woman in kimono with umbrella

Things Tourists Should Never Do in Japan

Are you thinking of visiting Japan? If so, then you may want to learn some important things about the country before embarking on that journey. You have to include the country’s taboos in your list of things to know. Of course, every country has its set of etiquette. There is no point in feeling apprehensive about these things. Just learn them to blend in properly. See 15 of these taboos below.

Using Your Chopsticks Inappropriately

Avoid rubbing them together, placing them in a vertical position in your bowl, or sharing food with another person using your chopsticks. Keep them in the chopstick holder when not in use. If you are sharing food for yourself, use your chopsticks to do so. Lastly, they shouldn’t be used for pointing.

Entering Some Types of Buildings with Your Shoes on

Avoid doing this when visiting people at their homes. This is applicable at some places of worship, relaxation, business, and lodging. Schools, hospitals, boutiques, etc. There are slippers to switch to when entering the toilet. Never forget to make these switches when coming out of each space.

Skipping a Queue

Simply put, don’t do this anywhere in Japan.

Eating and Drinking while Walking or on Motion

If you buy street food, you have to eat while standing at the assigned spots near the shops. The same goes for drinks. Consume them quickly and throw their containers into the closest recycling bins. You are not allowed to do so on public transport either. It is only possible aboard trains going to very far destinations.

Not Following Bathtub (Furo) Etiquette

You should shower before using bathtubs. Your hair shouldn’t be exposed, towels shouldn’t be allowed to touch the water, and you should be completely naked in the tub. Swimming is not allowed in a hot spring (onsen)—only soaking.

Blowing Your Nose when People are around

This is self-explanatory.

Tipping the Waiter

Don’t do this ANYWHERE.

Talking Loudly while on the Phone in Public

If possible, move to a secluded place. Lastly, keep the call brief.

Pointing in Public Inappropriately

The right thing to do involves waving at the target gently. Touch your nose with your forefinger when pointing at yourself.

Shouting Angrily

Don’t do this when arguing or having a misunderstanding with someone.

Pouring Sauce on Food

You should dip the food into the sauce instead.

Presenting and Collecting Things Inappropriately

Of course, two hands are needed. In a store or business, pay through a specified tray at the counter. Avoid presenting the money directly.

Refilling Your Glass Yourself

In social settings, people help each other to refill their glasses.

Refilling a Person’s Glass with only One Hand

Of course, serving involves holding the bottle with two hands.

Leaving Your Tattoos Exposed in Relaxation Spots

You may be restricted from some places because of this. Always keep them covered up. Some relaxation spots may provide clothes to help you cover them.

Japan is a great place for tourists to have a nice time. However, you avoid offending the locals or breaking the rules out of ignorance. Respect for the local culture is important while touring. This principle also applies to when you are visiting other countries.