Japan is a sophisticated nation acclaimed for its friendliness and hospitality. If you don’t want to make a fool of yourself during your trip there, pay attention to these little things:
1. Don’t eat while you walk.
2. Don’t chat on your cell phone on public transport. If you have to use it, talk softly, and always set the phone to silent mode.
3. The using of a mobile device — in any form — is forbidden on or around any priority seats on public transport.
4. Eating is allowed on public transport in Japan. However, the better choice would be simple food. Remember to eat neatly, and take all your rubbish with you when you get off.
5. All service charges are clearly listed in Japan. Paying the required amount is enough, as tips can be considered awkward, and at times insulting.
6. Trash bins are a rare sight in Japan. You will most likely find one beside a drink vending machine in a train station. Bins have different categories, so — as a tourist — you may have to take your trash back to the hotel and dispose of it in its appropriate category if you don’t find one on your way.
7. For the health and respect of others, there are many places that require you to take off your shoes before entering, such as traditional Japanese restaurants, temples, shrines, and fitting rooms.
8. A public bath is an extraordinary experience that Japan has to offer. The important thing is you have to thoroughly wash and clean your body before you get into the hot spring or bath.
9. Don’t take any photos of people without asking first even when you want to take a photo of an item in a shop; always ask for permission first.
10. You should always clean your tray after you have finished your meal in a fast food shop.
11. If you stand at the front in an elevator, you are expected to take control of the open/close button, and you should be the last one to get off.
12. Smoking is forbidden in many places in Japan, so you should find out where you can smoke.
13. You have to wait to be shown to your seats in restaurants. If a food ticket vending machine is available, you need to buy your ticket first, and then wait to be served.
14. The proper way to wear a yukata (bath robe) is to lay left over right. Right over left is only used for the dead.
15. When riding on an escalator, you have to stay on the left in Tokyo and on the right in Osaka.
Translated research by Cecilia Kwan and Alan Cheung