elderly. So don’t sit on the priority seat unless you need it, and prioritize the seat for those in need, even for the regular seats.
  • Inside the train, don’t open up your legs too wide as it might disturb other passenger’s comfort.
  • Sit down only on the seats provided. Do not sit on the floor. This advisory happened as there were many young people who intentionally sit on the train floor.
  • If you wanna read newspaper inside the train, do not open up the newspaper too widely.
  • Don’t takes up the passenger seats to sleep. This kind of thing is usually done by people who come home too late at night, or the drunk people.
Priority seat [photo by: Ffg]
Priority seat [photo by: Ffg]

About the stuffs to carry

  • If you are carrying stuffs, put those on the above shelf provided even if you are standing during the whole trip. By putting your stuffs on the shelf, there will be more space for other passengers.
  • If your stuff is too big to be put up to the shelf, at least try your best that your stuff’s position does not block other people’s movement (especially towards the exit door).

It is not difficult to remember the do and the don’t when using trains in Japan, isn’t it? Simply use your instict. As long as you don’t do things that could potentially disturb other people, then everything is gonna be fine. Oh and yes, there is other ethic.

It is “don’t tease or look at other people for too long time. And for the male passenger, be careful with your hands. Do not touch or hold other people’s body part (especially females). Do it and you will be considered as a “chikan”, or sexual harrassment.

For female travelers, if you feel like being harrassed, simply scream “chikan” to attract other passengers’ attention, or you can report it to the officer. You can also avoid the chikans by taking the special compartment for females which is available on specific hours.

Female-Only Compartment [photo by: Chris_eden]
Female-Only Compartment [photo by: Chris_eden]
* All pictures were taken through creative commons. There are no editting from the original pictures. Name credits are based on the username on flickr/wikimedia.

 

other related articles

All About Shinkansen, The Japan’s Super-Fast Train

Railway Museum, A Must-Visit Train Museum in Tokyo

Planning to Travel to Japan? Note These Various Safety Tips!