Japanese habits and customs

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The Japanese have an extensive collection of interesting habits and customs to learn. And in this article we will see some of these customs. We will quote customs, manners, rules and random habits. Unfortunately, there is no way to categorize them in this article, we will only mention the most common, and important facts that you should know.

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It might be rude to put your own drink

Instead of you pouring your drink or someone pouring everyone a drink, eventually someone will notice and fill your glass. Just remember to be a little rude for you to fill your own booze cup;

When drinking with friends, expect Kanpai

Drink before saying Kanpai, a kind of toast between friends. It is considered rude and undisciplined. Usually this happens when drinking Sake and Beer at a meeting, celebration of friends or co-workers;

How to drink like a samurai

Holding hands when doing business

It can be common to hold hands, when closing deals, it is not necessary to bow if you have held someone's hand;


This outfit, in addition to being popular at summer festivals, is often used as pajamas, especially in hotels and onsen. In some cases you can drink coffee wearing yukata. Also, the female Yukata must be well fastened, unless you are without underwear and it opens..;

Differences between the Western and Japanese Brain and Thought

Flip flops

Some bathrooms or other places offer flip-flops to access certain places, just remember not to leave the place with them;

Generally, slippers should not be used on tatami floors. In the ryokan, flip-flops are often used only in the hallways;

Read too: Zori - Hawaiian or Japanese Sandals?

Garbage and Recycling

There are many rules on how to pack garbage and collection for recycling that varies by municipality. So you must pay close attention to details so as not to do it wrong;


Play with the Hashi

Use Hashi only for eating, that's how the Japanese do it, besides involving hygiene, Hashi represent many traditions and cultures, playing with them can be disrespectful;

Read too: Hashi – Tips and Rules on how to use and hold chopsticks

Hashi - tips and rules - how to use and hold chopsticks

Point the finger

It is considered something threatening in Japan, instead of pointing fingers the Japanese usually point a direction with an open hand. Verbal instructions without gestures are also very common;

Part 3

take a dirty bath

Both in public baths, hotels and at home you will come across a bathtub. In Japan, bathing is seen as a relaxing leisure activity rather than an act of cleansing the body. The Japanese usually wash themselves in the shower before getting into the bathtub, and avoid any soap residue in the bathtub. (or ofuro).

Towels in the thermal baths

People bring small towels with them to bathing areas. These are used to cleanse the body before getting into the bath. They are also a modesty tool to hide small parts of your body when you are standing. Towels cannot get wet. So one usually wears them on the head;

We recommend reading: Onsen - Natural Hot Springs of Japan

Onsen - Japan's natural hot springs
Onsen - Natural Hot Springs of Japan


Many restaurants offer a wet towel called Oshibori, which is used to lightly wipe your hands before meals, so you should avoid using it on your face or using it as a napkin, it's considered rude;

Shoe manners

Blow your nose

Blowing your nose in public is considered rude. People often go to the bathroom to blow their nose. Sniffling is usually normal;

Touches and Hugs

We know that hugs and pats on the back are not common among the Japanese. even lovers tend to avoid physical intimacy in public places. Therefore, avoid hugging or holding the hand of strangers, unless it has a sign that says Free Hugs;

Free hugs


Walking and smoking is seen as dangerous and reckless for a variety of reasons, with the biggest being the idea that you could accidentally burn someone on a crowded street.

Itadakimasu and Gochisosama deshita

At every meal you must say Itadakimasu before eating and Gochisosama at the end of the meal, they are important customs that involve several things and meanings.

Both words have several translations such as thank you for the food, I humbly accept the food, thank God for the food, it was a good meal.

This custom, despite having a little spirituality involved, it is a cultural thing performed by everyone regardless of having a belief or not.

Read too: Itadakimasu and Gochisousama - What is the real meaning?



You should call the person by their last name and use the more common respect suffix “-san”. Unless you are very close friends with a person, you can call him by his first name;

We recommend reading: List of Japanese surnames 200+ Origin and Meanings


Soups are eaten with a spoon, of course. But it's okay to grab a bowl of soup to drink straight from it. This is quite common;

In japan it’s ok to slurp

Well, these are just some of the customs and habits that surrounds Japan, in fact, there are thousands of rules and customs related to each item mentioned in this article, such as eating with chopsticks, or in the bathroom. This is just another explanatory article, because there are thousands of cultural differences and customs that can be found in various articles on this site.

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