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Updated by Joanna James on Nov 25, 2020
Headline for 7 Etiquettes to Follow in Japan – Embracing a Unique Culture
Joanna James Joanna James
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7 Etiquettes to Follow in Japan – Embracing a Unique Culture

We've been used to the Japanese culture ever since we were enjoying Japanese dramas as kids, haven't we? Yes, Japan has a unique culture with many interesting features and etiquettes. While you are in Japan, you'll be able to observe each one of these.


Bowing means showing respect

As you must be aware, bowing is a unique art in Japan. This is how you greet each other, and this bow usually has ranges. A small nod of the head suggests a casual greeting and if someone does a bend at the waist that symbolises respect. Foreigners don't need to follow these rules, and it'll be enough if they can try a bow of the head. In Japan, people don't shake hands with each other.


Footwear manners

Japan is a country that follows strict footwear rules. Japanese don't use footwear when at home. Moreover, they remove shoes before entering temples, castles, and other historic buildings. More surprisingly, even some restaurants require visitors to remove their shoes before entering. They also do have rules on how the shoes should be placed at the entrance.


Etiquettes when dining out

Almost all the Hokkaido restaurants the likes of Chatrium Niseko Japan have Western-style seating arrangements along with traditional arrangements. Japanese dining traditions (zashiki) include low tables, and instead of chairs, they use pillows. And, when serving your food, you'll be served with chopsticks and it is admirable how the Japanese can eat almost everything with these sticks – so why not hone your chopstick skills before you dine out in Japan to impress your Japanese friends or potential clients!


Gift giving

Japanese culture shapes the locals to be more generous. Because of this reason, they give gifts to each other on different occasions. Although giving gifts to other people on their birthdays and Christmas was not a Japanese thing in the past, now it happens mainly due to the strong influence of the westerners. When giving gifts, they never give anything which has a set of 4 because 'four' in Japanese is pronounced the same way 'death' is pronounced in Japanese.


No Tipping in Japan

Japan does not allow you to tip anyone else. According to them, be it the car, restaurant, or the salon, they all have a price and that's what you should pay for them. If you tip someone in Japan, that will not be taken as a reward, but more as an insult.


Bathing etiquettes

Did you know that Japan still has public bathhouses? Yes, it has and there are two types of bathing options called 'Sento' and 'Onsen'. Sento means neighbourhood bathhouses while onsen means hot springs.


Addressing people

In Japan, they use 3 terms (San, Kun, and Chan) with people's names. 'San' is used as a suffix after a name (either male or female) or a designation and this implies respect. 'Kun' is often used to call people who are younger (or the same age) and it is generally less polite than 'san'. 'Chan' is attached to the names of the kids or extremely close friends.