Top cultural tips for JapanPosted by Martin Parker on
The island nation of Japan is on many peoples bucket list, and rightly so. For anyone from the USA or Western Europe, the culture of Japan is very different and intriguing. The land of Sushi, Sumo, Emperors and the bullet train is similar in size to Germany but with a much larger population.
Japanese culture is very conservative, polite and respectful. Etiquette and customs are very important and
Respect and courtesy are paramount!
Don’t stand out as a tourist!
It is normal for Japanese people to dress
Talking loudly on your phone is a very quick way to annoy your Japanese hosts! This includes when on public transport, such as the bullet train, where it’s polite to put your phone on silent. If it’s an urgent call, then move to the doorway between carriages to avoid disturbing your fellow passengers.
The other place to put your phone on silent is in areas of respect such as temples and shrines. This is true
While we are
Unlike most western countries, the tipping of staff
It may come as a shock
The same applies to eating and drinking. Many stores now provide seating areas outside the store for this very reason.
Consideration for other people is the driving factor here, so if you bear that in mind and avoid anything that may annoy, it’s a good start!
Unlike the humble knife and fork, chopsticks have symbolic meanings and
Use your chopsticks to eat your food. Don’t try passing a piece of food to your friend with them, but
Standing your chopsticks upright in your rice bowl has a special meaning that
There is a holder for your chopsticks when not in use. Remember to use it and prevent them from falling off the table.
Japanese etiquette is to say a toast, followed by “
For Americans, this is normal, but in many European cities, crossing in between rows of cars is common practice. It’s illegal and true to their strong beliefs in law and order, the Japanese will not do it.
Before visiting Japan, take a quick look at our blog on suitable travel adapters for Japan and also our guide to dual and multi-voltage equipment.