Customs Traditions & Etiquette of Japan


Japan is a stupendous island nation off the coast of the Korean Peninsula and mainland Russia. Often known as having a wealthy, vibrant heritage with an enormous concentrate on respect for elders and a reverence in the direction of private honor, Japan has lengthy been a rustic that has a powerful and stoic air about it, due partially to the strict customs and traditions which might be usually noticed. Whereas locals received’t count on all foreigners to stick to those fantastic factors of etiquette, it’s a good suggestion to have some thought of what to anticipate and what the customs are like so that you could attempt your greatest to observe them in your Japan excursions with Explorient, a lot to the delight of the Japanese folks.

We’ve made it straightforward so that you can study traditions, customs and etiquette of Japan by placing collectively this straightforward to observe information that highlights among the extra frequent, finer factors that you just’re prone to encounter throughout your time in Japan on the likes of Explorient’s Priceless Japan Spectacular tour. Sit again, chill out and have a learn a bit extra concerning the cultural customs and traditions of this distinctive, lovely and welcoming nation to organize your self to your upcoming and future journeys to this island nation.

Japan – A World of Custom

It’s true. Anytime you consider Japan, you consider a world the place customs and traditions primarily reign supreme. Listed here are among the most typical traditions, customs and factors of etiquette you’re prone to see or expertise while you’re in Japan on Explorient’s Japan Household Spectacular tour.

Footwear Off!

In Japanese customized, it’s virtually at all times required that sneakers be eliminated when getting into a home or different constructing. Whereas locations like resorts could not require that sneakers be eliminated earlier than getting into a foyer, smaller guesthouses will ask that sneakers be eliminated earlier than getting into the premises. There’ll virtually at all times be home slippers out there to put on in the home, or sometimes socks are acceptable. There are areas inside the house the place sneakers are eliminated, at all times dealing with the skin of the house, and the place slippers are placed on. This space is named a genkan, and is usually a decrease degree in contrast with the remainder of the home. That is most likely one of the frequent traditions or customs you’ll expertise and it’s a good suggestion to observe go well with as sneakers in buildings or houses is seen as impolite.

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Not solely this, however you can be anticipated to take away sneakers in eating places as nicely. We hear you asking ‘However what concerning the lavatory state of affairs?’. By no means worry – these companies present slippers within the lavatory for visitor use. Whereas it may be straightforward to overlook to take away them, it’s essential you don’t because it’s seen as very embarrassing. You’ll doubtless expertise the shoe customs extensively throughout your time in Japan on Explorient’s Japan Panorama tour.


Bowing is massive in Japan and whereas the Japanese could not count on foreigners to bow as deeply as they do (if in any respect), it’s a good suggestion to a minimum of nod your head barely in greeting or departure or in thanks. There’re no unfavorable repercussions and as a substitute, you’ll acquire the heat and appreciation of any Japanese individual you would possibly work together with.


As with many different nations within the area, consuming immediately from a typical bowl is taken into account rude. As an alternative, use the communal chopsticks or spoon/serving utensils to put meals onto your personal plate earlier than consuming it. When it comes to chopstick use, it’s conventional to carry the chopsticks towards the tip, not normally within the first third of the sticks. When it comes to paying the examine, in case you’re with others the overall rule is that the examine is cut up as evenly as attainable, with extra senior members of the group and males paying barely extra on common. Moreover, it’s essential to know that when eating in teams, taking meals from the identical dish that another person is taking meals from is seen as impolite and dangerous kind. Give everybody area to take meals one after the other. It is a customized you’ll virtually actually run into while you go to Japan on Explorient’s Style of Hong Kong and Tokyo tour.

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In lots of resorts, chances are you’ll discover units of what are primarily pajamas or lounging robes often called yukata. Usually resorts will enable visitors to put on yukata all through the lodge (and certainly that is commonplace all through Japan). You possibly can even put on yukata to breakfast and dinner or to the lodge onsen. Some luxurious or higher-end resorts could choose that yukata not be worn publicly within the lodge, however many ignore this and do it anyway. If doubtful, examine along with your lodge entrance desk.


As with many nations, pointing is taken into account to be impolite or aggressive. In Japan, pointing may even be seen as threatening. As an alternative, attempt to gesture with an open hand, or use dialog to debate a route or location of store or enterprise you’re searching for.

Onsen Etiquette

There are various guidelines surrounding using onsen in Japan. For one, the customer to the onsen will need to have a bathe earlier than getting into the water, very like we do within the west earlier than getting into a swimming pool. Cleaning soap is predicted for use but in addition rinsed nicely. Nice care needs to be taken to not contaminate the onsen water with cleaning soap – typically attributable to the truth that the onsen water comes from pure scorching springs. Moreover, small towels are sometimes dropped at the onsen, that are used to scrub the physique earlier than getting into the water. The problem is that you just’ve to take the towel with you when leaving the bathe space, nevertheless it’s not allowed within the onsen water. Many individuals will as a substitute place it on their heads, to keep away from leaving it laying round or being within the water. You could encounter folks sporting their small scorching spring towels on their heads in lots of onsens all through Japan. When you’re a fan of scorching springs and the like, you’ll wish to brush up on onsen etiquette earlier than your journey. Remember to examine our Explorient’s Japan World Heritage Tour that mixes tradition, structure and onsens! 

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Bodily Contact

The Japanese are personal folks and usually don’t present shows of affection outwardly akin to hugging or slaps on the again between mates. Likewise, these in relationships will keep away from bodily contact in public. Attempt to observe these social cues as nicely or threat wanting a bit unusual in case you’re having a cuddle on the street.

Oshibori Etiquette

In lots of eating places, a moist towel often called an oshibori might be offered previous to the meals arriving. The oshibori might be both cool or heat relying on the season. This towel is to solely be used to scrub your arms earlier than consuming. Utilizing it as a serviette or for laundry your face will be thought of dangerous etiquette and impolite. You’ll doubtless expertise the oshibori on a couple of event in your travels by Japan, akin to in your Kyoto Stopover with Explorient.

So in case you’re planning a visit to Japan quickly, hopefully, these few factors of etiquette and customs will assist put together you for a few of what you would possibly expertise throughout your journey. The Japanese individuals are typically fairly forgiving – particularly to foreigners – so don’t fear an excessive amount of about remembering all the pieces. Get pleasure from your journey!


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