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Jaywalking in Tokyo 2010/3/27 21:36
A random question I just thought of before I leave for Tokyo on Monday, but is jaywalking (crossing a street away from a designated crossing) illegal in Tokyo? And if so, is it strictly enforced? Or is it something that everyone does like here in the States?

Thank you for your answers!
by Toast (guest)  

... 2010/3/29 07:56
Of course it is illegal. It is not something that everybody does. It is considerably less common than in the US, but not inexistent. If you are stupid enough to jaywalk in front of a policeman, you might get warned or fined, but police is not "cracking down" on jaywalkers with officers in civil or similar tactics.
by Uji rate this post as useful

crossing 2010/3/29 08:00
It's done, but a lot less than it is where I come from (New Zealand). One of the reasons for this is the sheer volume of traffic- in central Tokyo there are often just no gaps to cross away from lights, and the lanes are narrow so if you get stuck in the middle of the road it can be dangerous. There are also a lot of barriers along busy streets which you would have to climb over if you wanted to jaywalk.

Out in the suburbs it's more common- there are no lights near where I need to cross a somewhat busy road on my way to the station, so I jaywalk daily!

While I wouldn't say it is strictly enforced and people are almost never fined, a police officer can certainly stop and question you if he/she sees you jaywalking, and I have heard of it happening, with people being asked to show their identification. If you weren't carrying your passport/registration card on you at that time, you would be in a lot more trouble.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2010/3/29 13:59
Often the guard rails are everywhere and open only at the crossings. If you climb over, you will be frowned at as a show off, especially in front of school kids. Besides you can be hit by the busy traffic nothing like in US. So if you take your chance you may end up on an ambulance. Having said that there are just too many traffic lights, even for a just car wide street. But do as Japanese do and wait for the green signal.
Often there are pedestrian overpass for a wide streets/intersections to avoid the traffic signal.
by amazinga (guest) rate this post as useful

Learn the Unwritten Rule First 2010/3/29 17:30

I wonder if you have tried jaywalking in a different country. As far as I know, jaywalking is done in any part of the world, except that few people realize there are still "unwritten rules" to jaywalking.

For example, in Tokyo, most people would never jaywalk in front of a toddler, because it's not educational, even if the toddler is a total stranger.

No one jaywalks Hachiko Crossing. No one crosses a red signal at the little corner in my neighborhood, either. But hardly anyone pays attention to the other signal around the corner, so cars always need to stop even if the light is green.

In London, a black cab stopped at a green light just so that I, a pedestrian patiently waiting, can cross the red light. This never happenes in Japan. I jaywalked by a lake in another part of Europe with no traffic at all and everyone's jaws dropped, because there was a bicycle race going on on that road.

So long story short, yes I jaywalk in Japan, but not until I am sure I can jaywalk at that specific area of the street.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2010/3/29 18:29
Just simply because of traffic patterns, barriers etc it is very difficult to jaywalk even if you wanted to. BTW I'm from the states, and not many people from my part of the woods (in the states) jaywalk for the same reasons.
by ExpressTrain (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2010/3/29 19:49
ExpressTrain wrote;
Just simply because of traffic patterns, barriers etc it is very difficult to jaywalk even if you wanted to.

Yes, but I wouldn't necessarily say that that is the "reason," because in Vietnam, it's like you gotta learn to jaywalk to cross any street or else.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Jaywalking 2010/3/30 03:06
I live in New York and everyone here constantly jaywalk, even in front of cops. I thought it was a big city thing, so I was wondering if the same goes for the metropolitan areas of Tokyo.
by Natalie (guest) rate this post as useful

... 2010/3/30 07:51
It's not necessarily a big city thing.

Try that in downtown Chicago, and you'll be fined.
Depends on the city, depends on the cop.

I always thought the rule was, don't jaywalk in a city you're visiting. You don't know what the reaction will be and the 2 minute wait is not worth a fine.
by kyototrans rate this post as useful

streets 2010/3/30 07:53
Nathalie, and has your question now been answered after reading the posts above yours?

Uco san, I don't think crossing the street in Vietnam can be compared to crossing the street in Tokyo- there you just close your eyes, step out, and hope for the best. Here at least people travel in lanes and stop at traffic lights!
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

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