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Food on JR Train 2011/12/4 02:29

Is eating allowed on trains? As i wil be travelling from Sapporo to Tokyo using train and the whole journey takes about 10 hrs, I would like to know if eating is allowed.

Will there be anyone selling food,for example bento set during the journey? Or I need to buy before boarding the train?

by Ming79  

Re: Food on JR Train 2011/12/4 12:10
On long distance trains, it is very common to have a meal on the train, and there are carts passing through the train selling various foods and drinks. At stations, you also have various shops that sell meals in boxes (ekiben). Seats on long distance trains have small tables like in airplanes to have a meal comfortably.

However, it is a completely different story in case of short distance trains, such as urban trains, subways and most suburban trains, on which it is considered bad manner to have a meal.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Food on JR Train 2011/12/4 15:10
Any long & medium distance trains that have seats(usually two seating rows) at the right angle to the window are fine. All shinkansen bullets, which have airplane style tables, is fine.
Bench style seats along the window on short distance commuter trains are not(no trash bins).
You may buy (eki)bento before getting on board or at a major station, if the train stops a few min.
As expected, make sure to clean up & dispose the trash in proper bins by the exit door.
by amazinga (guest) rate this post as useful

Buy before boarding 2011/12/4 22:58
Better to buy food and drinks before boarding a train. There is a good selection of shops in most bigger JR train stations for food and drinks. Prices are the same as outside on the street (not like some airports). Some JR trains have a drink vending machines onboard with a small selection. The food service carts also have a limited selection of food(bento and sandwiches) snacks, drinks, and sometimes ice cream. Prices are a bit higher than on the street. If the train is full, it could be an hour or longer in between their rounds, so it is always good to have a extra bottle of water or your favorite drink with you on a long train ride.
by HNL Hawaiian (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Food on JR Train 2011/12/6 05:53
Also recommended is to go to the basement of a department store before departure and buy a box or two and snack/cakes (There's a good Daimaru department store at Shinkansen Yaesu exit of Tokyo Station. Also, inside the turnstiles of Tokyo Station below the Yamanote and Keihin Tohoku Lines there's a very large selection of deli food to take away).

The most interesting thing about train travel is bento on a train.
by Long distance travel (guest) rate this post as useful

How about Tobu trains? 2011/12/8 01:06
What about food on the Tobu trains from Tokyo to Nikko (rapid, not limited express)? What's the seating plan like?

I'm not planning on any other long distance train travel for my next trip, and I'd love to have an ekiben on the train again!
by kasasagi rate this post as useful

Re: Food on JR Train 2011/12/8 08:26
On the limited express and express trains it is perfectly okay to eat. On the cheaper rapid trains, I think you have groups of four seats facing each other as seen on the following photo:

I don't think there is a written rule on whether it is okay to eat or not, but personally I would feel okay to eat if the entire group of four seats is taken by my group and the train is relatively empty, but would refrain from eating if a stranger would seat next or across myself or the train is very crowded.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Food on JR Train 2011/12/10 18:23
Take your cue from the people on the train.
On longer distances it is not an issue, as stated previously. Some trains (Shinkansen etc )actually have staff with carts offering food and drink to buy.
Commuter trains definitely not: too crowded, and the journey presumably too short to allow for it.
BTW it is considered impolite to walk around eating in Japan: i.e. any meal is eaten sitting down, be it in a restaurant, or if taken away then at an appropriate seating area.
Having a drink from a water bottle from a vending machine is maybe OK: we still always try to find a nearby seat to replenish.
by fmj rate this post as useful

Re: Food on JR Train 2011/12/10 19:15
Just a tip about buying Bento Boxes on trains including the Shinkansen.

From our experience we are always very disappointed with the Bento Boxes bought onboard trains, we always seem to get the leftover 'scrapy'/dodgy bentos that nobody else wants and when we open them we see why! We now always buy our bento on the platform/station where there's a decent selection in stock and buy drinks snacks onboard the train.
by Stewy63 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Food on JR Train 2011/12/12 11:13
I have hardly seen anyone eat hot food on the local trains, but I have seen plenty of people eat snacks such as bread or chocolate. No one seems to mind, as long as you take your rubbish with you! I've seen plenty of people drink on the local trains too, after a hard day at work!
by Mon (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Food on JR Train 2011/12/14 15:10
There are a million unwritten rules in Japan about manner. It's inevitable that you will break one or two while your traveling in Japan. I have lived here for 5 years and I still find out about things that are considered rude that I didn't know about before.

As far as local trains go you rarely see someone having a full meal on the train. I do see people snack from time to time. a riceball or bread or snack of some sort. I see old men drinking sake and beer on the train all the time.

a good rule of thumb might be to check if there is some sort of table/tray attached to the seat. If there is a table then i:m assuming eating is ok. If there isn't a table take cue from thouse around you.

There are always (at least on JR kyushu) manner awareness signs on the trains. The english translation on these signs is really bad and can be entertaining actually lol. but i have seen them for using your phone on the train to putting make up on on the train and warning that it is rude to other passengers. I have never seen one for food and eating however.

In the end as a foreigner people arnt going to say anything to you about it even if it is considered rude. Its hard to know if its a reall taboo or if people generally dont care because no one will say anything either way. so if you are on the train for 10 hours and you are hungry just eat something and keep it discreet. that would be my advice.
by KyushuGrl (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Food on JR Train 2011/12/15 00:03
I highly agree with the previous post, there are a lot of unwritten rules about manners in Japan, then there are various exception clauses to those manners as well, as well as things that are tolerated even though it's considered a bad manner.

Things like walking and eating, of course bad manners, and it would be odd to see someone chugging down a big mac while walking, but then again, you can people (especially in the morning rush) who do eat a morning pastry or something quick while walking to work as well. Honestly speaking I don't think anyone really cares about that or bats an eye. It's really different then eating a bento while walking or as I mentioned plowing down into a big mac.

For for the train about eating/drinking. Eating something like fried chicken in a packed commuter/subway train is NOT advisable, I did in fact see a group of Japanese students do this, the smell was so strong, and the car really crowded, it did give me a headache.

On the other hand, if you are in the commuter train and it's not so full, and there's space around you, if you took out a nutrition bar to eat real quick, not many people are going to care about it as much or if at all. Or rather that would be more tolerated then if you pulled out a box of Fried Chicken.

Again, there are a lot of rules about mannerisms, there are also things that are pretty much tolerated, especially in modern city life. Though it's tolerated to a certain point depending on the individual circumstances.

As mentioned by other posters, I'm speaking in regards to regular commuter trains. There are also medium to long distance trains that do have table set-ups as well, and eating on them is ok.

Though you'd want to avoid eating something that has any particularly strong odors.
by ExpressTrain (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Food on JR Train 2011/12/16 23:43
Once it was quite populor to have luch bos (Eki-Ben) of each station on long ride trips.

On the other hand on urban liner, U can eat only if U can eat with standing or else.
try Curry-PAN my favorite.
by 36madcooky rate this post as useful

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