25 Things You Should Not Do in Japan


Before traveling to other countries, it is better to have background research even for a few, such as the culture, the place you will be staying at, as well on the things that you should need to avoid. Nevertheless, you will travel through a tour agency, the assigned tour guide will inform you of such information.

Having a faux-pas trip is a horrible thing, and you would not permit that it will happen to you, especially when touring around the places of Japan. The country has a lot of manners and all are valuable to them. Therefore, knowing some of these manners and customs is indeed important before you stroll to their tourist spots, dining to their restaurants, ride to their public transportation, etc.

To those who plan to visit Japan after the pandemic crisis, here are the things you should not do. The 25 things of the Japanese interestingly unique manners.

Consider these 12 tips. Please click the link below.

Japan Travel Tips to Remember

Don’t Wear Shoes in the House

Don’t ignore this basic Japanese etiquette about taking your shoes off before entering a home in Japan. They don’t want dust and dirt from the street will contaminate the floor or tatami mats. Maintaining good hygiene helps them avoid some diseases which are likely more reasonable. Typically, houses in Japan have genkan in the entranceway it is like a small pit after the doorway. Remember, you have to remove your slippers or shoes at the genkan when entering a room with hardwood flooring or Tatami.

Don’t Forget to Use the Toilet Slipper

Using toilet slippers is the other thing you should be aware of when visiting Japanese houses. They place these slippers at the toilet entrance. Make sure you switch slippers and leave the floor or house slippers behind when you enter the toilet. It is somewhat reasonable, to prevent contamination of the clean house floor. Don’t worry, Japanese are considerate if at some point you forgot to switch slippers.

Don’t Ignore the Queuing System

Japanese are known for being well-mannered. You will be surprised at how they take queuing up to an extraordinary level. Voluntarily they wait in line when buying food in food stalls, eating in the restaurant, and even when buying some stuff in a convenience store without complaining. They always maintain queues even in crowded areas such as train stations, summer festivals, and concert events. Once you’re in Japan, you have to consider the standard of queuing up. Remember, “waiting is a virtue.” Wait patiently for your turn.

Don’t Eat While Walking

In other countries, to eat and slurp while walking is quite normal but it’s a big no-no in Japan. When buying foods or drinks in the street food stalls, fast-food fare and the vending machine they prefer to consume while standing still or sitting. They don’t allow this practice perhaps they want to maintain cleanliness, but in general, it is more about their deep respect for food. It is common for Japanese people before starting to eat they put their hands together like a praying gesture while saying “Itadakimasu” which means “I humbly receive.” So even if you are in the restaurant you should consider this eating manner, stay when you eat. On the other hand, there are some tourist spots where they permitted to eat, but for other places, it is best to stop and eat there.

Don’t Tip in Japan

Tipping in America is standard practice while in Japan, absolutely not their thing. Be mindful, after you eat in the restaurant or after riding a taxi, do not tip or even after receiving services from hotel staff, masseuse, and other workers. Just be polite and say thank you to them. Therefore, it will be perceived as an insult if you insist on giving a tip.

Don’t Misuse Chopsticks

The Improper use of chopsticks is considered rude in Japan. There are a lot of things you should be aware of when using it but I will just mention some. For example, when resting chopsticks do not point directly to people. Don’t use it also for digging food and even using it to pass or receive food. You should not lick or suck the tips too much. Do not use it as drumsticks and be careful not to drop it on the floor.

Before going to Japan, you should learn how to use chopsticks properly.

Don’t Make Phone Calls While on Public Transit

Being too loud inside a public transit is considered rude in Japan. The general etiquette in Japan when it comes to close places like riding on a train is not to cause a disturbance. Make sure your phone is in silent mode. On the other hand, you can listen to music or play games on your phone inside the train but make sure to lower the volume so others will not be disturbed. Talking with other people inside the train is considered rude as well. You should be aware of this proper etiquette while on a public transit in Japan.

Don’t Blow Your Nose

Sniffling and not blowing your nose is acceptable in Japan. But repeatedly sniffling is considered rude as well.  To avoid upsetting locals here are the proper way to blow your nose.

  • Use a tissue and not handkerchief to blow your nose and dispose of it properly.
  • Discreetly dabbling your nose and don’t face anyone while doing it.
  • Turn away from others while blowing your nose, you can excuse yourself to a restroom.
  • Wear a surgical mask if you are sick.

Don’t Get Physical Contact

In other countries like America and Europe, handshakes and hugs are a very common way of greeting. Japanese, don’t use physical touch it is generally uncomfortable with such gestures from friends. People greet each other by an appropriate bowing.

Most of the Japanese couples tend to avoid a public display of affection such as, holding hands, walking arm-in-arm, or kissing on the streets. So, don’t be surprised if you get a stare of disapproval from locals in case you do PDA (public display of affection). Take into consideration that this is not their thing, so avoid being touchy when you’re in Japan.

Don’t Pour Your Own Drink

In Japan, it’s not correct to pour your own drink, instead, you will let others do it for you,  and you do it to everyone as well. Remember, if you pour someone’s drink you should use your both hands which considered a humble gesture. Remember, don’t forget to wait for the cheers (Kampai) before drinking. You must be careful also where you clink your glass. The position should be at a lower level when you do Kanpai with your boss. Considering the drinking rules will guide you on how to drink properly at a pub or bar in Japan.

