Clean Japan! Exactly. Anyone visiting Japan for the first time will immediately notice how clean everything is. Having lived in Japan for so long, I sometimes take it for granted, but am reminded when I travel to other countries. It is hard not to compare and appreciate when the situation changes. Here is what you can expect in terms of the cleanliness of Japan.
It all starts upon arrival. No need to fear public restrooms, boarding a train, taxi, or bus.
Clean Japan is Everywhere!
A few years ago, a friend of mine visited me here in Japan and commented that he couldn’t find any trash receptacles anywhere, yet there was no litter in the streets. Most trash bins are located at convenience stores, but generally people take their own trash home. Can you imagine?
The 7-Minute Miracle
The Shinkansen is amazing in itself, and always immaculate. There are two reasons for this. The first is that the passengers take their trash with them when exiting the train. The other is known as “the 7-minute miracle.” The entire train gets cleaned in 7 minutes. At cleaning time the train pulls in for exactly 12 minutes, giving all passengers a few minutes to exit, then the cleaning crew goes into action. It must be complete in 7 minutes because this train is always precisely on time. I love riding the Shinkansen!
Walking down the street in the morning, shortly before small and large businesses open, you will notice shopkeepers sweeping the sidewalks and street gutters in front of their shops. Apartment building superintendents as well as homeowners do the same thing. As soon as the biweekly trash is picked up by (clean) sanitation trucks, you will see the building superintendent hosing down and cleaning the trash area.
Are You a Smoker?
You won’t find anyone smoking while walking in the streets. There is a special and clean place for that- if you can find it.
I usually travel to the USA once a year and spend some of my time in New York City. This is where I get my “reminder” about Japan’s cleanliness. I love New York, but it certainly doesn’t compare. Japan sets one of the best examples in the world.
Why is Japan so Clean?
I could go on and on about how clean Japan is, but the real question is “why?” I think my opinion is accurate- education. It all begins in elementary school with students working together to clean the classrooms, restrooms, actually the entire school. Edward from Smith’s School of English Otsu goes into more detail about education in Japan, to include cleaning here. It’s an interesting read.
It continues through senior high school. The general public is also reminded through signage around the cities and towns.
It is about respect for the environment and other people. Most everyone cooperates, and the result is a clean and beautiful place to live! Clean Japan! Thanks for reading!
Jim; Smith’s School of English, Sagamihara
Derek Maeckelburg says
Good blog post, Jim. It certainly is one of the great things about living in Japan.
Thanks Derek. We know we are lucky!
It is true that we see examples of how clean, orderly and safe Japan is everyday. Amazing country to live.
Thanks Mark, well said.