5 Things to Remember When You Visit Japan
Wash your body before entering a bathtub.
Ensure that you’ve washed your body outside the tub first. This is a golden rule especially in public baths and hot springs. It is part of the Japanese culture which started a long time ago.
Don’t enter homes with your shoes on.
As a sign of respect, make sure you take off your shoes when entering people’s houses. This might be needed when entering particular shrines and temples, restaurants, and traditional inns as well. The key is to observe the Japanese—if they’re removing their shoes and leaving them on the right side of the entrance (called a genkan), then you should do the same. Bonus: A genkan is usually a level below the rest of the house, where you remove your shoes. Don’t take them off outside the home.
Never talk loudly in trains.
Whether you’re on the phone or not, avoid talking inside trains. You won’t break any law, but you’ll be considered rude because you’ll be disturbing those around you. Make sure you speak in a soft voice or a regular, normal conversational tone. Don’t shout!
Stand on the correct side when riding escalators.
If you’re in Tokyo, you should stay on the left side. If you’re in Osaka, you must remain on the right. Once again, the key is to follow what others are doing.
Receive a gift with two hands
If you’re about to receive a visiting card or a gift from a Japanese, never receive it with one hand. This is a bit unusual for them. Make sure you use both of your hands, bow, and say “arigatō.” It’s common to exchange visiting cards in Japan, so take a good look at the card when receiving one. Doing so would mean that you value the card. Also, don’t get offended if they don’t open the gift as soon as they finished saying Thank You. Japanese don’t open presents until you leave him or her. Do the same thing.