Japan is a country with a rich culture and history, and it is important for tourists to be aware of the manners and etiquette when visiting. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
- Learn a few basic words in Japanese, such as “hello” (konnichiwa) and “thank you” (arigatou gozaimasu).
- When entering a store or restaurant, it is customary for a staff member to say “Irasshaimase” (welcome). You’re not expected to reply. Just a simple smile and nod will do.
- Some places will require you to remove your shoes before entering a traditional Japanese store and it’s usually always done at someone’s home.
- When paying for your items, put the money into the money tray by the cashier or hand the money to the cashier with both hands.
- It is important to be respectful of others’ personal space and avoid physical contact.
- It is customary to say “Itadakimasu” before eating, which means “I humbly receive.”
- When using chopsticks, it is important not to point them at others or leave them standing upright in your food.
- It is polite to finish all the food on your plate.
- One good Japanese phrase to say after eating at a restaurant is “Gochisousama deshita,” which means “Thank you for the meal.”
- Tipping is not necessary in Japan. Attempts to leave a tip will likely be turned down and may even cause confusion.
Public Transportation Etiquette
- It is important to be quiet and respectful on public transportation, such as trains and buses.
- It is customary to give up your seat to elderly or disabled passengers.
- Pay attention to which side of the escalator people stand on. In Tokyo, people stand on the left and walk on the right but in other cities, it may be the opposite.
- Before entering the onsen, it is important to wash your body thoroughly.
- It is customary to be completely naked when entering the onsen.
- Do not put your towel inside the bathtub.
- Modesty is appreciated, so use your small towel to casually hide your nether regions as you move from changing room to the onsen.
- It’s best not to eat before bathing in the onsen, but you need to drink a lot of water before and after your onsen bath.
- Keep your bath to a minimum. Staying in the onsen for too long can be seen as rude.
- It is important to be respectful of Japanese customs and traditions, such as bowing and gift-giving.
- It is important to be aware of the noise level in public places, such as parks and temples.
- It is important to be respectful of Japanese culture and avoid controversial topics, such as politics and religion.
By keeping these tips in mind, tourists can show respect for Japanese culture and make the most of their experience. It is important to note that there are many other manners and etiquette to be aware of when visiting Japan. However, by being respectful and courteous, tourists can have a positive and memorable experience in this beautiful country.
Dining Out in Japan