Japanese culture is calm
Cultural characteristics and rules of conduct in Japan
The culture of Japan is very different from that of Germany. Did you know, for example, that during rush hour there are sometimes 'women-only' compartments that you as a man shouldn't get into? Or do you know how to behave in the onsen? We'll give you a few tips to ensure that your behavior on the trip to Japan will only attract attention.
There are many rules of conduct in Japan. Some of these relate to specific activities such as going to an onsen, while others are generally open to the public.
General rules of conduct
Tattoos are a difficult subject in Japan. They are usually completely forbidden in onsen and on the beach. Older people in particular can be bothered by the sight of them on the street.
Some behaviors that are completely normal in Germany are more likely to be in Japan not polite viewed. For example, you should Not
- Eat or drink while walking.
- Smoke outside of designated areas.
- Blow your nose loudly in the presence of others.
- Expect a handshake or a hug to greet you.
- Consume alcoholic beverages under the age of 20.
- Photographing strangers on the street.
- Openly flaunt tattoos. Tattoos are often associated with the yakuza and can be uncomfortable for locals.
- Leave your shoes on indoors. You can tell from the behavior of other visitors, for example, whether you have to take off your shoes. A good indication is already if you have to go up a small step after the entrance.
- Going to stores with dripping wet umbrellas. Most shops have either umbrella stands or plastic bags for your umbrella.
In contrast, there are of course many points in Japan okay or even he wishes are, while they play no role in Germany. It is appropriate if you
- Wear a face mask if you have a cold.
- Make eating noises (e.g. slurping soup ’).
- Drink alcohol in public.
- Picnicking in the park. You should take back any garbage that arises.
- Bringing small souvenirs to locals.
- Go left (in train stations, on escalators, ...) as long as there are no other signs. Strangely enough, in Osaka you go right.
Sorting waste is very important to the Japanese. Various rubbish bins are even provided for events.
Rules of conduct for certain situations
In addition to general rules of conduct, there are a few things that you should be aware of in certain situations in Japan.
If you train drive, you should
- Don't speak out loud.
- Don't run to the train.
- Do not eat in local traffic.
- Put your cell phone on silent.
- Stand in line in the designated area.
- Release so-called ‘Priority Seats’ for pregnant women, old people, etc.
- Watch out for ‘women-only cars’ in cities in the mornings and not get into them as a man.
- Pay attention to reserved seats in the Shinkansen. Reserved places are in extra wagons.
If you have a Shrine or temple visit, you should
- Show respectful behavior.
- When asked, follow the given procedure.
- Do not take pictures of the employees without being asked.
- More tips in the article on shrine and temple visits.
If you have a restaurant visit, you should
- Don't tip.
- Don't pass food from chopsticks to chopsticks.
- Do not stick chopsticks vertically into the food.
- Use the bell at the table to call the waiter. If there is no bell, there is a Sumimasen ’.
- Pay at the cash register and take the bill with you.
- In izakaya they usually split the food and the bill.
- In ramen and fast food shops, buy a ticket from the machine before eating and hand it in to the staff to order.
If you have a Onsen like visiting the Onsen Monogatari on Odaiba, you should
- Keep calm.
- Pay attention to the prohibition of tattoos.
- Wash yourself before you go to the pool.
- Go into the water naked. You can cover yourself with a towel when walking around.
- Don't let your towel and hair touch the water.
You should be calm and attentive on trains. Eating is allowed on Shinkansen, while it is not welcome on other trains.
Japanese - How Much Should You Know?
Nowadays you can get on quite well with English, especially in big cities. Means of transport, restaurants and co. often show the most important terms in English. In rural areas and in lesser-known tourist destinations, it becomes linguistically more difficult and the use of translation apps is worthwhile. In order to make the journey a little easier, it is still an advantage to learn a few sentences and characters. In addition, you appear much more polite if you can answer at least some basic terms in Japanese. We have put together an overview of travel vocabulary for you.
Smoking is prohibited in all public areas in many cities.
In addition to all these rules of conduct, there are also a few stumbling blocks that surprised us in Japan. This includes:
- In big cities there are no trains at night, experience report from Moritz.
- Maps are facing and not facing north, Leslie review.
- General smoking ban on streets. A smoking room is recommended for smokers.
- Vegetarian and vegan diets are rather rare and should be researched in advance.
- Waste separation is very extensive. Usually irrelevant in hotels, in public places you should pay attention to the pictures on the garbage cans.
- In Tōkyō, in particular, the water contains a lot of chlorine.
In Japan there are really many rules and unwritten social norms. As a tourist and a foreigner, you will be forgiven for most mistakes as long as you are reasonable and friendly. If you act ‘properly’, the locals will mostly be happy and praise you. Stumbling across a cultural peculiarity is annoying at first, but in retrospect it can become a valuable memory.
Can you think of any more special features and rules of conduct? Tell us about it in the comments.
If you want to look up an unfamiliar Japanese term, our glossary can help you.
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