Japanese Etiquette – The Do’s and Don’ts of Visiting Japan
Are you thinking of visiting Japan? If so, there are some Japanese etiquette tips you should know before heading here. Japan is considered to be one of the most hospitable locations. Everyone in Japan is taught to be very polite and well-mannered, and it is a big component of the culture here. So, to avoid annoying or upsetting the locals, here are a few do’s and don’ts of visiting Japan – etiquette style. These are tips I’ve gathered from living here.
Japanese Etiquette Do’s & Don’ts
These are some of the most popular Japanese Etiquette rules…
In Japan, it is customary to bow heads to every other person you see. This could be anyone from a child to an adult. There is no exact occasion for this, you’re expected to bow to everyone, and they will bow in return. We all bow heads in Japan; this is a form of acknowledgment and greeting.
Eating or drinking in designated areas.
There are certain places you can and can not eat and drink. Of course, you’re allowed to eat in restaurants. Undesignated sites to avoid eating in, tend to be places like buses, trains, or even in the streets.
No shoes in the house or on a chair/train seat.
This is a big one, and you’ll even see this depicted in movies based in Japan. You’re expected to remove your shoes before entering a house. This is a big no-no if not done.
This also applies to places like temples, castles, and even some restaurants. It is customary to point your shoes towards the door and not towards the building. Make sure to keep an eye out for this. Very important for true Japanese etiquette and customs.
I have even seen children take off their shoes to kneel by a window.
Wearing socks at all times.
There are a lot of customs around shoes and footwear. You are expected to keep socks on your feet at all times. This is not a written or formal rule, but you’ll get a few stares if you don’t.
Correctly using chopsticks is good Japanese Etiquette
There is the right way to use chopsticks and the wrong way. Here are a few tips: when using chopsticks, make sure you are holding them towards the outermost part. Don’t hold them in the middle or close to the part used to hold food.
Another note on chopsticks, if they are not in use, you should always lay them down.
Don’t slurp your food.
It can be tempting to slurp your food because it is so delicious. However, it is considered rude in Japan to do so. There is one exception if you are eating ramen soup, it is normal to slurp the soup.
Slurping soup helps you avoid burning your tongue – so it is both beneficial and considered good manners to do so.
Japanese Etiquette Conclusion
This list will give you a good grasp of what to do and what not to do while visiting Japan. I recommend researching other etiquettes as there is quite a long list in Japan. This list is a great jumping-off point for common manners. Keep these Japanese Etiquette tips in mind, and you’ll do well in Japan.