In Japan people are the most generous and welcoming people when it comes to treating their guests, but many travelers like us, worry a lot that they might offend them by saying or doing the wrong things. It is pretty common in every country that the travelers do not want to bother locals but you will notice that it is taken seriously in Japan as they have a unique tradition as compared to other nation’s traditions, that’s why travelers are pretty much concerned not to make locals rude.
But as long as you act kindly and politely with them, you will fit right in even you make an etiquette mistake once or twice. Japanese people are supportive and really appreciate it when travelers make the effort to learn their traditions and customs. That’s why we have prepared a list of etiquette tips that will help you create a good impression on Japanese people.
1. Removing shoes before entering
As a traveler, you will always find a pile of shoes outside a tatami room (Tatami is a type of mat used as a flooring material) and you can expect to find a tatami room at ryokans (Japanese style-inns), temples, or at traditional restaurants. So, it is advised to take a pair of shoes along with yourself that can slip on and off easily when visiting Japan, and don’t forget to carry neat pair of socks because they will be on display often.
If you are invited to visit a Japanese home then make sure you remove your sure in the genkan (entryway). It’s okay if you forget to remove your shoes the very first time. Do not worry, Japanese people won’t be rude to you because they are always humble with their guests.
2. Slipping money while paying
You might have a trend of passing money or credit card directly to the cashier in a shop or a restaurant. But nothing as such is followed in Japan. If you want to pay by cash or by credit card then you do not have to give it directly into the hands, you will always find a tray where you have to place your cash or card and if the change is due then your change will be placed back in the tray.
3.Bowing is a mark of respect
You will notice very often that Japanese people bow when greeting someone. You may have a habit of shaking hands in your country when greeting someone and might make the same move by bringing your hand forward for a handshake when greeting a Japanese person. Don’t worry, Japanese people won’t be rude to you as they are also habitual to shaking hands when meeting non-Japanese. So, whether you bow or shake hands with someone, you will be fine either way.
You will expect to see a lot of bows when visiting highly traditional restaurants, hotels, shops, and ryokans. Just keep one thing in mind that as a customer you don’t have to bow back, but it will fine because it is going to be your first visit and Japanese people are not surprised these days as they also understand that you are a non-Japanese.
4. Tipping is avoided in Japan
If your country has a trend of tipping in bars, restaurants, or for excellent services then try to avoid this in Japan because Japanese people believe that it is not required to tip someone. However, there are a few scenarios where tipping may be appreciated like you can tip your tour guide if he has given you an excellent service and you really got impressed by him/her. Just remember to place the money in an envelope or in a piece of paper before handing it over with your two hands.
5.Never point a finger
What if you get lost in an unknown street on your first trip to Japan? Undoubtedly, you will ask a local to guide you so that you can be back on your track. At the time when you are being guided by someone, you will notice that Japanese people never point their finger to give directions because it is considered disrespectful, instead, they will direct you with their hands.ALSO READ: Know Which Country Permits Indian Driving License to Travel
6.Avoid talking in public transport
It is considered rude to talk over your phone while traveling on public transport in Japan. What if, it is an urgent call and you really have to attend? In such cases, you can attend your call but make sure you are not too loud so that it will not bother other passengers. People refrain from talking loudly because they do not want other people to get disturbed.
7.Eating and drinking on the street
If you are eating while walking then try to eat on the side, that way, you will not be blocking others. Street food is not as common in Japan as it is in some countries in Asia. Despite the fact that urban cities like Osaka and Fukuoka are eminent special cases with enthusiastic street food scenes. And, it will be slightly uncouth to eat or drink on a commuter train. So, try to avoid such mistakes while traveling in Japan because your fellow passengers might not like this.