Respect and Cleanliness

In awe of Japan's public places

By Elena Lisina    - 3 min read

One of the many things that earns my admiration towards Japan is the cleanliness of the country. To me, this reflects the respect that the Japanese have towards their country. I once heard the words: "Cleanliness is not removing litter but not littering at all." Those words fit Japan a lot as I always find its public places clean - streets, gardens, trains, buses, public toilets and pretty much everywhere else.

A clean and neat street
A clean and neat street

Before passengers board trains, staff check and clean the train carriages, wipe the seats and remove any items that may have been left behind by previous passengers. You'll find special containers for litter in cars and on platforms, though none will be found on the streets. All litter is sorted and packed, and taken away by garage trucks. The trucks, by the way, are also clean...

A Sendai garbage truck
A Sendai garbage truck

Train carriages are always neat and clean and though trains carry millions of passengers daily, the seat fabric is always clean. I’ve never seen any graffiti spoiling a train, a house or other public place. In trains passengers are quiet and don’t talk loudly with each other or on the phone. Train etiquette is based on silence - trains are seen as down time for their passengers. In public places I always notice people wearing protective masks, so if they've the flu they don't spread it around. I think that is a very respectful attitude towards others.

City train
City train

When it rains heavily you will find stands with free plastic bags for wet umbrellas at the entrance to shopping malls, banks, museums and hotels. Of course, hotels in Japan are also very clean and neat. Unit bathrooms are common. Onsens, spa and public toilets meet high hygiene standards. Toilets are free and can be found anywhere. I think such thoughtfulness speaks volumes about the respect of the Japanese towards their country.

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Elena Lisina

Elena Lisina @shiroi.tenshi

I love Japan very much! I like small towns of Japan where I can watch people doing their business and talk to them carefully. They're always friendly. I like Japanese gardens where I can just sit or walk and take my time. Also I like Shinto Jinja as being there I feel in peace. I like to watch sunsets and then to dine in some small local places. I like to soak into onsen after a long day of wandering. I like Japanese crafts very much as all items are made with great taste and skill. Nihon wo daisuki desuyo! My photos from Japan I also place here: Matane!

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Kim B 3 months ago
Clean bathrooms amaze me, still...especially in places like very small highway rest area bathrooms! Back home you’d expect somewhere like that to be unhygienic but here in Japan they’re sparkling clean!
Kim B 3 months ago
I think so! It definitely helps ensure a cohesive society!
Elizabeth S 3 months ago
One of the many things I’m grateful for in daily life in Japan is the clean trains. I commute on a train that has upholstered seats that are always spotless.

Most mornings, the train staff say good morning, with smiles, to passengers as they enter the gate.
Elena Lisina Author 3 months ago
I also admire that! And wish it was so in my country, but... we're far from that and I can't accept such disrespect towards own country. Besides the fact that transport is not clean people talk so loudly, especially on phones, that I just start to hate them! : (
Lynda Hogan 3 months ago
I too have always been so impressed by the levels of cleanliness, respect and common courtesy in Japan.
Elena Lisina Author 3 months ago
It's really good, right! Also I like Japan for safety as probably the best one I met in my lifetime.