There are many hurried people in Japan, especially during the rush hours. And the escalator etiquette is strictly observed everywhere. In most Japanese cities, the standing people are on the left side, leaving the right side for those walking. However, in Osaka and a few other surrounding cities, it’s the other way around: the people are standing on the right side.
The reason for this peculiarity is said to come from the medieval period. Edo (today’s Tokyo) and many other cities were populated by many samurai, who were walking carrying their swords on the left hip. In order to avoid accidentally hitting each other with the sword sheaths, they were walking on the left side of the road.
Osaka however, was a city of merchants, and many people were walking while carrying baggage in their right hand, so they were walking on the right side of the road.
Now, it appears that this local custom is about to be changed forever, because the government of Osaka wants to pass an ordinance that would ask people to stand on the escalators on the left side, like in the rest of the country. Why? Because they fear that the tourists coming for the 2020 Olympics will be confused…
Well, as a tourist myself, I always enjoyed this peculiarity of Osaka. And there are already a lot of tourists in Osaka, and in all these years I haven’t seen any problems caused by this distinctive escalator etiquette…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: