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15 Things I Learned about Visiting Japan

I recently came to Japan and visited a lot of places. It has been a wonderful experience. But I also learned a lot of things that visitors may not know. These are the top 15 things I wish someone warned me about

Public Transport is Super-Convenient

The best thing about Japan is that I found is public transportation is super-convenient. It was an amazing experience. You will find hundreds of stations, even underground. I recommend getting an IC train pass to avoid calculating expenses on travel.

You Cannot Smoke Everywhere

In many Asian countries you may be able to smoke anywhere--but in Japan this is a big no-no. There are designated places where you can go for smoking. It is disrespectful to smoke on the streets--especially while walking.

Respect Rules on the Subways and Trains

Japanese are very obedient. They follow rules and expect the visitors to do the same. On the subways, you must be very careful regarding the rules and manners. No drinking or eating, no talking on the phone, and no loud music.

Tattoos are not Welcomed

Tattoos are still considered a taboo in Japan. Tattoos in Japan are associated with criminal gangs. You may have to be careful to cover it in certain places. You might not be allowed to visit onsen or traditional places if you have tattoos.

Learn the Basic Etiquette and Manners

It goes without saying that the Japan is a very disciplined nation. They expect newcomers will also follow their manners and etiquette. For example, you will have to bow down to show respect when you meet someone. With such manners, you will fit in faster!

You Should Understand Basics of Japanese Language

People who do not know Japanese language can have problems when they visit the country. The reason is simple, few people know English and other languages. You have to communicate with people in their language. This can be difficult even for simple activities like shopping.

Keep a Pocket-WiFi Device

During my visit to Japan, I had a small pocket-WiFi device that helped me a lot. It is a fact that when you are visiting cities, you will need to find various places using Google Maps. For that, the internet device will come in handy and can be a lifesaver.

Try All the Foods for an Awesome Experience

The people who are going to Japan should know that restaurants are awesome. And the staff is really polite and friendly. You will find variety of dishes to enjoy. Eating out in Japan will be a great experience--so even if it outside your comfort-zone, I recommend trying everything.

More and More Places Accept Credit Card

Another thing which everyone should keep in mind while visiting Japan is that credit cards are more common than you may have thought. Most of the stores and shops will take credit cards nowadays. So if you do not have cash, there is no need to worry about it at all. Credit card will come in handy at most of the places.

Giving a Tip Could Be Considered an Insult

Tip is considered a kind gesture the world over. But Japan is an exception in this regard where you should not try to give a tip to the servers, drivers and bartenders. They are often insistent about giving it back.

You May Have to Remove Your Shoes

In Japan, many a restaurant want the customers to remove the shoes at entrance. During my visit to Japan, it happened a number of times and it was something new to me. I have not experienced this in other parts of the world. However, you should be careful because Japanese expect respect. You should always wear socks just in case--or you might wind up barefoot.

High Tech Toilets Are Normal

Another interesting fact, is that many places use high-tech western-styled toilets. At most of the places you will no longer find traditional toilets. Rather, they are quite advanced. Nevertheless, there are some places like temples and churches where you may find the traditional squat toilets.

Speak Quietly in Public

Japanese appreciate when people around them speak quietly. The people believe they are sharing the space with others. Therefore, the tone and volume of your conversation is way more important than you think. It is not a problem in other parts of the world. But Japanese really care about the volume and word selection at public places.

A Small Gift Goes a Long Way

In Japan, I found out that tipping is not acceptable, but a small gift goes a long way in building healthy relationships with the people you care about. Japanese do appreciate when someone presents a small gift. So if you want to surprise someone, a little gift will be the perfect idea.

Never Point at People and Things

A great many things considered normal in the world are treated unacceptable in Japan. One of such things is when someone points at the people or things. You cannot take photos of people without their permission. And eating on the street or in public places is often considered offensive. You have got to be pretty careful about all such stuff.

In order to visit Japan like a pro, you have to follow some rules, learn some basic Japanese phrases, respect the people, and avoid smoking in public. I wish I knew these things before I came to Tokyo. Until next Time!


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