Japanese Train Announcements (電車のアナウンス ): How to Understand The Meaning and Key Phrases

You can barely survive in Japan if you don’t know the language, but taking their train? It’s another war. Unfortunately, you can’t pick your battle when it comes to the Japanese public transportation system; with most cities having complex (but convenient) train services, chikatetsu (subway) and densha (train) are the most common travel options.

Coto Academy is a Japanese language school located in Tokyo and Yokohama. With its small class sizes and flexible course schedule, we ensure the students find their community here in Japan and learn practical and useful daily-life Japanese by focusing on conversational practice.

Have you heard of this phrase before?

Kyuuteisha shimasu. Gochuui kudasai. Kyuuteisha shimasu. Gochuui kudasai.

If you don’t know the meaning, you risk being jerked by the sudden train stop. The train announcement phrase above means: The train will stop suddenly. Please be careful.

While most central train lines provide English services, many Japanese train and train stations don’t provide enough English translations for important information. The Tobu Tojo Line, for example, mostly use Japanese announcements inside the train.

This is why you still need to know all the essential Japanese train announcements or 電車内で耳にするアナウンス (denshanai de mimi suru annaunsu). Check out our guide below for help!

Check out our full Japanese vocabulary cheat sheet here.

Jump to Japanese train announcements you’ll hear when:

What You Need to Know About Train Transportation System in Japan

Traveling by train in Japan is easy and efficient. If you visit Japan for the first time, you can consider buying a Japanese national or regional rail pass. The JR pass is of great value and will make your life much easier in Japan. The JR pass is valid across multiple trains, including Shinkansen and Narita Express. Passengers can choose how long they want the pass, from 7, 14, or 21 days. There is also an option of a Standard Pass or a Green Pass (first class). The JR Pass can be easily ordered online. You will receive an Exchange Order, which you can swap for a JR Pass when you arrive in Japan.

Train maps are also available for download online or at all train stations and airports in Japan. Whether taking the local train or Shinkansen, navigating is never a problem. However, you should familiarise yourself with the Japanese train announcements you might hear to make your travel as easy as possible.

Train Travel in Japan

There are six major train categories in Japan. Japan’s trains are well-developed, clean, efficient, and punctual, and their extensive rail network covers almost every part of the country. However, train stops are less frequent if you’re at a smaller train station.

  • 普通列車 – Local (futsuu). Local trains stop at every station.
  • 準急 – Semi-express (junkyuu). Skips a few particularly small stations within the train line.
  • 快速 – Rapid (kaisoku). Skips a few stations compared to the semi-express train.
  • 急行 – Express (kyuuko). Express trains stop at even fewer stations than rapid trains.
  • 特急 – Limited Express (tokkyu). Limited express trains stop only at major stations.
  • 新幹線 – Shinkansen . High-speed express train lines.

Some rapid trains require reserved seating, where you pay a slightly higher train fee. Inside the train, you’ll also find different seating types that you can choose from when purchasing your ticket. While waiting at the platform or for the train to move, a conductor usually checks the tickets to ensure they use the correct car.

  • 自由席 (jiyuu seki) – Non-Reserved Seating. You need not make a prior reservation and are typically either the first three or last three cars of the train.
  • 指定席 (shitei seki) – Reserved Seating. You would require to make a reservation at the ticket counter.
  • 優先座席 (yuusen zaseki) – Priority Seating. Priority seating is reserved for people who are in need such as the elderly and pregnant women or people with physical disabilities.

Tired of having to buy a ticket whenever traveling around Japan? We have a special tip for you! Coto’s trusted partner, Japan Rail Pass, sells JR Rail Passes that allow you to travel UNLIMITEDLY around Tokyo for a specific duration! They also provide pocket wifi rental and SIM card services! Check them out here!

Japanese Train Announcements

The usual announcements are also frequently made across its speakers to alert passengers to stay safe, the next stop, and which door will open. Here are some common and uncommon announcements you might hear when traveling by train in Japan.

First of all, look at these useful Japanese terms that you may hear in train platforms in Japan.

~行き~ yukiBound for ~ (place)
~方面~ houmenFor ~ (direction)
~線~ sen~ Line

Japanese Train Announcements Before Boarding a Train in Japan

1. You usually hear this while waiting for the train that is approaching the platform

まもなく, でんしゃがまいります。
Mamonaku, densha ga mairimasu

Meaning: The train is coming soon

2. You usually hear this just as the train is about to arrive at the platform

Mamonaku sanban-sen-ni kaisoku ◯◯ yuki-ga mairimasu. Kiiroi sen no uchigawa ni sagatte omachi kudasai.

