Rules and Manners

Customary Rules and Manners in Japan

As you start living in Japan, we would like to introduce to you some basic rules and manners that you are likely to encounter.

Coming of Age, Drinking and Smoking

In Japan, the legal age of majority is 20. You are underage until then, with respect to drinking alcoholic beverages and smoking tobacco products; you may also require a legal guardian in order to make a contract, such as for a credit card.
NB: Regardless of your age, smoking is prohibited throughout the Tohoku University Campuses.


You are required by law to wear a helmet when riding a scooter or motorbike, and to fasten your seatbelt when seated in the front of a moving vehicle. On highways, passengers in the back seat are also required to fasten their seatbelts. Using a mobile phone while driving is prohibited. Refrain from using mobile phones on public transport such as trains, subways and buses, and keep the ringer off, or set to “manner mode”.

Waiting in Line

At places like cashier counters at stores, bus stops and ticket offices, you have to wait in line for your turn. At bank teller windows, post offices, Japan Post Bank, places where many people are constantly waiting for their turn, there is often a machine dispensing numbered tickets, from which you take your number and wait until it is called.

Useful Resources