Japanese Cultural Tips for Travelers

  • Greet and say “Thank You” with a slight bow
  • Refrain from showing body tattoos – Body art is considered disrespectful when shown in public. Many public baths / hot spring places will not allow you to enter if you have body tattoos or even just painting on your body.
  • While Commuting in Public Transport (Trains/Buses):
    • Refrain from talking on your mobile phones – Japanese treasure the quiet and peaceful environment. Hence, it would be appreciated that you talk quietly (if necessary) with your family and/or friends in the train.
    • Eating and drinking are not allowed in the train.
    • Do not use the phone speaker if you are watching a movie/video clip. Use your earphones.
    • Do not sit with your legs crossed. This may become an obstacle to those standing especially when it is very crowded.
    • Do not sit in priority seats for elderly, pregnant women or disabled. Even for the regular seats, give them up as needed.
  • Queue & Move In An Orderly Manner – Japanese queue in an orderly manner whenever they are waiting for buses, trains, and elevators. When the bus or train arrives, they board and alight in an orderly manner too.
  • Do not Litter – If there are no trash bins around, keep your trash with you till you see one.
  • Bring Easy-To-Remove Shoes – For places such as pubs, inns, hot springs, ryokan to name a few, you will be asked to take off your shoes. Hence, it will be good to bring easy-to-remove shoes.
  • Arrange Your Shoes Neatly – Whenever you are asked to take off your shoes, arrange them neatly, facing outwards.
  • Wear A Mask If You Are Unwell – If you catch a cold in Japan, it is appreciated if you wear a mask. This shows the respect you have for everyone around you.
  • Ask Before Taking Photos or Touching Any Decorative Items In The Retail Store – Out of respect, you would need to ask before taking any photographs or touching any decorative items in the retail store.
  • No External Food & Drinks Allowed In Restaurant – In Japan, bringing external food and drinks into a restaurant is not allowed. This includes mineral water bottle as well.
  • Public Baths / Hot Spring – Please shower before going into public baths like hot spring. The bathtub is for you to relax your body.
  • No Tipping Culture – Tipping is not required in Japan.
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