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  • Writer's pictureLeo Grebot

Customs and respect for Japanese culture. What you should NOT do.

Updated: Mar 23

Respect Japanese customs and traditions.
Respect Japanese customs and traditions.

Customs and respect for Japanese culture

1. Don't Talk Loud in Public Places

In Japan, respect for others is key, and this includes keeping your voice low in public places like trains and buses. People usually speak quietly and use headphones so as not to disturb others.

2. Avoid Using Your Mobile Phone on the Train

On most trains, there are signs asking you to put your phone on silent mode and not to talk on the phone in the cars.

3. Don't Eat While Walking

Although this may vary in some tourist locations, it is generally considered inappropriate to eat while walking down the street. Find a bench or a quiet place to enjoy your meal.

4. Don't Tip

Tipping is not common in Japan and can be misinterpreted. The excellent quality of service is already included in the bill.

5. Don't Get in the Bathtub Without Washing First

If you visit an onsen, be sure to soap up and rinse thoroughly before entering the communal bathtub. The bathtub is for soaking only, not for washing.

6. Don't Point Your Chopsticks or Pass Food With Them

These gestures are similar to funeral rituals, and doing them at the table is considered in very bad taste.

7. Don't Forget to Take Off Your Shoes

In many places, it is essential to remove your shoes before entering. They can provide you with slippers to wear inside.

8. Avoid Cutting a Line or Cutting in

Discipline and courtesy are important, and this includes waiting your turn in lines for trains, buses, elevators, etc.

9. Don't Photograph People or Private Property without Permission

Ask permission before photographing anyone and avoid photographing private property or restricted areas.

10. Don't Smoke on the Street Except in Designated Areas

Many cities have strict laws against smoking in the street, but there are often designated smoking areas.

11. Don't Get in a Taxi without Opening the Door

Taxis have automatic doors controlled by the driver. Wait for the driver to open the door before entering or exiting.

12. Don't Touch People Without Permission

Even handshakes are not common in Japan, and people often bow rather than touch.

13. Avoid Coughing or Blowing Your Nose in Public

If you need to do this, it's best to wear a scarf and move away from people if possible.

14. Do not deposit trash in public

Trash cans are scarce, so save your trash until you find a suitable place to deposit it.

15. Avoid Public Discussions or Conflicts

Maintaining harmony is valued in Japanese society, so avoid arguments or open conflicts in public.

By following these guidelines, you will not only respect local rules, but you will also have a more authentic and enriching experience during your visit to Japan. Observe and learn from local people, and don't hesitate to ask for help if you have any questions. Have a good trip! 🗾


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