What Is The Right Way To Ride An Escalator In Japan? Escalator Etiquette, Ban & All You Need To Know

by Tejashee Kashyap
What Is The Right Way To Ride An Escalator In Japan? Escalator Etiquette, Ban & All You Need To Know

In Japan, escalator etiquette is a subtle yet essential element of societal norms. According to the Independent, a city in Japan has now banned people from walking on escalators in an unusual action aimed at public safety. To prevent mishaps, the rule, which went into force in Nagoya on October 1, mandates people to stand rather than move on escalators.

Walking On Escalator Banned In Japan

In most Japanese cities, you’ll find escalators on both sides of staircases, with each side serving a specific purpose. The left side is designated for standing. While the right side is for walking or briskly ascending or descending the escalator. Now, the rule, which went into force on October 1 in Nagoya, prohibits people from walking on escalators. This is done in order to prevent incidents such as collapses. Surprisingly, there are no consequences for violating the regulation.

Notably, it is customary in Japan for people on escalators to stand stationary on the left side and allow passengers to move up or down the right side. Authorities are now hoping that pedestrians will stop on both sides of train stations and other facilities.

The move follows reports of people losing their balance and knocking others over, as well as mishaps involving commuters racing up and down stairs. There are also risks for persons who require crutches or walking canes due to disability or injuries. According to the Japan Times, 805 escalator incidents were caused. The reason was improper use during 2018 and 2019.

Nagoya is Japan’s second city to pass such legislation. Saitama Prefecture will likewise prohibit any movement when riding escalators in October 2021. The ordinance required escalator operators to post signage warning users not to walk or run on the equipment.

Also Read: Leaving India’s Taj Mahal behind, THIS Is Asia’s Top Tourist Attraction, Located In Japan

Escalator Etiquette In Japan


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Japan’s love for orderliness extends to escalator queues. One of the most fundamental principles of Japanese escalator etiquette is to stand on the left side of the escalator. In certain areas or cities, customs may differ slightly. On the right side of the escalator, it is customary to keep walking or maintain a brisk pace. Safety is paramount when it comes to escalator etiquette.  During peak hours, when many people are using escalators, it’s essential not to rush onto them.

While these rules may appear subtle, they play a significant role in maintaining the smooth flow of people in crowded urban areas.

So, what do you think of this new rule in Japan?

Cover image credits: Canva