Japanese culture tips for your trip

by Ro - TripleLights travel specialist

Today, some advices about Japanese culture that will help you a lot during your stay.. Enjoy it!

 

Taking off your shoes

One of the most shocking customs in Japan is taking off the shoes. Even when it is not a big deal, when you are not used to it, it can be a bit weird.But where it came from?

I know 2 versions of it. The first one says that because in the past the floor of the houses were made with tatami, if you walked inside with your shoes, the tatami will be easily broken, so they changed so softer shoes to take care of the tatami. The second one says that because in the past houses weren´t that big, so they used the same room for different purposes: eating, sleeping (in futons), gathering... So for example it wasn´t hygienic to sleep in the same floor where they were walking around all day with t he shoes that came from the street.

What do you think about it? Do you have another version?

Japanese culture tips for your trip

naturalmoderninteriors.blogspot.com

Escalator: Right or Left?

I have been in Japan for a while and once when I was going to Osaka, a friend of mine told me to be sure that when I arrive there, I have to keep my right. Of course when I arrived, I forgot and being at Osaka station during rush hour going against the flow it was an awkward and difficult moment. But why is Osaka like that?

I made some research and there are also many versions about it.

One says that because Tokyo used to be a samurai city, for samurais it was easier to take their swords if they kept their left while walking, in the other hand Osaka was a rich merchants city, so they preferred to keet their right to protect their money, and this custom nowadays.

Another version is that because Tokyo and Osaka were rivals cities, Osaka wanted to differentiate from Tokyo and adopted this way. The truth is that there is not certain about it, but the only fact that you have to remember if you go to Osaka: Keep your left!

Japanese culture tips for your trip

https://triplelights.com/blog/japanese-escalator-etique-253

Tipping: Don´t!

For foreigners this custom is the best one. In our countries we always have to give a tip when we go to a restaurant not only because it is our custom, but because nowadays our tip became part of the waiter/waitress salary.

In Japan you don´t tip. I asked once about this and the answer I got was that serving is their job and they are already being paid for that. If you tip in Japan, people could feel offended thinking that they didn´t do a good job so you are encouraging them to make it better.

I don´t know if this is truth, what I know is that when I get my meal, I will just pay for that being sure that the sever will have the salary for his job.

Paying when you leave the restaurant

Again, another difference that I found as a good point at the time you go to a restaurant. As far as I know, our way of paying when we go to a restaurant is calling the waiter who was serving us the whole meal, he brings the ticket, we pay to him and we leave a tip when we leave. Don´t dare to ask to split your bill even when you ask half and half because they won´t take it good.

In Japan, on the contrary, when you finish your meal, you take your tickets that were brought by the waiter everytime you ordered something, and you go to the cashier. At the cashier you are going to be asked if you want to pay all together or split it and if you want to split it, you can even chose dish by dish what you want to pay without any complain! Isn´t it great????

Japanese culture tips for your trip

www.remixtures.com

Slippers in the bathroom

In Japanese houses, the ones without tatami, when you get inside and take off your shoes, you will be provided with some slippers to walk around the house. But at the moment we want to go to the bathroom we MUST NOT use those slippers.

For the bathroom you will find another slippers waiting for you. So, you take off your current slippers, set them facing to the house, put on the bathroom slippers and when you finish change them again, also setting the slippers you leave facing the bathroom. Why is that? To keep everything where it belongs. Bathrooms are “specials” places, so we better keep the “special” where it belongs, right?

 Japanese culture tips for your trip

 www.reddit.com
 

Shoes and shopping clothes

The shoes culture in Japan applies to many situations. Houses, some restaurants, schools, temples and also when you go shopping and you want to try some clothes in the fitting room. All the times I went to buy some clothes, at the time I wanted to enter into the fitting room there was always an employee reminding me not to enter with my shoes on. Sometimes they provide some shoes if you want to try you clothes with some just to know how it looks. Japanese take care a lot about keeping clean the places where you can be in touch with avoiding to bring the dirt from the outside.

Japanese culture tips for your trip household-design.com

The science of the chopsticks

The first weeks in Japan were very difficult at the moment of eatting. Japanse people use chopsticks for everything, even for pasta! In Japan every meal is prepared in a way you can grab it with chopsticks, because the pieces are already cut or because they are soft enough that you can easily cut it with the chopsticks. But what you MUST NOT do when you use chopsticks:

- Don´t stick your chopstick in the food.

