Customs In Japan That Foreigners Should Follow

Customs That Foreigners Should Observe While In Japan

A japanese woman wearing a traditional kimono walking on a rany day

When travelling to Japan, it is important to be aware of the customs and etiquette that you are expected to follow. There are some key points you should remember, such as removing your shoes when entering a home or temple. Additionally, you should always be respectful when visiting shrines and temples – this means not taking photos without permission and not making loud noises. You also need to ensure that you dress modestly before entering a sacred or religious area. You can do so by wearing clothing that covers your knees and shoulders.

When you go out to eat, it’s important to avoid sticking chopsticks into food as this is considered quite rude. It’s also best to avoid eating or drinking on the train for similar reasons. Try not to blow your nose in public where possible too as this is not polite either.

Japanese are usually more reserved than other cultures, so it’s best to keep that in mind and not to touch people or their belongings without permission. This also applies to taking photos of others without their permission, so ensure to avoid capturing any people in your photos where possible. As a general rule, you should always be respectful of others’ privacy, especially in bathrooms and locker rooms. Extreme public displays of affection are also not encouraged, as this may make some feel uncomfortable.

When talking to others, it’s best to avoid mentioning politics, religion, or any personal topics when possible. These are regarded as topics that can provoke quite private or sensitive conversations, so try to stick to general everyday conversation starters.

As long as you follow these simple customs while on your trip to Japan, you’ll ensure that you have an enriching and respectful experience, both for yourself and the locals!


How being polite in Japan may differ from other countries

A crowd of people crossing the road in Tokyo

Being polite in Japan may be very different to what is considered polite in other countries. For instance, in America, it is polite and usually expected to tip for services that you are happy with. However, it’s the opposite case in Japan. It is not customary to tip – and, while some places may accept it, others may return your money to you. Bargaining or haggling is not customary in shops either.

Remember to always be respectful of the local customs and culture, too. Be humble and polite when you interact with the locals – and try to learn a few simple Japanese phrases, as it is always appreciated! Just learning a few simple Japanese words shows that you’ve put the effort into learning something about their culture. To get you off to a solid start, “kon’nichiwa” means hello (daytime greeting only), “arigatou gozaimasu” means thank you, and “sumimasen” means excuse me. Generally, these words are pronounced how they are written – however, you may want to double-check their pronunciation on Google before using them with locals.

Also, be respectful of the places you visit. This means not littering, being patient when waiting in line or using public transportation, and not smoking in public places. Small acts like these can really make a world of difference!


How to partake in Japanese cultural festivities

Two Japanese girls wearing traditional yukata, in a temple

Japan is home to a wide variety of cultural festivals and holidays. From the well-known Cherry Blossom Festival in spring to the lesser-known but equally beautiful autumn leaves festival, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

One of the best ways to experience these festivities is to actually participate in them. This can be done by simply enjoying the sights and sounds of the festival, or by taking part in some of the traditional activities that are often held during these events.

The cherry blossom festival is one of Japan’s most popular annual events. Every year, people from all over the country flock to see the beautiful pink flowers in full bloom. The festival usually lasts for about two weeks, and during that time there are often stalls set up selling traditional Japanese foods and souvenirs. There are also a number of performances and shows that take place during the festival, so there is plenty to see and do.

The autumn leaves festival is another popular event that takes place in Japan. This one celebrates the changing of the seasons, and the beautiful fall foliage that can be seen all over the country. It is quite similar to the cherry blossom festival – but offers an entirely different scenic element.

New Year’s Day is one of the most important holidays in Japan. It is a time for family and friends to get together and celebrate the start of a new year. On New Year’s Eve, people often eat a traditional meal called oshogatsu, which consists of different dishes that are thought to bring good luck in the new year. Many people also visit shrines and temples on New Year’s Day to pray for good fortune in the coming year.

Participating is these beautiful cultural events – while also being mindful of the local customs and etiquette – will make your trip to Japan a truly memorable one!