10 Things You Should Never Do When Visiting Japan

If you are planning on visiting Japan, then you should learn about their cultures and customs very well. You should know their manners and cultural rules to avoid any offensive behaviour.

In reality, every country has their own rules of society and you should always respect it. Japanese people take care of their guests and they also welcome them cordially. But, these polite and reserved people may notice all your manners and behaviours towards them. So, you should know some basic behavioural dos and don’ts, before you travel to this country.

1. Don’t Bathe Dirty

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The very first fact may surprise you. Those deep relaxing ofuro tubs you see are for soaking and soothing, not for cleaning. You must soap and scrub yourself in the adjacent shower and then you can take a spa like soaking in the steaming hot water.

Remember, don’t flush out the water after from the tub, because many people can be waiting in there to enter into the same tub.

2. Don’t Tip When Visiting Japan

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All types of workers in Japan do get proportionate wages. So, tipping is not a regular practice in japan.

You shouldn’t try to tip any Taxi driver, waiter or hairstylist. They may take it as an insult. You should remember this to save yourself from any awkwardness.

3. Don’t Queue for the Next Stall

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In Japan, people don’t form a line to go to the restroom. It’s their culture to use a restroom randomly without forming any line. Ain’t it weird?

Yeah, it’s really a different culture than the western people. When you are in a desperate condition, this system can be frustrating to you. But, you just don’t have a choice except, relying on your luck.

4. Don’t Litter in Japan

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Japan have some impressive manners too. They recycle most of their garbage. You just don’t see any rubbish on the streets at all.

Americans recycle 20% of their garbage whereas Japanese recycle 77% of their garbage. This is really impressive.

From a young age Japanese kids are taught, not to throw rubbish on the ground. So, they have this great
convention which we should follow.

5. Don’t Sip or Snack While Walking

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Japanese People don’t chew or munch any food while walking or moving on the street. They respect their food.

Itadakimasu (I humbly receive) is a prayer and they begin their meals after this prayer. One thing you will notice while visiting is that all the fast food restaurants and food stalls have a place to ‘sit and eat’.

6. Don’t Pour Your Own Drink

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There is one custom in Japan in which it can be beneficial to be a foreigner. It is a custom to constantly refill the cups or glass of friends and family. If you are a special guest from another land it is likely you will receive more attention and your drink will be forever full but you should remember to return the favor. ( Kampai = Cheers)

7. Don’t Wear Shoes in the House

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Japanese people don’t allow any shoes into their homes. You should always remove your shoes before entering a house.

There is a place called genkan in their houses. You have to remove your shoes there and wear the provided slippers.

But, to enter their tatami mat room, you have to remove your slippers also. They don’t allow any dust into their clean rooms.

8. Stop Spreading the Germs

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Japanese people use surgical masks to avoid spreading their cold or flu germs. They are extremely cautious about their sickness.

They also don’t sneeze in public and use a fresh tissue every time they wipe their noses. They don’t spread germs and they try to keep others healthy.

9. Avoid the Number Four

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For many the number 13 is unlucky but in Japan it’s the number ‘4’. This number has the same pronunciation (shi) as death in Japanese.

They also avoid number ‘9’ (kyo). To them these numbers are unlucky. There are many hotels and seats which skip these numbers. So, maybe best not to walk around in your San Francisco 49ers t-shirt while visiting Japan.

10. Don’t Forget the Toilet Slippers

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There is one more custom in Japan that can be really confusing. They use an entirely different pair of
slippers for their toilet usage. You should always use those exclusively for the toilet. Don’t forget to change back in your own house slippers. Otherwise, it may look like an offensive action.

To Summarize

Japanese people have a generous heart and they are good-natured people.

They will never be rude if you have made any of the above mistakes but it’s still worth learning how to follow their cultures and customs if you are planning on visiting Japan.