Tokyo train station
Photo: Hong Feng/Unsplash

Survey: These are Japan’s most annoying train behaviours

A train etiquette survey by the Japan Private Railway Association reveals the top nuisances for commuters in Japan

Kaila Imada
Written by
Kaila Imada

While Japan’s public transport system is constantly praised for its efficiency and clever innovations – especially in Tokyo – train etiquette is another major factor that contributes to making your ride a pleasant experience. For the most part, people tend to have decent manners when boarding and riding trains. But there are always a few exceptions.

To find the top nuisances for train passengers in Japan, the Japan Private Railway Association conducted a train etiquette survey asking respondents what behaviours they find the most irritating and bothersome. A total of 8,210 people responded to the study, in which they were asked to pick the three most annoying behaviours they encountered on train rides.

Topping the list was ‘sitting inconsiderately’, with a total of 37.1 percent of respondents stating that it was the most bothersome behaviour they’ve come across. This included things like intruding into other people’s space by having your legs spread out too wide, as well as stretching your legs out, which can be a hindrance on a crammed rush-hour train.

In second place was not covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, with 33.5 percent of respondents mentioning this as a concern. Careless germ spreading has obviously become a bigger worry since the coronavirus pandemic.

Rounding off the top three was poor manners when boarding or exiting a train, with 31.3 percent stating that they were bothered by it. This includes not standing on the side when the train doors open so that passengers can alight before boarding, as well as not stepping out of a crowded train car temporarily (if you're standing near the door) to let other people exit.

Aside from these big three nuisances, some of the other inconveniences respondents faced included noisy conversations (30.3 percent), not carrying bags and umbrellas correctly (22.8 percent), using smartphones while walking or during rush hour (18.2 percent), and strong scents like perfume and detergent (17 percent). 

To see the full survey, visit the website (in Japanese only).

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