- Don´t cross your chopsticks when you finish your meal

- Don´t use the separate, use them together

- Be sure you use both chopstick from the same pair

- Don´t grab your chopsticks with you mouth when you have to use you hands for something else

- Don´t point to people with the chopsticks

 Japanese culture tips for your trip

derekversuslonelyplanet.com

 

See you next time!

Did you like my article?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Tokyo, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Tokyo


23 Apr 2016

Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews in Tokyo

“ A lovely and informative day with Keiko ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Lissette -   Tour Guide: Keiko

We had a great time with Keiko, who showed us around like an old friend. She was pleasant to be with and very accommodating. More than her knowledge of the city and its culture, she shared valuable tips that will allow us to enjoy Tokyo on our own.
read more

“ Tokyo Overview Tour ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Wendi -   Tour Guide: Taka

Taka was a fantastic guide for two Americans who wanted a whirlwind tour of Tokyo. Taka knew his history of Japan, how to quickly navigate the City, and cover a lot of ground with us. We saw temples, gardens, shrines, the subway system, the shopping districts and ate some great food. He answered our many questions and was a lot of fun to be with for a whole day. We felt we made a new friend and w...
read more

“ Best Guide in Tokyo! You must book Makiko! ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Evy -   Tour Guide: Makiko

Makiko is an excellent guide. She organized the day and ensured that we experienced the best of Tokyo. She is patient, kind and gracious. Also, her English is superb. She worked for the bank of England and has an excellent English vocabulary. The true gem is her understanding of the city. I had the best sushi of my life with Makiko at a small authentic Sushi restaurant in Ginza. Finall...
read more

“ Off the beaten track! ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Pamela -   Tour Guide: AKIRA

Akira arrived promptly at my apartment ready for the day ahead. He was well prepared and from the word go everything went smoothly. I have been to Tokyo several times and so I was very keen to see the less famous places, having done the well-known ones already. Akira organised the day by combining the kind of things I wanted to do with his knowledge, and I was able to relax, knowing that I c...
read more

“ Knowledgeable. ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Julie -   Tour Guide: Toshihiro

Knowledgeable, made itineraries well that us to understand and follow well and considering custumer needs well. Most of all he is very kind and friendly. We will hire him if we visit Tokyo again.
read more

“ Tailored tour or Tokyo ”

Excellent
2 days ago Traveler: Freya -   Tour Guide: Hiromi

Having been given options of what sort of things we could do in Tokyo, we chose to see as much as possible. Hiromi designed our itinerary and led us around some amazing sights. She was very knowledgeable and friendly and took us around on the Tokyo Metro from sight to sight. There were lots of highlights of the day but I particularly enjoyed the Japanese Gardens (my daughter loved the shops). Havi...
read more

“ A True excellent Tour guide ”

Excellent
3 days ago Traveler: DOROTHY -   Tour Guide: Yoko

Like many other travelers' review about Ms Yoko , is true, she is highly knowledgeable and energetic. Everything that she planned for our sightseeing trip was perfect. She had made every effort to cheer everyone in my group of 4, including my helper , who is a Myanmar. Yoko made an extra errand and effort to bring her to the land of fabric outlets. My helper bought for her mum and herself quit...
read more

“ Yoko showed me the beautiful sights in real Tokyo ”

Excellent
3 days ago Traveler: Jim -   Tour Guide: Yoko

I requested to see the non-tourist sights. We started with a quick elevator ride to the observatory deck at the government building. Yoko and walked 8.5 miles around such classic cultural areas as Shinjuku, Yanaka area, and Kagurazaka area. Shinjuku - Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (45th floor) to see a beautiful view of Tokyo and Mt.Fuji! Omoide Yokocho alley which has a lot of sma...
read more

“ One day tour of interesting site places ”

Excellent
3 days ago Traveler: Diane -   Tour Guide: Koichiro

Koichiro it’s a wonderful guide. I was on a business trip and had only one day to tour the city it took me wherever I wanted to go he was very polite and easy to talk to and made me feel really comfortable he was also very knowledgeable about the places we visited and navigating through Tokyo I would highly recommend his services to anyone who wants to have a personal experience it was well worth...
read more

“ Tokyo Insider. Samurai and Iron Chef ”

Excellent
3 days ago Traveler: Matt -   Tour Guide: Hiroki

I was traveling with my two daughters ages 11 and 8. It was our first time in Tokyo and we wanted to experience more than than the touristic places which we could readily have access to ourselves. Hiroki was punctual and greeted us at our hotel at 9:00 AM. We proceeded to the Imperial Palace and surrounding grounds. He provided us with an insightful background. From there he took us to the fam...
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Tokyo

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started