■ paving blocks with raised portions (knobs, bars, etc.) that are installed on railway station platforms, sidewalks, etc., to provide guidance to blind and visually impaired people. On station platforms, they help to remind all pedestrians, both sighted and blind, to stay away from the edge of the platform. English names for 点字ブロック include "tactile warnings" and "detectable warnings."
点字（てんじ）, literally "dot letters," is the Japanese word for Braille, the tactile alphabet for the blind.
点字ブロック on an underground platform at Shimbashi Station, Tokyo, as a train whishes by. Photograph taken May 2000. When new, these blocks were a bright yellow, the most common color for 点字ブロック in Japan. The blocks with oblong dots (on the left side of the photograph) indicate places where it is safe to walk quickly, while the blocks with smaller, circular dots indicate platform edges, corners, and other places where care is required.
A line of 点字ブロック through a station concourse. Yokohama Station, May 2000.
Other colors are sometimes used for 点字ブロック so that they blend more subtly into their surroundings. The blocks here are on a street corner in a shopping and business area near Yokohama Station. May 2000.
This entry was created by Tom Gally, with an additional contribution by Maynard Hogg.