Japanese culture tips for your trip

by Ro

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!


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 great day and a fantastic tour ”

Excellent
8 hours ago Traveler: Tom -   Tour Guide: Junko

Junko gave us a terrific insight into Japan and Tokyo. Always helpful and eager to please, Junko made our first day in Japan memorable. The tour was customized to meet our needs and we knew we were in good hands from our first contact. Well done and highly recommended.
read more

“ She is more than a guide, she is great! ”

Excellent
8 hours ago Traveler: Ali -   Tour Guide: NAMIE

I am a professional tour guide from Turkey and I bring groups to Japan every April. This year I met Namie and I booked her to guide us in Tokyo. She did a great job and co-operation with me. She arranged itinerary, restaurants, parking lots and everything for us and me and my group were extremely satisfied with her service. If you book her, you never regret. I will work with her every April when I...
read more

“ Outstanding professional guide ”

Excellent
15 hours ago Traveler: Monicab -   Tour Guide: Mari

For our first time in Tokyo we decided to use a local guide, we chose Mari without any previous equines, and we were pleased to find out that Mari speaks English very well, and she is an outstanding professional guide with a lot of knowledge about Japanese culture, History and Art. Beside her qualities as a guide she is a very pleasant and kind person, She literally went the extra mile to make sur...
read more

“ Tokyo tour ”

Excellent
20 hours ago Traveler: Sarah -   Tour Guide: Keiko

Keiko was a delight to be with. We were a group of 7 and she managed to navigate us through the subway system without problem. She contacted us before the tour and asked us about our interests and must see areas and she arranged our day accordingly. We did Tsukiji market, Asakusa, Meiji shrine, and Harajuku area then dropped us off at Shiodome station per our request so we can do a self guided tou...
read more

“ A full day with a great guide... ”

Excellent
23 hours ago Traveler: Frank -   Tour Guide: Toshi(T-chan)

T-chan was very personable, very organized and had planned the day according to what we wanted to see and do. She explained what we were seeing or doing and answered all our questions. We would definitely want her as our guide, should we need one again.
read more

“ A wonderful introduction to Tokyo, old and new ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Jessica -   Tour Guide: MAYUMI

Thank you Mayimi for an action packed half day tour of Tokyo in the rain. We loved the tour and we love Tokyo. Mayimi was perfect and understood well the needs of a family with young children. We couldn’t have asked for a better tour. Thanks again. Jessica, Mitchell, Roman and Scarlett.
read more

“ Delightful day with Akira ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Cecilia -   Tour Guide: Akira.S

Akira made our visit to Tokyo very special. He was a pleasure to deal with planning the day, and was very responsive to our wants and needs. I requested a tour of the Diet Building and he arranged it so we could see inside the beautiful building and the legislative chambers. Our visit to the Fish Market was an amazing experience and Akira guided us thru an excellent lunch at a market sushi bar. ...
read more

“ A wonderful way to spend a day! ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Rachel -   Tour Guide: Marcus

I had a wonderful day with Marcus. The walking tour of Mejiro that I chose was a fantastic balance of architecture and nature, modern and traditional, and different sacred buildings. Marcus was an enthusiastic and knowledgable guide. I always enjoy walking around a city, and this tour was a great snapshot of a part of Tokyo. At every stop Marcus had lots of knowledge to impart. We did quite a lot ...
read more

“ Wonderful tour, focusing on art and architecture, with Mari ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Assaf -   Tour Guide: Mari

We enjoyed very much our family tour with Mari - it was a 5 h guided tour that ended a family holiday in Japan, and Mari was extremely helpful in communicating with us to arrange this tour to fit exactly our needs, capacities, and interests. Mari prepared a really informative printed itinerary each of us got, with a simplified version of Japan history to help us understand Japanese art history, ...
read more

“ Wonderful Day ”

Excellent
1 day ago Traveler: Kimberly -   Tour Guide: Tak

Tak was fantastic. He worked with us before our trip to plan our day and offered great suggestions. Communication was throughout our planning and our day. For the day of the tour, he met us at our hotel and showed us how to use the subway system. He provided interesting facts, taught us easy ways to remember some key Japanese worlds and has a thorough knowledge of Tokyo and it’s history. He’s ...
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Tokyo

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