1. Tips

Tips in Japan
Tips in Japan

There are no tips in Japan.

Tipping is considered rude and it happened several times that a waiter ran after me to return the tip I had left.

According to Claude Yoshizawa of the Franco-Japanese Cultural Center of Toulouse (CCFJT), you can leave a tip depending on the place, it is even very appreciated. You still have to know where and how.

What should not be done is give it to the server, who, in fact, does not really have the right to accept.

On the other hand, leave something to the manager (boss-chef of a restaurant, for example sushi) by saying “here, please offer a beer to all your staff with that!” “, It’s very appreciated!

2. We don’t eat while walking

This is also the case with metro trains (although this is encouraged in shinkansen). It is also considered rude.

3. Escalators

When we take an escalator in Japan, we stay on the left of it if we do not advance in order to let those who go up pass to its right, except at Osaka and in a few other cities where it is the opposite.

4. The number 4

In Japanese, the number 4 can be pronounced the same way as the word “death”, “shi” (there are 2 words for 4 for this reason).

In fact, it is common not to have a 4th floor in some elevators and to avoid the 4th, or even the 40th floor altogether (rarer).

On the other hand, nobody told them that the number 666 is that of the devil… Who knows Charles! 🙂

5. Towels in the onsen

A skewer of Princesses Leia
A skewer of Princesses Leia

Small towels (the ones you shouldn’t be able to hide anything with – my condolences if you don’t -) should NEVER touch the water because everyone knows they are dirty.

They are usually put aside or on the head, in the style of Princess Leia.

6. Loud ramen eating

If you eat noodles, remember to suck them up as quickly as possible with as much noise as possible.

It cools hot noodles, amplifies their flavor and is a compliment to the chef. The “slurp” is respect for the product!

According to Claude Yoshizawa, for noise and ramen (but also soba or udon), you have to distinguish between men and women.

Making noise for a woman is frowned upon, much better accepted for men. It is important to clarify this.

You have to know how to adapt to the place. In a very popular restaurant, which is the case with most “ramen-ya”, you can indeed make noise. But not to the point of being noticed by everyone.

On the other hand, in a restaurant serving Chinese cuisine, which in Japan means “gourmet Chinese cuisine”, eating pasta while making a lot of noise is frowned upon since it breaks the “cozy” and silent atmosphere of this kind. so-called “gourmet” restaurants.

The same goes for soba. There are popular soba-ya, there it’s like popular ramen-ya, same rule.

But there are also “luxury” soba-ya, where the bowl of soba can cost 3 or 4,000 yen.

In such places, making noise or rather making enough noise to break the often very “luxury” atmosphere is also completely contraindicated.

More generally, the higher you climb the social ladder, the less noise you make.

At the very top, the Emperor, will not make any noise while eating. And to allow it not to burn itself, it is only served dishes between lukewarm and hot, where the fact of vacuuming to cool, and therefore make noise, is unnecessary.

Ditto, women “from good families” never make noise, or barely perceptible.

7. Cash is king

Although the use of credit cards is slowly but surely spreading, cash is still king in Japan. There are more and more distributors everywhere for this reason.

Many specialty stores do not accept cards, so be prepared!

8. Don’t blow your nose in public

For the Japanese, it is not hygienic and it is rude. You can achieve the height of rudeness by using the towel that restaurants provide to wash your hands for your oozing nose.

9. The wagons for women

Wagons for women
Wagons for women

Surprisingly, they are pink and are usually present during rush hour on some metro lines.

The idea is to avoid Mr. Tanaka’s hand which tends to wander where it shouldn’t.

10. Etiquette in the metro

The person sitting next to you in the subway may fall asleep and their head resting on your shoulder. This is normal and it is not a problem, even if it is someone you do not know.

See as well

Shinto ceremony

Japan is also known for its “pushers” who, although fewer and fewer, will be happy to push you into your wagon in order to use up any available space.

11. Slippers for the toilets

They’re there so that your delicate little feet won’t touch the dirt on the floor. Of course, they should not be kept when leaving the toilet.

12. Tattoos

Tattoos are generally not allowed in onsen unless they are small enough to be hidden.

While some smaller onsen aren’t too fancy, there are no exceptions for the larger ones. This rule was originally instituted to avoid overly… yakuze customers.

13. Love hotels / Capsule hotels

A spacious hotel capsule
A spacious hotel capsule

These two types of hotels are often used by exhausted salary men or by revelers who have missed the last train.

Love hotels are sometimes used by married couples to get away from their small home.

Hotel capsules, on the other hand, are not made for the claustrophobic!

14. Vending machines

There are vending machines for everything you dreamed of, and even for what you didn’t want to dream of.

Those who sell cigarettes and drinks are literally on every street.

“Exotic” distributors are rarer to find.

15. The omiyage

Being invited to someone’s home is considered an honor and the host will expect to receive an omiyage, i.e. a gift.

Normally it’s more of a gesture than anything but I’ve seen people bring quite expensive gifts like a watermelon worth 5,000 yen (around 50 euros).

Hope these few tips will help you enjoy your next trip to Japan!

Source – 15 things to know before traveling to Japan

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Japan Info

Japan Info shares information and advice from local Japanese people on everything related to Japan, such as Tokyo, Kyoto, tourist places, cultural events, as well as Japanese cuisine such as delicious sushi or ramen.

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