Japanese Customs

Customs vary from country to country and when travelling abroad, it’s very useful to get familiar with local do’s and don’ts. Here is a list of things that might come in handy if you’re travelling to Japan.

It’s very polite in Japan to bow; it’s a symbol of humility and respect and you will notice people doing it everywhere. You’ll find you’ll be greeted with a deep bow, at coffee shops, restaurants and hotels, but also when you go to the 7-11 to buy a pack of gum. It does make you feel a little bit like a VIP.

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Photo by Frank Kovalcheck under Creative Common Licence

If you think that someone is shooing you away, fret not. They’re actually asking you to come closer. In Japan and many other Asian countries it’s actually rude to ask someone to come hither with your index finger.

When taking photos of people in Japan, you’ll notice that making the V-sign is highly popular. In Japan it doesn’t bear much of a meaning, it’s just something you do when someone takes your picture. So join in.

When dining out, you’ll notice that the Japanese are fairly loud while they eat, especially when eating noodles and soup. They’re not being rude, in fact it is rude not to. It’s actually a way of showing that you are really enjoying your meal. So slurp away.

noodles

Eating on the floor is a very common way to enjoy a meal. It does have a tendency to make your legs go numb, if you are not used to it, but don’t despair, there are some restaurants that have legroom conveniently hidden under the table.

Eating with chopsticks can be a tricky thing, but if you can’t quite master it, right way, you’ll be forgiven. Just remember not to point at things with them or stick them in your food, but basically, just enjoy your food.

chop sticks

If you’d like to experience these Japanese customs first hand, why not book one of our Japan trips? Have a look at www.trafalgar.com to browse our trips.

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