Railway Tips and Manner

To enjoy living in Tokyo, there are things you need to know. Public services, utilities, where to shop, recreation spots and etc.
Here we provide you with guides and tips to live in Tokyo.

Railway Tips and Manner

PASMO and Suica

Pasmo & Suica

PASMO and Suica are prepaid fare IC cards (Integrated Chip cards). They offer a convenient way to travel around Tokyo and many outlying areas because they can be used on trains, buses and subways. You simply need to tap the card over a card reader at the ticket gates at the station or at the front of buses. You can do this in a “touch and go” fashion. No longer do you have to stand at a ticket machine and try to figure out the fare each time you have to transfer to a new train, bus or subway line. Especially, since many of the fare charts are in Japanese. It is more convenient to just add money to your (one) card at the beginning of your trip and off you go.

Suica is issued by JR while PASMO is issued by private railway companies. Both cards can be used on JR and private lines without any additional procedures. For details on the accepted areas/lines/stations, please refer to the railway company’s website. Both of these cards are also accepted at shops, restaurants, some convenience stores and vending machines where the PASMO or Suica logos are shown, which can make purchases “on the go” faster and easier.

To purchase one of these cards, you will need to locate a ticket machine at a train/subway station with the PASMO or Suica logo shown. You can choose English instructions by touching the word “English” on the screen. You can charge your card from the amount of 1,000 Yen. A refundable 500 Yen deposit is required.

Make sure your IC Card is charged and have your card/ticket out

If you don’t have enough money on your card to cover the minimum fare for the line you’re boarding, you’ll have the little gates shut and a red no-go sign will appear on individual gate display.

Priority Seat

Priority Seat
Priority Seat

Most trains and buses have a priority seating area for elderly, disabled and pregnant passengers, and those with small children. Able-bodied passengers sitting in these seats should give them up for them when the train is busy. 

Help Mark Maternity Mark
Help Mark and Maternity Mark
Help Mark and Maternity Mark

Help Mark is a badge used to indicate those who have invisible disabilities and needs helps. Maternity Mark is also a badge used by pregnant women. If you see either of them, it would be nice to give up your seats, not just the priority ones.

Woman’s Only Carriage

Woman’s Only Carriage
Woman’s Only Carriage

In the morning at commuting time part of the lines provide a so-called Woman’s Only Carriage designed only for women, elementary school students, disabled passengers and their guardians.

The rules and manners on the platforms and inside the carriages

Most Annoying Types of Behavior on Trains
  1. Manner of placing or holding bags
  2. Noisy conversations
  3. Way of sitting
  4. Way of boarding or exiting trains
  5. Noise seeping out of headphones
  6. Manner of using a smartphone
  7. Drunk passengers
  8. Applying makeup on trains
  9. Littering
  10. Eating or drinking on crowded trains span.caption01

*Based on data from Japan Private Railway Association.

On the platforms
Photo: The yellow lines on the platform edge
Walk Behind the Yellow Line

To avoid accidents, please walk behind the yellow line.

Wait in Line for the Train

There is a sign on the platform indicating where the train doors will open. Stand there, in front of the sign, in line. Depending on railways, you can wait in two lines or three lines per door.

Don’t Dash into the Train

Rushing to get on the train just before the door closes is very dangerous and can lead to train delays.

No Walking While Using Smartphones

This has become a troubling pedestrian habit these days, even outside of the station as well. Please watch where you’re going.

Inside the train
Hold your backpack in the train.

You can make an aisle a man can pass through.

Don’t talk on your phone.

You should try to spend your time quietly. Turn you phone on “Manner Mode (or Silent Mode)” to avoid trouble.

Mind Your Headphone/Earphone Volume

It might be hard to notice noise leaking from your headphone / earphone…just be extra careful.

Don’t Eat/Drink on the Train

Smell of foods may make some people feel sick, and drinks may spill on somebody when the train moves. Don’t do it unless it’s urgent (although there are exceptions like in long-range rides in shinkansen).