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20 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Japan

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Foreigners who come to Japan for travel or immigration may be concerned about Japanese rules and manners. This article introduces 20 rules and manners that you should know before visiting Japan or to better enjoy life in Japan.

20 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Japan

Here are 20 things that foreigners should know when coming to Japan. There are many more things you should know, but we have picked out the ones we think are especially important.

1. Take off your shoes in the house.

In Japan, shoes are removed when entering a house. It is impolite to enter a house with shoes on, so be careful. In restaurants, shoes may or may not be removed. If there is a high step between the entrance and the hallway, you are likely to take off your shoes.

2. No need to tip.

In Japan, it is not necessary to tip waiters and other waiters in restaurants. Tipping is included in their salary, so it is fine.

3. Cash should always be kept on hand.

There are many places in Japan that accept credit cards and electronic money, but not as many as in other countries. Also, there are not many ATMs where you can withdraw money from foreign banks, so you should always carry cash.

4. Cars drive on the left side of the road

In Japan, cars drive on the left side of the road, so those who drive on the right side, such as in the U.S., may feel confused at first. However, after living in Japan for a while, you will get used to it naturally.

5. There are almost no trash cans outside.

To reduce the cost of garbage collection and to prevent suspicious items from being put in garbage cans, there are almost no garbage cans outside in Japan. Garbage is carried in bags or other containers while outside, and then discarded upon returning to one's home or hotel.

6. Not many Wi-Fi spots available.

There are many Wi-Fi spots in Japan, but not as many as in other countries. Renting a mobile router is recommended when traveling in Japan.

7. Little foreign language support outside of cities and tourist areas.

Note that while there is plenty of foreign language support in Tokyo and other urban areas and tourist destinations frequented by foreigners, there is not much in rural and regional areas.

8. English is understandable if spoken slowly and simply.

Most Japanese are not very good at English, but since they take English classes at school, there is a good chance that they can understand you if you speak slowly and simply.

9. Japanese people eat noodles with a lot of noise.

Japanese people eat noodles noisily, which is the correct way to eat noodles in Japan. However, those who cannot or do not want to eat noisily do not have to force themselves to do so, and it is not a breach of etiquette.

10. Some dishes do not use chopsticks.

Many Japanese dishes are eaten with chopsticks, but there are also many dishes, such as pasta and gratin, that are eaten with a fork or spoon.

11. All you can drink and eat

All-you-can-drink/all-you-can-eat" refers to a system in which the price is the same no matter how much you drink and eat within a set time (such as one or two hours). In Japan, there are a relatively large number of all-you-can-drink/all-you-can-eat restaurants.

12. Train Manners

Japanese people ride trains quietly. Loud voices on the train, talking on cell phones, listening to music without headphones, etc. are all against manners.

13. Unlimited train ticket is a good deal.

Although train and bus fares in Japan are not very cheap, you can save money by using an unlimited-ride ticket (1 day pass). The JAPAN RAIL PASS is especially popular among foreigners.

14. Tattoos are not allowed in hot springs.

Onsen (hot springs) are a part of Japanese culture that foreigners look forward to, but unfortunately, people with tattoos are not allowed to enter most onsen.

15. Ride escalators with one side open.

In Japan, it is customary to separate escalators on one side for people who stop to ride and on the other side for people who ride while walking; two people riding on one step can be a nuisance.

16. Let's learn how to operate the toilet panel.

Japanese toilets are very advanced, with various functions controlled by buttons. It is important to remember the names of some of the buttons, such as "flush," "wash," "dry," and "water pressure.

17. Ask station staff if you have difficulty with the route map.

The train route maps of Tokyo and Osaka are very complicated and the fares are different at each station, making it difficult for foreigners to understand. If you do not understand, please do not hesitate to ask a station attendant.

18. Very detailed garbage separation.

People living in Japan must be careful to separate garbage. Garbage disposal in Japan is divided into burnable garbage, unburnable garbage, cans, glass bottles, and so on.

19. It is useful to learn hiragana and katakana

Japanese is very difficult with over 2,000 kanji, but hiragana and katakana are easy to learn with only about 50 types. Once you learn hiragana and katakana, you will be able to read quite a lot of Japanese.

20. Let's remember useful Japanese words

When you come to Japan on vacation, you should learn some useful Japanese words. Especially useful are words that have many meanings at the same time, such as "suzumasu" and "all right.

Japanese (language)pronunciationEnglish
sorrySuimasenSorry,Thanks,Excuse me
I'm fine.Daijoubu desuIt's OK, No thank you

summary

There are some rules and manners in Japan that are not found in other countries, and you will enjoy your trip more if you know them before you come to Japan. However, since Japanese people are usually gentle and kind, you can rest assured that you will not get into trouble if you do not follow all the rules perfectly.


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