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About smoking

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About smoking

I am leaving for Tokyo in about a week, and while yes I know it's not a good habit to have I'm a smoker. I read on a few different sites that smoking while walking isn't allowed, and so I was wondering is it okay to smoke anywhere on the street as long as your not walking and don't throw the cigarette butt on the ground (i.e. have portable ashtray)?

Also I read something about smoking areas on the streets, are these hard to find? And what about smoking in bars or restaurants?

Don't really want to be rude or get in trouble for smoking when I finally get to Tokyo, so I thought that the best policy is to just ask. :)

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1. Re: About smoking


I don't smoke but even without looking for them I've noticed signage about smoking on the streets and designated smoking areas.It's the city wards that decide and apply the rules rather than Tokyo as a whole so they'll vary across the city. I think where there are restrictions it may just be on certain streets but maybe some wards have wider bans? I don't think standing still negates any of the restrictions!

You'll sometimes see signs painted on the pavement like here:


They may just be there in that example because it's near the boundary between Chiyoda and Bunkyo wards. I think smoking areas tend to be called Smoking Corners. You'll know them when you see, or smell, them.

You'll be on safer ground inside bars etc. Ashtrays tend to be a giveaway...

Toronto, Canada
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2. Re: About smoking

I was shocked to see that smoking is still allowed in restaurants and bars in Japan. There does appear to be many restaurants that are smoke free. Does anyone know of any bars/pubs in Tokyo that don't allow smoking? Thanks.

London, United...
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3. Re: About smoking

Smoking in bars and restaurants is commonplace, I usually find that most of the prime seats are in the smoking section.

Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: About smoking

Interestingly, on our recent trip, my husband and I were pretty amused to find no smoking signs out on the streets and instead, indoor smoking is permitted inside many of the restaurants.

Tokyo, Japan
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for Hakone-machi, Minato
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5. Re: About smoking

Although many chain restaurants are moving towards "no smoking," many smaller places, ie mom and pop shops, are having difficulty going smoke free as they can't afford to turn away customers, especially long-time customers who are smokers. They're just not brave enough to take the final step.

As for bars, pubs and izakayas, I'm afraid I've never been in one that's smoke free. As places go "clean," the smokers start patronizing places that don't have such rules. Consequently, drinking and smoking seem to go hand in hand.

Smoking is quite frowned upon while walking. And dangerous for the people who are walking nearby a smoker! There are indeed "smoking areas" on the streets, but you would need to know where it is as there are no signs. Many buildings have "smoking rooms," but I can't recall off hand where they were. Generally speaking, all areas near train stations are no smoking zones. And of course, in the different wards.

Slowly, though, Japan is having less and less smokers.

San Francisco...
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6. Re: About smoking

In large cities in Japan, there are areas where it's illegal (not just impolite) to smoke on the sidewalk or street. I'm not sure how well these areas are marked with English signs. So I would limit your outdoor smoking to areas where you see Japanese smokers congregated. It's really serious to break any law in Japan.

Foreigners are generally allowed some leeway on breaking rules of etiquette, so you can get away with drinking a can of soda on the street, or blowing your nose in public, but try to do these things discreetly.

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7. Re: About smoking

Smoking while wlaking is more of a 'politeness' issue than anything. While signs may say Smoking is Prohibited on sidewalk, this is never enforced. Smoking rules/ettiquette in Japan is about where US/Aust/UK were in the 80's. As a smoker you will feel like a majority member of society instead of a minority.

As always, use commonsense and be aware of others, and your smoking will not be an issue anywhere. Japanese men are most certainly not considerate in regards to their smoking habits, so any constraint you can show will be silently appreciated.

Tokyo, Japan
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8. Re: About smoking

In Chiyoda, 6000 people were fined in a year.

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9. Re: About smoking

I just got back from Japan and noticed something different this time. There are SMOKING PLACES/Corners for smokers outside the malls etc. It seems that they might have an ongoing campaign. Previously, smokers can light up almost anywhere.

Even at restaurants, there are smoking and non smoking areas now. You probably can't light up in an air conditioned areas.

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10. Re: About smoking

Thank you all for your kind help and answers! :)

This helps to know at least a little bit what to expect when I arrive to Tokyo.

If smoking bans on street isn't forced like Douglass4 said I'm guessing I can smoke on the street at least where our apartment is. Since that's what the people from the agency we reserved our apartment from told me to do, since smoking in the apartment isn't allowed and they don't have a designated smoking area... or do I need to worry about getting fined?