Etiquette Guide for First-Time Travelers in Japan


Japan is one of the most popular places for people to visit considering its combination of culture and technology. It is one of the richest countries not only in terms of their economy, but also of their culture and heritage. When you think about modern technology, you usually think of Japan since they are ahead in various industries. If you are planning to visit the country soon, you need to understand that it is still pretty conservative. Therefore, you need to be cautious of your actions to avoid conflicts. These are some etiquette tips to remember.

Never leave a tip

Tipping might be common in many countries, but not in Japan. It is considered rude if you leave a tip. In their culture, being respectful and grateful while dining is already the best way to reward the people working in the restaurant. Tips are unnecessary.  

Do not blow your nose in public

Do not blow your nose in public

It might be common for you to blow your nose if you could no longer hold it. However, when you are in Japan, you need to try your best to hold it until you get home. You can cover your nose with a handkerchief if you have a runny nose. Save the blowing for when you arrive home.

Slurp your noodles

Slurp your noodles

It might seem rude for some cultures to chew your food loudly, but in Japan, you need to be loud when eating noodles by slurping. It shows that you love the food served in front of you. It is a perfect way to compliment the chef.

Place your payment on a small try

In most Japanese stores, posh or not, you will see a small colorful tray when you are about to pay. It is where you place your payment instead of handing it directly to the seller. It is a polite way to pay. It is also okay if you use lots of coins to pay some purchases since Japanese coins could go as high as 500 yen.

Always bow as a sign of courtesy

In most countries, you give a handshake to show respect. In Japan, you give a low bow. Whether you are saying hi to someone or saying goodbye, it is a polite practice. You also let the older person finish bowing first before you do.

Take a shower before using public bath

Public bath or onsen is common in Japan. You usually dip your body naked while you are in these places. However, you need to ensure that you are totally clean before doing it or else you are contaminating the water. Most people also do not mind seeing each other naked in public baths. Avoid being too conscious once you decide to go there.

In many instances, Japan’s ways are quite weird and uncommon. However, these are long-held beliefs and traditions that most Japanese practice. Since you are the visitor, you need to adjust and respect their ways. It is also going to enrich your knowledge if you decide to study their practices well.

Photo Attribution:

1st and featured image from

2nd image from