Don’t Litter in Japan

Not littering is a very noticeable manner of the Japanese. That is why you can see their streets are spotless even they don’t place many dustbins everywhere. Most of the Japanese take their rubbish until they can properly dispose of it. They practice segregation of waste in which people and businesses were obliged to do it. According to the Plastic Waste Management Institute, at 77%, Japan’s recycling rate is almost twice that of the UK and way beyond when compared to the 20% figure of the USA. If ever you visit Japan, you already know that littering is a big no-no.

Don’t Bathe Dirty

In Japan, the usual bathing at home is similar in bathing at the onsen (hot spring) or sento (public bath), in which the main purpose is for cleansing and relaxation. When taking a bath at home, you must clean your body and your hair thoroughly first, using the shower located outside the tub. Then, you enter the tub where the bathwater is tolerably hot, for soaking. Next is you clean your body with soap and rinse off with water and soaking back to the tub for the final step. Make sure you keep the water in the tub clean with no soap on it for other members of the family who will use it. However, if you are a guest in the house, usually you get first dibs on the bath.

Don’t Hand Cash to the Cashier

If you pay bills in Japan, don’t hand over it to a store clerk. Because transferring cash hand on hand is considered too forward and improper. To pay bills, you will leave money on the tray to avoid touching each other’s fingers knowing that physical contact is not really their thing. Furthermore, using a cash tray saves time and maintains cleanliness.

Don’t Put Business Cards in Your Back Pocket

The business card in Japan symbolizes their pride and status. It is just like their other-self. Bear in mind, when you accept a business card, you have to receive it with both hands where fingers placed on the edges of the card. Because using one hand considered impoliteness. To show respect, you must keep it carefully in your wallet or a safe place.

Don’t Expose Tattoos

In general, having tattoos were not allowed inside the onsens or hot spring and the public hot bath. Tattoos are still considered taboo in Japan, and they associated them in a gang (Yakuza) who are not permitted inside the premises. However, some establishments in Japan are allowing visitors with small tattoos with the condition that they have to cover it.

Don’t Point

Pointing using an index finger to someone can be a sign of a threat or an insult in Japan. Instead of using the finger, they use an open hand to indicate something. You should consider this body gesture to avoid being misunderstood.

Don’t Keep Your Hands in Your Pockets

It is considered disrespectful in Japan when you keep your hands in your pocket while having a conversation. Be aware of this body gesture while talking to locals it can be misunderstood as if you’re not interested. You should be attentive if you’re having a conversation with the locals.

Don’ts of Gift-giving

Giving-gift is common in Japanese culture, but there are things you should not do. Don’t open the gift in the presence of the giver instead, you open it in private. Also, don’t receive the gift with one hand you rather use both hands. And don’t give gifts that are too expensive because it looks like your bragging with your wealth, showing humility is way more important to them.

Don’t Burp at the Table

Unlike some Asian countries, burping is considered rude in Japan. You can fart but can never burp while you’re still at the table. When you burped loudly in the restaurant, some customers will probably ask you to leave. Be careful not to burp.

Don’t Waste Food

Whether you’re in someone’s home or the restaurant, it is not accurate to leave food on your plate. It is considered wasteful and rude. Likewise, on spilling food on yourself or the table. To avoid such things, you should hold the plate or bowl underneath your chin as you take each bite.

Don’t Sit Cross-legged on the Floor if You are a Woman

Only men can sit cross-legged on the floor but for women, it is not appropriate to do it. The proper style of seiza (polite and formal way to sit) is to kneeling with your legs together, and the tops of your feet flat on the ground. But whenever they feel uncomfortable the most common alternative sitting position is Yoko-Zuwari (sitting with your legs to the side, but folded back on themselves).

Don’t Open and Close the Taxi Door by Yourself

The taxi doors in Japan are automatic which means it opens and closes by itself. If ever you take a taxi for your travel, don’t be surprised about this distinctive way of service. But since the door opens automatically, you should remember to stand a few steps back so that it will not hit you.

Don’t Pour Soy Sauce Over Sushi or Sashimi

It is inappropriate to pour soy sauce over sushi. Too much soy sauce considered wasteful and wasteful is rude. So pour only enough soy sauce in a bowl and add later if needed. Remember, to dip sashimi with a little soy sauce. Also, don’t forget if you eat nigiri sushi, do not dip the rice in the soy sauce instead turn it upside down to dip only the fish in the soy sauce.

Don’t be Afraid to Slurp Your Noodles

Loud slurping when eating noodles is rude in other countries contrary to Japan because they considered rude not to slurp with your noodles. So, don’t be afraid to slurp that’s how you will enjoy the soup and the noodles at the same time you cool down it into your mouth.

Don’t Be Late

The Japanese are very punctual. They make sure that they will not be late with their appointments like going to dinner, going for an interview, seeing a doctor, or meeting a friend. The same goes for their Train System runs, it’s very unusual arriving late at the destination. Be sure to arrive early, don’t be late in Japan.

FAIR Japan provides useful information about Japan.

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  1. June 2nd, 2020
  2. May 25th, 2021