Japan is an amazing country that welcomes its guests with open arms and its unique culture is so intriguing that it definitely makes a first-time visitor curious. To experience a journey free from any mistakes or blunders, you need to arm yourself with some etiquettes that are practiced in the country. Be well prepared beforehand and know the basic manners followed like when to take your shoes off, when to bow, etc. Keep reading the space to know everything you need to take care of when in Japan.
Meeting and greeting
- Bowing- Japanese are those people who are very particular about mannerisms when they meet someone. They are likely to get offended if you don’t do it perfectly. You need to bow down to a Japanese in response to the action they perform initially. They also shake hands, but you should wait for them to offer their hand before you do.
- Gifts- There are many reasons that people exchange gifts in Japan. It might be because you have shifted to a new home or have returned from a trip. So if you visit Japan, it would be great if you bring gifts from your home country if planning to live with the locals. They would very much appreciate it. It could be anything small like chocolate bars, souvenir keyrings or other small treats. Avoid anything flamboyant or expensive.
Eating and drinking
- Chopsticks- There are many rules you need to follow to make proper usage of chopsticks. The basic ones include to not ever leave the chopsticks standing upright in a bowl of rice. And also don’t use them to pass food directly to another person. They often practice these rituals during funerals, so totally avoid them.
- Drink up- Whenever there is a party and you are having a shared bottle, you need to serve others and ask someone else to pour your drink. This is the basic mannerism that is followed.
- Tipping- Don’t ever give a tip to a waiter in Japan. There is no practice of tipping followed in the country.
Visiting temples and shrines
- Shrine Rituals- You need to wash your hands and rinse your mouth before visiting any holy place. There would definitely be a water source in front of every shrine you visit. And beware to spit out the water on the ground and not back into the source.
- Etiquette- You will find many Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples in the country that are always welcoming to all, even the non-believers. They are considered as religious sites, so remain quiet and avoid dressing like you are out for a fun day at the beach.
- Turning Japanese- Even if you make a tortured attempt to speak the local language, the locals won’t get offended, instead, they will appreciate it. So try to learn a few basic phrases and words before you visit Japan like a-ri-ga-tō (‘thank you’), ha-na-se-mas ka (‘do you speak English?’) etc.
- Don’t assume- You will not find many people in Japan speaking English. So don’t ever assume and expect that you would be comfortable with the language part.
- Queuing- People in Japan are very well behaved. During busy times, like while boarding a train, you would observe people forming an orderly queue. Platforms often have markings indicating where the carriage doors will open.
- Quiet, please- If you are making a conversation on your mobile phone in public transports, it would be taken as a rude action in Japan. Often announcements are being made to encourage travelers to do their phone in silent mode. Also, avoid speaking loudly on any train or bus.