Japan is a wonderful destination rich in culture and full of exciting opportunities for exploration and discovery. However, before you embark on your adventure, it’s important to educate yourself on the local customs and etiquette. To ensure your trip is pleasant and respectful, 16 things you should never do in Japan.
16 things you should never do in Japan:
1. Don’t Make Loud Noises in Public: While it is acceptable to carry on a conversation in public, laughing or shouting is considered to be disrespectful and may be seen as disruptive.
2. Take Off Your Shoes When Entering Someone’s Home: It is customary to take off your shoes before entering a house, especially if it is a traditional Japanese home. Some restaurants may require you to do the same.
3. Don’t Blow Your Nose in Public: Blowing your nose in public is seen as an unacceptable practice in Japan. If you must blow your nose, be sure to do so in a bathroom or private area.
4. Don’t Point at People: Pointing is considered to be rude and inappropriate when speaking with a Japanese person. If you want to make a reference to something or someone, use an open palm instead of your finger.
5. Don’t Give or Receive Gifts With Your Left Hand: Japanese people typically use their right hand for handing over and receiving gifts. Exchanging gifts with the left hand is still seen as an insult.
6. Don’t Talk on Your Cell Phone on the Train: Unless it is an emergency, talking on your phone on the train is not allowed in Japan, as it’s considered to be disruptively noisy and disrespectful.
7. Don’t Touch Food in a Supermarket’s Display: Avoid touching food in a supermarket’s display as it is considered to be unhygienic and disrespectful. If you would like to purchase something, it would be better to ask a staff member to take it out for you.
8. Don’t Dispose of Your Trash Incorrectly: Keeping Japan’s streets clean is a priority of the culture. There are designated trash cans for all sorts of garbage, so be sure to check and put your garbage in the correct one.
9. Don’t Give a Tip: Tipping is not accepted in Japan, as it is viewed as a form of bribery. Instead, try to show appreciation and gratitude when appropriate.
10. Don’t Make Negative Comments About Japan: Even if you are half-joking or telling a story, be careful with making negative remarks about Japan. Respectful conversations are highly valued in Japan.
11. Don’t overstay your welcome. Personal space is valued in Japanese culture, so please be mindful of how long you stay in one place. Offer to help clean up if you have partaken in a meal or gathering.
12. Don’t argue with locals or draw attention to yourself. Japanese people are known for their politeness and sensitivity. Unkind comments or arguments could easily lead to offense and loss of respect.
13. Don’t forget to use two hands when giving and receiving. When presenting gifts and items, you should use two hands to show respect and honor.
14. Don’t write letters with a pencil. Writing with a pen is the preferred form of communication in Japan, and deemed more appropriate for professional communication.
15. Don’t forget to bow. Using proper chopstick etiquette and showing respect through bowing is an important part of Japanese culture. Make sure to learn the basics before visiting.
16. Don't be late. Punctuality is very important, so always aim to arrive on time for any appointments or meetings.
By understanding and respecting the local customs and etiquette, you’ll ensure a pleasant and memorable stay in Japan. Keep in mind the aforementioned 16 things you should never do in Japan, so you’ll be well on your way to a successful and respectful trip!
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