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Is it rude to talk on public transport in Japan?


Public transportation in Japan is one of the most efficient and widely used modes of transportation, with millions of people commuting daily. However, there are certain customs and etiquettes that must be followed while traveling on public transport, and one of them is refraining from talking loudly or disturbing other passengers.

The Japanese Culture of Silence

Japan is a country where people prefer maintaining silence and refrain from unnecessary communication in public places. This culture of silence is deeply rooted in Japanese society, where people believe in respecting others’ privacy and space. Therefore, inside public transport, talking loudly or disturbing others is considered impolite.

Japanese Snack Box

Consideration for Others

Japanese people are known for their high level of consideration for others. They prioritize the needs and comfort of others before their own. Therefore, when traveling on crowded public transport, it is essential to be mindful of others. Talking loudly can cause discomfort to others, which is considered rude.

The Importance of A Quiet Environment

Japan’s transportation system is designed to provide passengers with a peaceful and relaxing environment to travel in. Therefore, creating excessive noise or disturbance can be disruptive to the calm environment that is expected when traveling.

Non-Verbal Communication

In Japan, non-verbal communication is highly valued, and people tend to communicate through gestures or facial expressions rather than speaking out loud. This practice extends to public transport as well. Passengers communicate through actions such as bowing or nodding, rather than speaking out loud.

Respect for Authority

Japanese society has a strong sense of respect for authority figures such as train conductors or station personnel. Therefore, passengers are expected to follow the rules and regulations set by these figures. These rules include refraining from talking on public transport.

Noise Pollution

Noise pollution is a significant problem in urban areas across the world. In Japan, the government has taken significant measures to reduce noise pollution levels. Therefore, talking loudly on public transport can be seen as contributing to noise pollution levels.

Privacy Concerns

Japanese culture places a great deal of importance on privacy and personal space. When traveling on public transport, people expect a certain level of privacy and do not want their conversations to be overheard. Talking loudly can be seen as a violation of this expectation.

Comfort Levels

Japan’s transportation system is designed to provide passengers with maximum comfort levels during their commute. This includes providing comfortable seating arrangements and minimizing disturbances such as noise levels. Therefore, talking loudly can be seen as disrupting this comfort level provided by the transportation system.

Etiquette for Commuting

Etiquette for commuting in Japan includes several unwritten rules that must be followed by all passengers. One such rule is maintaining silence and refraining from talking loudly on public transport. These rules are based on the principle of mutual respect for others’ privacy and space.

Exceptions to The Rule

While it may be considered impolite to talk on public transport in Japan, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if someone needs help or directions, it is appropriate to speak up and ask for assistance politely.


In conclusion, talking loudly on public transport in Japan is considered impolite because it violates several unwritten rules of etiquette that prioritize mutual respect for others’ privacy and space. By following these customs and etiquettes while commuting, passengers can contribute towards maintaining a peaceful and relaxing environment for everyone traveling on public transport in Japan.

Is it illegal to talk on train in Japan?

It is considered impolite and bothersome to be loud on a train, even though there is no official rule against talking. The Japanese culture views discussing personal matters in public as inappropriate and offensive.

Can you talk on the bus in Japan?

In Japan, there are certain rules of etiquette to follow when riding the bus. For instance, talking on the phone is not allowed inside the bus and it’s important to turn off your mobile phone or put it on silent mode. When using earphones, it’s essential to adjust the volume so as not to disturb others. Additionally, it’s important not to press on the seat in front of you with your knees or feet. These guidelines were last updated on May 25th, 2022.

Why is it rude to talk on the train in Japan?

In Japan, it is considered impolite to talk about personal matters in public spaces, such as trains. Therefore, people must always follow proper etiquette to avoid disturbing others. In addition, smartphones must be set to silent mode while traveling on trains in Japan.

Is it rude to talk on train?

Etiquette coach William Hanson advises against having loud conversations on the train, whether it’s with a friend or on the phone. It’s important to check if you’re in the quiet carriage before speaking to ensure you’re not disturbing others.

Is it rude to cross your legs in Japan on train?

Crossing one’s legs is considered a polite gesture, particularly for those wearing skirts, in some cultures. This is because it saves space and allows people to sit in tight spots. However, in Japan, crossing one’s legs is viewed as a sign of disrespect.

Is it rude to eat while walking in Japan?

In Japanese culture, it is not common to eat while walking on the street or standing around. However, drinking while standing next to a vending machine is acceptable. Eating and drinking on local trains is generally not approved, but it is acceptable on long-distance express trains.

Tips for Traveling on Public Transport in Japan

If you are traveling to Japan and plan to use public transport, here are some tips that you should keep in mind:

Be Punctual

In Japan, public transport runs on a tight schedule, and trains and buses arrive and depart on time. Therefore, it is essential to be punctual and arrive at the station or bus stop on time. Arriving late can cause inconvenience to others and disrupt the smooth functioning of the transportation system.

Follow The Rules

It is important to follow the rules set by the transportation system while traveling on public transport in Japan. These rules include wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, refraining from talking loudly, and not eating or drinking inside the train or bus.

Avoid Rush Hour

Rush hour in Japan can be extremely crowded, and it can be challenging to find seating space or even standing space during peak hours. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid traveling during rush hour if possible.

Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

While traveling on public transport in Japan, it is important to be mindful of your surroundings. Avoid taking up extra space, keep your bags close to you, and refrain from using your phone loudly.

Prioritize The Elderly and Disabled

In Japan, it is customary to prioritize the elderly, disabled, and pregnant women while traveling on public transport. Therefore, if you see someone who requires assistance, offer your seat to them.

Use IC Cards

IC cards such as Suica or Pasmo are rechargeable smart cards that can be used for various modes of transportation in Japan. They make traveling more convenient as they eliminate the need for buying tickets every time you travel.

By following these tips and etiquettes while traveling on public transport in Japan, you can have a hassle-free and enjoyable commuting experience.

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