Advice

Things you SHOULDN’T do in Japan

Each country has its own rules, habits, culture, and practices. In a country with a unique culture like Japan, visitors can feel a little intimidated by the culture and rules that are practiced in an everyday lifestyle. There are many things in Japan that most foreigners may not know and it might offend or anger locals. Foreigners visiting Japan are not expected to know all the rules and practices, but knowing some basics will help a lot. For every country you visit, it’s a good idea to know some basics about the country’s culture. To help you understand better and enjoy your visit to Japan, here are 5 things you shouldn’t do in Japan.  

 

  • Shoes are removed at home, work, restaurants, and schools

 

If you are just visiting Japan, there is a good chance you will eat at a Japanese style restaurant (Izakaya). Restaurants have shoe lockers at the entrance so you can place your shoes before entering the dining area. Shoes and slippers are not permitted. 

If you are staying at a hostel or hotel (Ryokan), you need to remove your shoes at the entrance and change into the provided slippers.

When visiting a Japanese home, remove your shoes at the entrance (Genkan). If slippers are provided, it is polite to wear them. If sleepers are not provided: don’t worry entering with socks is acceptable. However, it is important to know that you need to remove your slippers if you are going into a tatami floor room.

 

 

  • Poking chopsticks on the in rice
    This is probably the most unacceptable way to handle chopsticks because it symbolizes death and bad luck. In Japanese funerals, chopsticks are stuck into the rice to remind Japanese people of death.

 

  • Don’t leave a tip
    Japanese people do not tip, because leaving a tip may be taken as an insult. Service excellence is a part of the job and saying thank you is enough to thank your server. In Japan, the service (tip) is included in the bill at restaurants. Japanese staff will not expect nor accept a tip. 


  • Avoid eating on the go
    Walking and eating are looked at in a bad manner and disrespectful. Fast food sold on the streets and drinks from the vending machines are consumed immediately.

    Also, eating or drinking in public transport are both considered bad manners. However, there are some exceptions, like eating: 

    • For long-distance trips 
    • At Festivals 
    • At Cherry blossom viewing parties
    • On Parks

    • Respect the Escalator System
      In Japan, there are crowds of people rushing to get to work or their desired destinations. To avoid getting stuck by people who are not in a hurry Japanese people have an escalator system. The rule is that people stand on the left side of the escalator and pass on the right. People who are in a hurry will pass on the right side. This allows those who are in a hurry to avoid getting stuck behind those who are moving at a slow pace.

shannon maldonado

Hi, my name is Shannon I am from the US. I like Japanese food. Some words that describe my character are creative and determined.

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