Dos and Donts for Foreigners in Japan

Photo by: Christian Kaden

Photo by: Christian Kaden

Japan, also known as land of the rising sun, is an interesting country to take a vacation in. It is the ideal country to visit if you want to experience a totally different culture, customs and traditions. The way of life in Japan may seem strange to most of you at first. But in time you will get used to it and actually love it. Here are a few dos and don’ts that you should observe while out there.

DON’T’S

Do not assume everyone speaks English

Photo Credit: Daryl I

Photo Credit: Daryl I

Fewer people can speak English in Japan as compared to Singapore and Hong Kong. Fine, they may be able to exchange a few words of greetings but that may just be as far as it goes.

Try not to get frustrated in case you experience this. Also remember shouting and taking slowly may not necessarily help. In fact it will appear rude.

Do not take photos of a Geisha without her permission

Photo Credit: jessleecuizon

Photo Credit: jessleecuizon

Frankly you should never take photos of anyone without their consent.

If they happen not to understand English you can signal your camera to them and ask something like OK? If they show approval you can go ahead and do it.

Do not consume alcohol if you are below 20 years old

Photo Credit: icantcu

Photo Credit: icantcu

The legal drinking age in Japan is 20 years.

You cannot drink and drive at the same time lest you will be severely punished.

You also cannot take alcohol. Good thing about Japan is the fact that you can drink alcohol out in the public. In many countries this is not allowed.

Do not enter any Japanese house with your shoes on

Photo Credit: amirjina

Photo Credit: amirjina

Japanese culture requires that one should remove their shoes before entering the house. Leave the shoes outside. You should also probably invest in a good pair of socks to avoid any embarrassments.

DOs

Do bow down when saying “Thank you”

Photo Credit: gwaar

Photo Credit: gwaar

You will notice that people in japan bow quite a lot. Visitors are not really expected to bow but it would not hurt to do so.

Also remember to smile as you nod your head while when greeted.

Do learn a few Japanese words and phrases

Photo Credit: shakotte

Photo Credit: shakotte

Few people can actually talk in English in Japan.Make sure you learn a few useful words before you travel. This will give you an easier time fitting in with the locals.

Do take a gift when visiting a Japanese home

Photo Credit: Nomadic Lass

Photo Credit: Nomadic Lass

If you happen to be visiting your Japanese friends, remember to carry a souvenir with you. It is considered rude to visit a Japanese home without a gift.
Give and receive gifts with both hands.

Also note that the Japanese consider gifts related to the number four as bad luck.

Do enjoy the food samples, but sensibly

Photo Credit: Vincent_AF

Photo Credit: Vincent_AF

Many stores in japan that sell snacks have a basket for sampling. You are allowed to sample them but make sure you don’t do it greedily.
Take a piece of each and if you happen not to buy any, bow slightly before leaving.

Do visit Japan in spring and autumn

Photo Credit: sunnywinds*

Photo Credit: sunnywinds*

It is best to visit Japan during these seasons. The beauty is at its peak and the weather is loveliest.

In summer and winter the weather may not be really favorable.

Check out ESTA rules and regulations regarding visiting Japan online.

Author Bio: This article has been written by Harris Walker a professional blogger. He is interested in finance politics and travel has been writing articles on several such categories. His hobbies include painting and reading, during free time. , And is looking forward to post a few articles on it.

2 Responses to “Dos and Donts for Foreigners in Japan”

  1. cynthia  on October 9th, 2013

    Hi there … just wondering … is there ryokan private onsen??) that is ok to bring kids with ??? my kids are three and a month and a half year old …. any suggestion ???? we are planning to travel during jaurary

    Thank you

  2. Travis  on October 9th, 2013

    Hello Cynthia. All the ryokans I’ve been to so far have welcomed families :) You can always check before hand if you like. The Japanese Guest Houses site will also list if they welcome children under 12 – http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/ Thanks!


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