Quest For Japan Logo-Ver7

Japanese Customs: Riding the Escalator – Tokyo and Osaka-style

One of the things I noticed during my first visit in Japan is the custom of riding an escalator. In my country, I haven’t really thought about which side of the escalator to stand. But when I came here in Japan, I noticed that people stand on one side to give way to other people who are in a hurry. This is a usual scene you see at escalators located in the train stations especially during rush hours. And it doesn’t end there, did you know that which side to stand differ in different areas in Japan?

Riding an escalator in Japan can be grouped into two – Tokyo-style and Osaka-style.

Tokyo-Style (stand on the left side)

Escalator scene shot in Roppongi HillsAn escalator scene shot in Roppongi Hills
(photo by d’n’c)

Osaka-Style (stand on the right side)

An escalator scene shot in OsakaElevator in Osaka – people are standing on the right side
(photo by Norio Nakayama)

In Tokyo, people stand on the left side while in Osaka, people stand on the right side. In general, it seems that where people stand on the escalator actually relates to which side on the road people in that country drive. Since in Japan, driving on the left side of the road is a standard, it would be understandable why people in Tokyo stand on the left side of the escalator. But then you may ask, why it is different in Osaka?

Osaka-style and its background

One of the theories believed that started this custom in Osaka is the announcement aired in Hankyu Railway, instructing people to keep on the right side. It is when Japan’s first moving walkway or sidewalk was installed in Hankyu Umeda Station in 1967. Another theory is the World Exposition held in Osaka in 1970 where more than 60 million people from all over the world came to participate this big event. To conform the international standard of standing on the right side of the escalator, similar announcement was aired and Japanese people at that time might have adapted it and eventually established into a custom that can still be witnessed at present.

Escalator Regulation

Although it became a custom to empty one side of the escalator to give way to other people who are in a hurry, Japan Elevator Association strongly discourage people from walking on the escalator to prevent any accidents.

When you have the chance to visit Japan or if you are in Japan now, try to notice where people stand on the escalator. Do they stand on the right or on the left side? Maybe you need to be aware also not to block the side where people pass especially during rush hours or else you might get a cold look from people around you.

How about in Okayama?

Escalator in OkayamaJR Okayama Station – elevator at east exit

Looking at the picture above, it’s Tokyo (left-side standing) style.

The World’s Shortest Escalator

Talking about escalators, you can find the world’s shortest escalator in Japan. It’s located inside the More’s Department Store near JR Kawasaki Station. Honored by the Guinness Book of World Records, this escalator has a height of merely 83.4 cm with a distance of 2.7 feet. 

References:
Comprehensive Living Guide for Foreign Residents in Japan – Tips on using an escalator
Escalators at the stations and boundary of  leaving the left side empty
Escalator, Osaka’s Right-Standing Style and The Reason Behind
Why It’s Left-Side Standing in Osaka?
The Huffington Post – The World’s Shortest Escalator

The following two tabs change content below.

ren

A gaijin in Okayama who enjoys viewing cherry blossom in spring, fireworks in summer, eating grilled sanma (Pacific saury fish) in autumn and oden in winter.

Sponsored Links

  • Pocket
  • 1 follow us in feedly

Related Article/s:

078352

Starting the Day Right with Rajio Taisō

If you ever seen a scene in a Japanese movie or TV show where people are doing some morning exercise, have you noticed that they are using similar exercise music or similar exercise routine? The exercise routine is actually called the Rajio Taisō (ラジオ体操 ) or Radio Calisthenics. It is an exercise routine done to the tune by a piano. It has an upbeat melody and makes the routine fun and enjoyable (or so I think).

Read Article

bunkasai

Culture Day or Bunka no Hi

As what we know from our previous posts about holidays in Japan, almost every month in Japan has a national holiday. November is not an exception of that. There are two holidays for the month of November and those are the Culture Day or 文化の日 (Bunka no Hi) on November 3 and Labor Thanksgiving Day […]

Read Article

Hakutou

Momo (peach) as a divine fruit

Peach Peach is one of the major local productions of Okayama. Although it had been consumed by people from a long time ago, it is said it was rather an ornament than a food because its taste wasn’t so good. In Meiji era (1868–1912), when a new, sweeter and bigger breed came from China, many […]

Read Article

Family crest of the Tokugawa

Mystery tour : Muramasa , a cursed blade – Part 2 –

Muramasa (2) Blessed swords for hostile forces against Tokugawa If “Muramasa” blades really harm the Tokugawa, they are very fortunate weapons for enemies. Nobushige Sanada (1567 – 1615), much more commonly known as Yukimura Sanada, who was against the Tokugawa, is said that he carried “Muramasa” sword(s) with him. There is also a legend that […]

Read Article

Osechi juubako - laid out

Osechi: Traditional Japanese New Year’s Food

“Shin-nen akemashite omedetou gozaimasu”, Happy New Year to everyone! How did you spend your year end vacation? I guess, everyone is still in their vacation mode. Did you eat osechi during “sanganichi” (三が日)? How was it? Did you know that each dish has its own meaning and significance? For people who are not familiar with osechi, let me […]

Read Article

Osafune Sword 2

Osafune in Okayama: Sword learning centre – Part 2 –

Bizen Osafune Nihon-tou Denshuu-jyo (Bizen Osafune Japanese sword learning centre) 2 Information I got from the swordsmiths [Swordsmithing] There are two sizes of hammers to beat iron. The lighter one weighs 5 kg (approx. 11 lb / 176 oz). The other one 10 kg. Sometimes visitors want to have a try, and of course they […]

Read Article

084646

The Princess Who Came From a Bamboo, Princess Kaguya

It was December last year when I had my first time in a Japanese movie theater. The movie we watched was Studio Ghibli’s Kaguya-hime no Monogatari. Though my Japanese is limited, the movie never failed to amazed me somehow. From The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter Kaguya-hime no Monogatari(かぐや姫の物語) or The Tale of Princess Kaguya […]

Read Article

furisode

Kimono – Traditional Japanese Clothing

As someone who is not from Japan, when I think of a Japanese traditional garment, I always think of a kimono. We usually see on media as worn by Japanese women during special occasions but did you know that the kimono is not as simple as it looks like? Or did you know that there […]

Read Article

tenugui

Tenugui: More than Just a Hand Towel

A tenugui (手拭い) in its simplest definition is a traditional Japanese hand towel made of cotton. It is usually about 35 by 90 centimeters in size. It is typically plain woven and though there are also plain designs, it has usually repeating patterns printed/dyed on its surface. But a tenugui is not just a plain […]

Read Article

boom

Pyoon! Nyan! Pachi! – Learning the Japanese Onomatopoeia 2

In our last post about Japanese onomatopoeias, we talked about the first type which is the giseigo or words that mimic human and animal sounds. This time, we will talk about the other two types: giongo and gitaigo. As we mentioned in the last post, the Japanese language is full of onomatopoeias. Some of them […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