Do you intend to travel to Japan but do not know your culture and customs very well? In this article we are going to share 15 things you need to know before traveling to Japan.
These tips will help you to behave in the land of the rising sun and not make any common mistakes that tourists end up making in this exotic country.
Respect and education in Japan
1) Bowing is nothing less than an art form in Japan. Respect has been taught by parents since childhood. For tourists, a simple bow of the head or an attempt at a bow is enough to greet someone. It is not common to do handshakes and hugs, so be careful how you intend to greet someone.
2) In addition to bowing, addressing someone correctly is essential. The Japanese use the suffix "san" at the end of people's names to show respect, as if they were a kind of gentleman. Never forget to use these treatment fees, remembering that in Japan we use the person's surname when we are not intimate.
3 ) There are etiquette rules like not answering your cell phone on public transport such as trains and buses or apologizing when bumping or passing people. Remember not to blow your nose in public or eat in traffic.
4) The most important thing to remember is to remove your shoes when entering houses, hotels and some public places. Most of the time you will find your own shoes to access these places that are usually tatami flooring.
5) Sterile masks, like the ones you see in the emergency room, are commonly used by Japanese people to protect others from their germs. If you get the flu, be sure to use these masks.
Japan tends to live collectively, unlike the West, which is quite individualistic. Respect and concern for others makes the country organized, safe and clean.
THINGS RELATED TO FOOD
6) If you are at a dinner and receive drinks, wait before drinking. Everyone will be served, and someone will take the lead, make a speech, raise their drink, and shout "Kampai!" (Cheers). In addition, you will receive a small wet cloth in most Japanese restaurants. Use it to clean your hands before eating, and then carefully, fold it up and place it on the table. Do not use it as a napkin, or to clean any part of your face.
7) Making noises while eating a noodle soup is not rude, it is a sign that you are enjoying the food and that it is very tasty. Just before you start eating, whether it's a dinner or a sample at a supermarket, it's polite to say “itadakimasu”(I will receive).
8) Depending on the restaurant you choose, you may be required to use the famous Japanese chopsticks, known as Hashi. If for some reason you are not very adept at chopsticks, try to learn before going through immigration. Practice a lot before traveling that you can.
Be aware that in Japan you will not only eat sushi, there are thousands of foods that make Japanese cuisine one of the richest in the world. In Japan you eat a lot of rice, pasta, noodles, sweets and foods that you are used to, of foreign origin such as pizza and sandwiches. The only thing that you will not find easily is beans.
9) There is no tipping in any situation in Japan, such as taxis, restaurants and hotels. Some consider being tipped an insult, the services you have asked for are covered by the set price and you do not need to give anyone any pleasure.
10) Japan is famous for its hot springs, there are public bathrooms scattered throughout the country, just be aware that you will need nude in the hot springs that are separated by sex. Unlike Western cultures, the Japanese bath is done after you wash and rinse.
11 ) Japanese people generally believe that any tourist speaks English. School groups or even people alone on the street will greet you in English and ask where you are from. Many Japanese will insist on using their ability to speak English, however, the command of the language is generally limited to conversing with foreigners.
12 ) The crime rate in Japan is very low. It is relatively common to see executives sleeping on a park bench to wait for the next train or young children walking alone to school. This means that you don't have to be afraid to carry valuable things or money on the street.
In Japan you find vending machines scattered everywhere. Thirst you will never pass in Japan.
TIPS TO ENJOY THE TRIP
13) Don't forget to buy the JR PASS if you plan to travel in several distant cities using trains. With this pass you can move around for an unlimited amount of days by paying only an amount that can be much cheaper than buying individual tickets.
14) Don't forget to visit one of the 100 yen stores that are spread across Japan. In these stores you can find absolutely everything for just 100 yen. You will probably just fill a suitcase with things bought from these wonderful stores. One of the most famous is called Daiso.
15) Always have the Google Maps app in your hands, it will help you find amazing places, take trains and let you know if some places are open or closed. Prepare well for your trip, unforeseen events can happen.
I hope you enjoyed the tips in this article. There are thousands of others curiosities you need to know about Japan, but I decided to write only 15 in this article so people don't get too lazy to read. Don't forget your visa, accommodation and places you want to visit and have a nice trip! If you liked, share and leave your comments.