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Etiquette on the Shinkansen: Things to Avoid

August 30, 2023

Etiquette on the Shinkansen: Things to Avoid

Traveling on the Shinkansen is a comfortable and efficient way to journey across Japan. However, maintaining proper etiquette ensures a pleasant experience for everyone on board. Let's take a look at some behaviors you should avoid during your Shinkansen ride:

Speaking Loudly

Engaging in conversations is fine, but be mindful of your volume. Speaking too loudly can disturb fellow passengers who are trying to rest or work.

Talking on Your Phone While Seated

In Japan, using mobile phones for calls inside train carriages is considered impolite, and the same applies to the Shinkansen. However, talking on your phone is allowed in designated areas like the decks. If you frequently receive calls, it's a smart move to choose a seat closer to the decks or the aisle on the Shinkansen.

Using Your Laptop Vigorously

If you're working or watching a movie on your laptop, remember to type softly. Loud and forceful typing can be distracting to those nearby who are trying to relax.

Reclining Without Consideration

It's tempting to recline your seat to relax, but make sure to check your surroundings first. Suddenly reclining your seat without giving a heads-up to the person behind you can be quite discomforting for them.

Leaving Trash Behind 

One of the absolute "No-Go" behaviors is leaving trash on the seat when disembarking. Let's make sure the next passenger enjoys a clean seat too. Most Shinkansen platforms have multiple large trash bins, making it convenient to dispose of your own trash immediately after getting off the train.


Showing respect for your fellow passengers creates a more enjoyable journey for everyone. Keep these tips in mind the next time you hop on the Shinkansen!