Meaning: Rapid train bound for ◯◯ will be arriving at platform 3 shortly. Please stand back behind the yellow line and wait.

3. Some train stations may repeat this sentence for the safety of their passengers

Kakekomi josha wa densha no doa ni te nado o hasamare taihen kiken desu node oyame kudasai.

Meaning: Please stop making a dash for the train as it may result in your hand being stuck between train doors and it is dangerous for that reason.

Bonus: You typically hear this on JR trains in the Kansai area to inform you to stand in an orderly manner for boarding.

Kono ressha wa ◯◯-ryou de kousei sa remasu. Jousha ichi wa hakushoku sankaku, narabini ◯◯-ban kara ◯◯-ban de shimesa remasu. ◯◯-retsu o keisei shite ressha ni jousha shite kudasai.

Meaning: This train consists of 12 cars. Boarding locations are indicated by white triangles and No.1 through 12. Please form two lines to board the train.”

Japanese Train Announcements You’ll Hear When You Get on The Train in Japan

1. You hear this when you enter the train

Gojosha arigatou gozaimasu.

Meaning:  Thank you for riding this train.

2. You hear this to know which direction the train is heading to

Kono densha wa,◯◯ mei,◯◯ yukidesu.

Meaning: This is a (Line Name) Line train bound for fo (Destination).

Kono densha wa, , , yuki desu.

Meaning: This train is going to (Station A), (Station B), and (Station C).

3. You hear this in trains to remind yourself to be mindful of people in need and give up your seats if necessary

Kono densha ni wa, yuusen seki ga arimasu. O toshiyori ya, karada no fujiyuuna okyakusama, ninshin-chuu ya, nyuuyouji o otsuure no okyakusama ga irasshaimashitara, seki o o yuzuri kudasai.
Meaning: There are priority seats reserved for elderly and handicapped passengers, expecting mothers, and passengers accompanying small children.

Okyakusama no gokyouryoku o onegaishimasu.

Meaning: We thank you for your cooperation.

4. You hear this as a reminder to ride the train peacefully

Okyakusama ni onegai itashimasu. Yuusen seki fukin de wa, keitaidenwa no dengen o o kiri kudasai.

Meaning: Please switch off your mobile phone when you are near the priority seats.

Sore igai no bashode wa, mana-mo-do ni settei no ue, tsuuwa wa o hikae kudasai. Go kyouryoku o onegai itashimasu.

Meaning: Please set it to silent mode (manner mode) and refrain from talking on the phone in other areas. Thank you for your cooperation.

Japanese Train Announcements You’ll Hear When A Train is Making Stops

1. This is to tell you that the train will be arriving at its stop soon

間も無く 到着します
Mamonaku touchaku shimasu

Meaning: “We will be reaching (station) soon”

2. Announcement about the next stop for the train as well as which side the door will open.

まもなく、 。お出口は、右(左)側です。
Mamonaku, , 。O deguchi wa, migi (hidari)-gawadesu.

Meaning: The next station is (Station), (Station)*. The next station is . The doors on the right (left) side will open.

(Note: The announcer usually repeats the name of the station twice. For example, if the train is stopping at Ikebukuro, they will say, “Mamonaku, Ikebukuro. Ikebukuro.”)

2. You hear this typically on rapid trains that do not stop at all stations


Kono ressha wa , ,…, ni tomarimasu. o deta nochi wa, shuuten ni touchaku suru made subete no eki ni teisha shimasu.

Meaning: This train will stop at (Station A), (Station B),…., and (Station C). After leaving (Station C), it will stop at every station before arriving at (Final Station).

Japanese Train Announcements for Transfers

If your destination is on a different train line, you’ll have to transfer the train somewhere in between. This is known as norikae (のりかえ・乗り換え).

Shounan-shinjuku rain, Saikyou-sen, Soutetsu-sen e no chokutsuu unten (no ressha),… wa norikaedesu.

Meaning: Please change here for the Shonan-Shinjuku line, the Saikyo line, through service to the Sotetsu line.

Kochira de, -sen to chikatetsu ni norikaete kudasai.

Meaning: Please change to the (Train)-Line and the (Train) Subway Line here.”

sen norikaeru joukyaku wa, sono Eki de norikaete kudasai.

