Interesting Sounds in Japan- Not Always Music to Your Ears!

  • Less nature and a lot more people! Big cities and those which are as dense as Tokyo and Osaka are prone to be loud and present a variety of noises at almost every corner. Also by that, we do not mean car horns during rush hour or crowds of people. Technologically advanced Japan produces its own unique sounds, usually created electronically.

    Electronic birds chirping at train stations

    When arriving at a train station, you may hear a birdsong being played. At first, one may think there is a birds nest hidden somewhere, but you will soon realise that it is always the same birdsong being played. The reason behind this is for the visually impaired to lead them to the exit!

    5 PM afternoon song

    In most neighbourhoods, you will hear a song being played through public speakers at 5 PM. It is to let children know that it is time to go home and has a very pleasant sound to it!

    Promotional trucks and cars

    Whether it’s politicians, the police or new music bands, everyone wants to be heard. During protests, this may be considered a bit aggressive, although new albums or bands are always interesting to hear and observe passing by.

    Shop Background Music (BGM)

    Some stores, especially those targeting young funky teenagers, tend to have loud and annoying BGM music. Have a look at 109 in Shibuya, if you need to find out more. But be warned: during sales it is the worst!

    ‘Bicycle police’

    Illegally parked bicycles are a nuisance, especially if they are left in front of stores or near the station. Soon the ‘bicycle police’ will pass by with an alarming sound or melody to give ‘offenders’ one last chance to move their bicycles away.

    Talking elevators and escalators

    For the visually impaired, as well as those who have their nose glued to their smartphones, talking elevators and escalators are helpful to avoid collisions or missed floors.

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