Queueing in Japan


How do you feel when you see an unknown queue? graph of japanese statistics

I thought it was us British that were a nation of queuers, but the Japanese do take the same pride in their ability to stand in a line, so this survey from Research Plus took a look at queueing.


Between the 13th and 18th of January 2016 760 members of the Research Plus monitor group completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 54.7% of the sample were female, 2.5% in their twenties, 5.7% in their thirties, 17.5% in their forties, 30.3% in their fifties, and 44.1% aged sixty or older. The sample was also split 50:50 between residents of Kanto (Tokyo area) and Kansai (Osaka area), although not too much difference was to be seen in the answers.

Queues in Japan, outside of the obvious places like Disneyland, are often found when foreign chains open their first branch in Japan, and last days if not weeks until the novelty wears off. Ramen restaurants are another favourite, but I avoid both these kinds of places as my stomach tells me waiting a couple of hours is not worth it! Thirty minutes is the most I’m prepared to wait for food.

Research results

Q1 was about how long people were prepared to queue for different kinds of things, but for some reason it was not published. Over an hour was acceptable to 11.4% for theme parks, and 5.1% for concerts. Overall, the most popular maximum wait was 30 minutes or less, with 28.8% selecting that time.

Q2: What is the longest you have ever queued for something? (Sample size=760)

Less than five minutes2.0%
Less than ten minutes1.3%
Less than 30 minutes6.7%
Less than one hour22.4%
Less than one and a half hours27.2%
Less than two hours14.5%
Less than two and a half hours17.5%
Less than three hours3.7%
Less than four hours5.1%
More than four hours3.2%

Q3: After your longest queueing, how satisfying was the outcome? (Sample size=760)

Very satisfying2.4%
Just OK50.7%
Very dissatisfying4.2%

Q4: What do you do while queueing? (Sample size=760, multiple answer)

Fiddle with smartphone, etc21.3%
Read book14.9%
Listen to music9.3%
Play portable game machine2.2%
Fiddle with laptop, tablet1.6%
Revise vocabulary, text books0.0%
Eat, drink5.8%
Nothing in particular23.0%

Q5: Other than the length of time queueing, what annoys you about queueing? (Sample size=760, multiple answer)

People not bunching up43.8%
Sloppy queueing42.5%
Reserving a spot38.3%
People talking loudly35.5%
People bunching up too tightly23.8%
Leaky headphones12.0%
People moaning about the length of the queue10.5%
People eating, drinking4.3%
Nothing in particular9.9%

Q6: How do you most often feel after queueing? (Sample size=760)

Glad I queued, and would queue again12.1%
Glad I queued, but wouldn’t queue again59.9%
Don’t want to queue again28.0%

Q7: How do you feel when you see people queueing for some unknown reason? (Sample size=760)

Curious, and queue up myself2.8%
Curious, and ask someone queueing what it’s for20.7%
Curious, and have a look round to see what it’s for17.2%
Curious, and stop to watch for a little23.2%
Curious, but don’t stop24.6%
Not curious11.6%

Q8: If there is a reservation system (eg Fast Pass at theme parks), do you use it? (Sample size=760)

Yes, often15.8%
Yes, sometimes49.9%
No, rarely19.9%
No, not at all14.5%
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