Japanese Traditions




On a trip to Japan, you need to know certain very important facts about the country and its people. In addition to being very friendly, Japanese people follow certain traditions and customs as necessary rituals. When in Japan, these gestures can help you get close to your Japanese friends and understand their way of life.

Here are a few of the more common gestures and customs followed in Japan.

Addressing People: Just like a handshake would be used for greeting others in our country, in Japan, a bow is considered as a very respectful way to greet people. You don’t have to necessarily bow to a great extent to show your respect. Even a slight inclination of the head or a small bow would suffice.


Just like we address a respectful person as either sir or madam, Japanese usually affix the word san to their names (for example: Li San). Some Japanese actually feel insulted if you don’t add “san” to their name. The word Sama can also be used to show respect. The suffixes of Chan and Kun can be added to the names of boys and girls respectively.

Masks in Public: This is not completely necessary. However, in Japan, you tend to find many locals wearing surgical masks. This is not an effort to shield themselves from others but rather, a humanitarian effort to prevent others from catching their germs.

Staying Together: Unlike the Western countries where people favor individualism, Japan focuses more on groups and conformity. As a result, when you visit Japan, you tend to stand out of the crowd and would have to deal with locals who would ask for photos or autographs.

Actions that we normally take for granted are big no-nos in Japan and tend to cause a stir among the locals near you. For instance, trivial things like speaking on the cell phone while walking or while traveling in buses and trains, blowing noses in public and eating while walking can cause you to get a few stares and glares among the locals.

Visiting Houses: Japanese are very particular about clean surroundings. They have separate indoor slippers that guests need to wear when visiting them. Bathrooms have their own slippers as well, and you need to be very particular about changing back into your in house slippers after leaving the bathroom. Walking around the house with toilet slippers will not go down well with your hosts. Chistes cortos

In house slippers need to be removed when walking or sitting on the traditional Tatami mats used in most of the Japanese hotels, offices and restaurants.

Bathing: Most of the houses in Japan are equipped with sentos which are traditional bath houses. The difference between a standard westernized bath house and a Japanese one is that the baths are usually used by guests to soak in hot water for a few minutes AFTER they have actually bathed.

When visiting a Japanese house, you will be offered a bath first. Do not dirty the water of the bath in any way as the action is taken as an insult by the people of the household.

Dining: Dining is an art in Japan. Or at least it is to those who are not experienced with chopsticks. If you are going out for dinner to a Japanese restaurant, it helps to practice using the chopsticks prior to your visit.

Most Japanese have the idea that none other than Japanese can adeptly use a chop stick and if you already know how to handle them, you will get many stares in the restaurant.

Most Japanese restaurants offer diners a small wet cloth. Don’t mistake them to be napkins. These are small hand towels used to wash hands before eating. Once you have wiped your hands clean, fold the towel and set it aside on the table.

When served drinks, it is advised to wait till everybody is served as one person usually raises a toast for someone and yells “kampai“, which is Japanese for “cheers”. Just before you start eating, it is considered polite to say “itadakimasu” which means “I will receive”.

Bowls of rice and noodles can be raised to the mouth for easy consumption and if you tend to slurp in between, don’t feel embarrassed about it and apologize. The Japanese take the slurping sound as a good sign to indicate that you are enjoying the meal.

No tips please: Tipping is a big no no in Japan. Don’t even forget to just pay the amount you have been asked for. Paying extra in the form of a tip is actually an insulting gesture.

So here we are. These are some of the  basic pointers you need to make note off while visiting Japan. Keep these facts in mind and your next trip to Japan is bound to be more comfortable.

Japanese Traditions

Japanese Traditions

On a trip to Japan, you need to know certain very important facts about the country and its people. In addition to being very friendly, Japanese people follow






Japanese Traditions
Japanese Traditions

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