February: 信号機

“Shingōki” 信号機is the Japanese term for traffic light. This month, as the Japan-America Society of Washington DC is sharing terms associated with travel in Japan with you, we will talk about some of the driving terminology and rules in Japan that differ from that in the US.

Constantly, regardless of where you are in Japan, you will come across the term “Tomare” 止まれand this simply means stop. The only difference is Japan’s stop sign being triangular versus America’s being an octagon; other than this, the sign bears the same bright red color and the word – when painted on the ground – has is both written in Japanese kanji/hiragana, as well as romaji (Latin alphabet).

An important rule to adhere to in Japan is that turning left on a red signal is prohibited in all circumstances. This rule is somewhat similar to our no right turn on red rule, except it is applied to every red light you encounter.

Darnbrook, James. “Driving in Japan: What You Need To Know.” GaijinPot Blog, blog.gaijinpot.com/driving-in-japan/.