Ready to Travel to Japan? Here are 7 Japanese Etiquette You Need to Know!

Photo by Michael Gaida from Pixabay - 7 Japanese basic etiquette

Mar 09, 2020 12:00 PM

Japan is one of the best countries in Asia to visit for a vacation. Its traditions, nature, culture, and the advanced technology are just some factors that attract tourists worldwide. If you have a plan to visit Japan, then you will have to learn Japanese basic etiquette.

Do this so you will not be surprised by the culture or be labeled as rude. It is best to learn about Japanese basic etiquette beforehand although you can learn it during your trip. This way, it won’t take too long for you to adapt.

Here are 7 basic Japanese etiquette you need to know!

Using Escalators

Upon your arrival in Japan, you’ll probably use the escalator in the airport or train stations. It is important to keep in mind that you’re standing on the correct side. In Tokyo, you should use the left side if you want to stand still. But, use the right side if you want to walk on the escalator.

If you’re in Osaka, it’s the other way around. You should remember this even if the escalator isn’t packed with people. So you’ll get used to it faster and people will not give you a weird look. 

Receiving things with both of your hands

In formal occasions, you should receive things with both of your hands. For example, when someone gives you a business card, receive with both hands. Look at it for a while before you keep it in your pocket or wallet. Same goes for receiving gifts, you should use both of your hands. In Japan, it is considered rude to use only one hand when receiving things.


You’ll probably don’t want to miss drinking Japanese alcohol or sake. When you’re drinking with a group, pour the drink to everyone else’s glasses. In return, someone else will pour the sake into your glass. Another thing to remember is don’t drink before you do cheers with everyone else.

Using chopsticks

When you use chopsticks, try not to play with it. Chopsticks are meant to be used for eating purposes only. If you play with chopsticks during dining, it is considered rude. Also, don’t point at something with chopsticks as well.

Visiting places

Some places in Japan especially religious places such as temples and shrines have certain rules for visitors. Be mindful of people who are actually praying in that place. Most places let you enter the building, but you will have to take off your shoes. Also, look for signs whether or not it's allowed to take pictures of the place.


It is very uncommon to tip someone in Japan, whether it’s for a taxi driver or a waitress. If you do it, they will probably give you the money back. Instead of tipping, you could say thank you to them.

Bathing in hot springs

Bathing in hot springs or onsen is one of the things most tourists put on their to-do-list in Japan. You could relax while enjoying getting soaked in Japanese natural hot water. Before you dip into the onsen, you should rinse yourself clean using tap water.

You will have to be fully naked while bathing. Most of the onsens do not allow swimsuits. However, there are separate baths for men and women. Some onsens also do not allow people with tattoo to enter, so you should check about their rules beforehand.