Meaning: Passengers changing to the line, please transfer at this station.

sen e iku joukyaku wa, kochira de densha o norikaete kudasai.

Meaning: For passengers going to the Line, please change trains here at .

The line name may be omitted when transferring to a branch line with only one station.

(私達は)まもなく、 に到着します。
(Watashitachi wa) mamonaku, ni touchaku shimasu.

Meaning: (We) will soon arrive in .

(Watashitachi wa) mamonaku, de mijikai teisha o okonaimasu

Meaning: We will soon make a brief stop at.

Common Japanese Train Announcements For Emergencies

1. You will hear either to let you know that the train has to change tracks due to an emergency

The train driver will announce this to ask you to be careful while the train is changing tracks.

Watashitachi wa betsu no senro e utsurimasu. Moshi anata ga tatte itara, tsuri kawa ka tesuri ni tsukamatte kudasai.

Meaning: We will be changing to another track. If you are standing, please hold on to the hand strap or rail.

Jiko o fusegu tame ni ressha ga kyuu ni tomaru hitsuyou ga aru kamo shiremasen. Desunode, ki o tsukete kudasai

Meaning: It may be necessary for the train to stop suddenly to prevent an accident, so please be careful.

2. You don’t usually hear this unless in case of emergency so you are prepared.

Go chuui kudasai. Kinkyuu bure-ki ga mochii raremashita.

Meaning: Attention please, the emergency brake has been applied.

Kyuuteisha shimasu. Gochuui kudasai. Kyuuteisha shimasu. Gochuui kudasai.

Meaning: The train will make a sudden stop. Please be careful. The train will make a sudden stop. Please be careful.

Useful Vocabulary

地下鉄chikatetsuUnderground Train
鉄道の駅 tetsudou no ekiTrain Station
入口 iriguchiEntrance
車掌shashouTrain Conductor
窓口mado guchiTicket Window
片道乗車券katamichi jousha kenOne-way Ticket
往復乗車券oufuku jousha kenRound Trip Ticket
指定券shitei kenReserved Seat Ticket
特急券tokkyuu kenLimited Express Ticket
改札kaisatsuTicket Gate
乗り場noribaRailway Platform
時刻表jikoku hyouTrain Schedule
往復料金oufuku ryoukinFare for Round Trip
子供料金kodomo ryoukinFare for Children
割引料金waribiki ryoukinDiscounted Fare
座席番号zaseki bangouSeat Number
普通座席futsuu zasekiStandard Seat
指定席shitei sekiReserved Seat
優先席yuusen sekiPriority Seat
窓側の席mado gawa no sekiWindow Seat
通路側の席tsuro gawa no sekiAisle Seat
禁煙車kinen shaNon-Smoking Car
喫煙車kitsuen shaSmoking Car
終点shuutenLast stop
出発時間shuppatsu jikanDeparture Time
到着時間touchaku jikanArrival Time

Useful Phrases

最寄りの鉄道駅はどこですか?Moyori no tetsudou-eki wa dokodesu ka?Where is the nearest train station?
〇〇 を往復する旅行をしたいです。 〇〇 o oufuku suru ryokō o shitaidesu.I want a round (back and forth) trip to 〇〇 .
〇〇 に行きたいです。どうしたらいいですか?〇〇 ni ikitai desu. Doushitara ii desuka?I want to go to 〇〇. What should I do?
〇〇 行きの電車はどれですか?〇〇 yuki no densha wa dore desuka?Which is the train heading to 〇〇
〇〇行きの次の電車は何時ですか?〇〇 yuki no tsugi no densha wa nanji desuka?When is the next train heading to
〇〇まであと何駅ですか?〇〇 made ato nan eki desuka?How many stations until we get to

Click here to download our printable cheat sheet (in PDF!) for useful vocabulary you can use while on a train in Japan!

Bonus: Common Phrases From Train Staff

Usually, train station staff will approach you and say this when you look like you require help. You can respond to them with “Daijoubu desu, arigatou gozaimasu,” which means “I’m alright, thank you” if you do not require help. Japan staff are often very friendly and ready to help, so do not hesitate when requiring assistance!

Nanika okomari desuka?

Meaning: “Do you need help?”

You seldom hear this in Japan but if there’s some kind of delay, they will announce it.

Densha ga okurete imasu

Meaning: The train is late.

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