8 Etiquette Tips for Exploring Japan

If you are planning to take a trip to Japan – the home of sushi – any time soon, there are a few things you should know first. Japan has a unique and rich culture of its own, but its customs and traditions can vary vastly from those that Westerners are used to practising at home.

Newcomers in the nation can feel a little daunted by all the new social norms and rules, but with our guide you don’t have to worry! These are the top 8 most important etiquette tips to practice in Japan.

#1: Master Your Chopsticks

Planning on going out for a sushi meal on your trip? The Japanese care about how you use your chopsticks, so be sure to do it right. There are 2 places where you can safely lay down your chopsticks at the table; either flat across your bowl or on a special chopstick rest.

Never leave your sticks sticking up in your bowl, and don’t pass food from chopsticks to chopsticks either. These actions are often used in funeral rituals! To pass food to a friend, use the back end of the chopsticks to place it onto their dish instead.

#2: Don’t Be Fussy

If there’s one thing people in Japan hate, it’s food waste. Try to avoid leaving parts of your meal aside – it is considered rude among locals, and will undoubtedly be offensive to your host and the farmers who worked hard to source the dish’s ingredients. While you’re at it, sample a small amount from every dish at your table too. It’s a polite gesture, especially from foreigners.

#3: Kampai!

When drinking alcohol in Japan, never fill your own glass, as this implies that your hosts and dining companions are ungracious. You should wait for someone else to do the honours, and do the same for someone else in return. Raise your glass off the table while it is being filled in formal situations, but with friends, watch their actions and follow suit!

#4: Be Gracious

In Japan, it is polite to wait for everyone at a meal to be seated before saying ‘itadakimasu’, which means ‘I humbly receive’. When the meal has ended, thank your cook by saying ‘gochisō-sama deshita’, meaning ‘That was a great feast’. They will definitely appreciate it. Also, your online casino might offer the best selection of Roulette games, but don’t be temped to play them at the table. Focus your attention on your hosts and fellow diners for best results.

#5: Sit Pretty

When using Japanese public transport, you should always give your seat to those who need it more, such as seniors, the disabled, pregnant women, and families with small children. Pregnant Japanese women will often carry pink tags with them to show that they have the right to access reserved seats.

#6: Sit Down for Meals

Eating and drinking while walking is frowned upon among Japanese people, although exceptions can be made during festivals and for certain snacks. Most people will carry take-out in bags to eat later, or finish their drinks before walking on. Remember to not eat or drink on public transport either!

#7: Don’t Tip

Tipping is not necessary in Japan, as restaurants and other establishments usually have a dedicated fee built into each bill. If you do wish to tip your home-stay hosts or a very helpful maid or butler, put the money into an envelope before offering it to them.

#8: Remove Your Shoes

Always remove your shoes when entering a Japanese home. Local families will provide slippers for guests to wear inside. This also applies to many temples, places of significance, and even traditional restaurants. Ki o tsukete!