Tokyo, Japan Travel – Local Etiquette





If you do not know the local etiquette, it can be easy to offend. In Tokyo, follow these simple rules. The basic concept of society, tatamae, is the face you present to the world, and it is important for a harmonious society. Your honne, your true feelings, are kept hidden. They can come across as quiet, reserved, and do not mind silence. But, you have to remember, this is a very polite society, and you have to be very, very nice.

Do not blow your nose in public. Do not point. Do not count your change; the Japanese pride themselves on their honesty. Do not eat in public. Good luck! The number four, shi, is considered to be bad luck, because it also means death. Bowing is the Japanese equivalent to the Western handshake. The degree of the bow depends on the formality. However, foreigners are not expected to bow, unless, they are lucky enough to meet the Emperor.

You will notice that shoes are not worn indoors, say at home, at ryokan, even at restaurants. But, if in doubt, follow the locals. Drinking is important in Japanese society for building relationships. This may be the only time you will see the Japanese get a bit rowdy. Drinking age is twenty years of age. Tipping is not expected, but a service charge may be included in some restaurants. This is Yuko, showing you my Tokyo.

5 Replies to “Tokyo, Japan Travel – Local Etiquette”

  1. Bill Blinky

    Some very good tips here. I've been to Japan a few times & no doubt I'm making lots of mistakes with etiquette & language. One thing I'm uncertain about is distance to stand when talking with someone. In my country there is plenty of space & room to move about, so we so often stand a bit of distance & talk loudly. People also tend not to consider others enough. For example they often stand in the way of other people who are trying to use the footpath, while they enjoy their loud talk.

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