Japan has to be one of my favourite places to travel in the world! Everything about the country is amazing, beautiful and so different from western cultures while still seeming like they are decades (they probably are) ahead of us.
One of the hard things about Japan for foreigners though is that it is very honour and respect orientated. This is a good thing, great even, but for travellers who are new to visiting the country it can be overwhelming since a lot of things we do is considered “rude” in Japan.
Before going I made sure to brush up on my etiquette so I wouldn’t offered anyone by accident. Here is a list of things you need to know before visiting Japan so you don’t come off as an oblivious to their way of life!
- Learn chopstick etiquette. JustHungry has a great post on chopstick etiquette with tips like don’t place your chopsticks upright when eating because that is an offering to the spirit of the dead.
- There is no public garbages or at least very very few. You are expected to take your garbage home with you. Do not litter! That is a big no no and considered extremelyy rude.
- Do not tip. Ever. That is considered as a rude gesture. When you tip it’s almost like saying “You can do better.” because no one in Japan believes they deserve monetary incentive for doing a good job.
- Say Okinii not Arigato. Trying to speak Japanese is extremely difficult since their language is based on rank. So saying arigato to someone “high” up is actually rude. They will most likely know you’re a foreigner so you should be okay but just to avoid the whole situation “Okini” is a safe way to say “Thank You” without offending anyone.
- Japan has magical toilets everywhere with all bells and whistles. They will make musical noises and flushing sounds and even have a butt warmer on them. Snazzy things. Hit this button to stop all functions if you accidentally click something you didn’t want to! 止
- Credit cards or debit cards aren’t always accepted at places. Japan is a cash based culture so make sure you plan ahead because finding an ATM wont always be easy. If you do find yourself cashless just find the nearest 7/11 and withdraw some there.
- Vegetarain’s head over to my Vegetarian Survival Guide post for all vegetarian help! Japan is extremely hard for us vegetarian travellers since most of us don’t know the language to get by!
I hope you found this post helpful! Let me know if you have any other questions about Japan and I will try and answer them as best as I can!
What are some of your tips about Japan? Have you ever done something considered “rude” in another country? Feel free to comment below!