Differences in Culture: 5 Things That You Should Do When You’re in Japan

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Planning your first trip to Japan? How exciting! 

Want to make the most out of it? Then you’ll want to keep in a mind a few things. After all, it’s a whole different country than the U.S. Given that, it only makes sense that they’d have their own set of unwritten “rules”. 

Not sure what to expect? That’s why we’re here! We’ll be going over everything that you need to know below. Keep reading to learn more!

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re visiting Japan. Remember, they’re big on etiquette!

1. Do Not Talk on Your Cellphone on Public Transport

Chances are, you’ll be taking public transport when you’re in Japan. That brings us to our first unwritten rule—refrain from talking on the phone when you’re on the train. If you do, prepare for judging looks!

Talking amongst friends is okay but keep your conversation as quiet as possible. 

2. Do Not Eat and Walk at the Same Time

It’s quite common for people to eat and walk at the same time, at least in North America. Well, things are different in Japan. As it turns out, that’s actually frowned upon. 

Buying a crepe? Or perhaps a tray of takoyaki? There’s probably a designed area where you can sit and enjoy the food. In some cases, however, you might have to stand and eat awkwardly next to a wall!

3. Bring Your Trash Home

This might seem a little bizarre, but it’s actually encouraged for people to bring their trash home. That’s one of the reasons why garbage cans are such a rare sight in Japan!

Here’s a tip, though, for those of you who don’t want to carry your stuff back to the hotel—there’s generally a trash bin at train stations and in front of convenience stores. Take advantage of them! You’ll thank me later.

4. Tipping is Unnecessary

Tipping is not a thing in Japan. As a matter of fact, it’s often considered to be rude. Even if you offer them a tip, they won’t take it. Keep things simple—just pay the amount that’s owed.

Note: This isn’t just for restaurants, but for hotel services and taxis too.

5. Carry Cash

Japan is still very much a cash-based country. Most stores and restaurants will not accept credit cards; the only exception is large department stores and hotels.

Didn’t bring enough cash with you? No worries. There are ATMs at most convenience stores where you can withdraw money. 

6. Use the Tray

About to pay for your purchase? Don’t give your money to the cashier, place it on the “tray” instead. You see, all shops and restaurants (even taxis!) have a designed tray next to the till that’s meant for bills and coins. 

Why is it there? It allows both parties to maintain a respectable distance from one another. It’s also helpful for when you have to count out your yens!

 

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