What You Should NOT Do in Japan: A Guide to Behaving in Japanese Lands

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Japan publishes a list of do's and don'ts, in addition to giving etiquette tips to tourists arriving in the country.

Oriental culture has always drawn attention for having very specific codes of conduct, causing many people to seek inspiration in these attitudes for their daily lives. In the case of Japan, the curiosity is even greater, since it is a relatively small country, with a large population and which has several ancient traditions.

Several Brazilian tourists visit Japan every year, and to avoid major cultural clashes, it is important to be well prepared to deal with these differences and not disrespect customs. In some cases, certain behaviors go beyond disrespecting customs, and can generate a criminal misdemeanor, resulting in fines for travelers.

Therefore, the city of Kyoto published on its official website some tips aimed at tourists who visit Japan and do not want to commit gaffes (or crimes), due to lack of knowledge of how things work in the region.

Discover some of these tips below and learn how to prepare to visit the Land of the Rising Sun.

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What not to do in Japan

According to the list posted on Kyoto's official website, the first step is to avoid smoking in public. In addition to being considered disrespectful behavior towards others, smoking on public roads can result in a fine for the traveler, as it is a contravention of the country's laws.

When calling a taxi, the tourist must not open the car door. The correct thing is to wait for it to open by itself, as it is an automatic mechanism, and if the person tries to force the door open, this equipment can be damaged, causing damage to the driver.

Another behavior that is common in many parts of the world, but not seen with good eyes by the Japanese, is the act of tipping. Regardless of the type of service offered, it's not a good way to say thank you. Also, when visiting a restaurant or bar, you should not bring in food and drinks from elsewhere.

In many restaurants, bars and shops in general, it is common for the cashier to have a tray where the money must be deposited. This is because it is not customary within the country for money to be delivered by hand.

Why don't Japanese people get tips?

For locations that have interwoven bamboo fiber floors (known as “tatami”), it is advisable to remove your shoes. That's because your shoes can take dirt to the environment.

Another criminal misdemeanor, which can lead to very high fines, is littering on public roads or in other prohibited places. The ideal is to always look for the trash and make the correct disposal of your trash. It can also result in fines for driving or riding a bicycle while intoxicated. Incidentally, bicycles should only be parked in authorized locations.

When in public places, pay attention to avoid blocking the way, especially on sidewalks, streets, escalators, especially if you are in a group. In public transport, attention is paid to seats, as they are all given priority for the elderly, pregnant women and the disabled. So don't wait for someone to call your attention to give up your seat if someone in these conditions appears.

Within public transport, it is also not recommended to use the cell phone. If it is extremely necessary, be careful not to disturb and always try to be as quiet as possible.

Tourists should also pay attention to photography bans in some places, especially temples. In these places, it is also not allowed to enter with hats and glasses, and it is recommended to keep silent.

When asking to take a picture with someone in a kimono, Kyoto's website also advises to be careful and respect these people's space.

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Tips for Welcome to Japan

The site also listed some tips to be a good guest in the country. The first is to bring an “omiyage”, or gift, to your host, whether he is hosting, receiving as a visitor or simply for dinner. This rule has an exception: in the case of commercial places, such as hotels, for example.

It is also recommended to avoid staring people in the eye, as this is not a custom in the country and can cause embarrassment. The same is recommended for touch, as demonstrations such as hugging, holding hands or even kissing can be considered disrespectful to some people, although in Brazilian culture this is seen as common.

Are the Japanese polite or fake?

How to plan your trip to Japan

To make the most of everything the country has to offer, it is important to plan your trip carefully. The first concerns the period in which you want to visit Japan, after all, the region has its own specificities, such as the weather and the festivities. Therefore, if you already have something in mind that you would like to enjoy, it is essential to know the best time to visit the country.

Choosing the best time to visit the country is also a way to achieve more savings. When you manage to save on airfare or accommodation, you can use the money left over to do other programs in the country or even visit special attractions, without compromising your travel budget.

Another very important tip for those who want to visit Japan is to get good travel insurance. In addition to being an important factor for disembarking in the country, it is a way to make your trip more peaceful, especially if you need medical attention or if some unforeseen happens.

Travel insurance may also cover expenses for lost bags or other problems that arise, according to the policy's coverage.

Also consider getting around cities with public transport, which is of excellent quality and has several options to take you to different regions, with great agility, safety, comfort and economy.

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