20 Things You Must Know Before Visiting Japan According to Locals

Visiting Japan can be an amazing experience, but there are some important dos and don’ts travelers should know before their trip. According to locals, here are the top 20 things every visitor to Japan should keep in mind. From etiquette on trains to must-try foods, this comprehensive guide will ensure you make the most of your time in Japan.

1 Bring Cash

Japan is still largely a cash-based society, so carrying sufficient yen is important, especially in rural areas. Many shops and restaurants do not accept cards.

2 Be Quiet on Trains

Talking loudly on public transit is considered very rude. Speak softly and refrain from phone conversations.

3 Learn Basic Japanese

Knowing some key phrases shows respect and facilitates interactions. Learn basics like hello, thank you, please, etc.

4 Follow Crowd Signals

Observe others to see how to act in various situations like escalators, elevator queuing, etc. Blend in.

5 Dress for the Weather

Humid summers may require lighter clothes than you expect. Check forecasts and pack accordingly.

6 Remove Shoes

Leaving shoes on when entering homes or some restaurants is a no-no. Carry slippers if you’ll be hopping around.

7 Try Local Food

Savor traditional dishes like ramen, yakitori, and more. Don’t be afraid to try new things.

8 Get a Transit Card

Rechargeable IC cards like Suica make travel and purchases easy. They can be used all over Japan.

9 Watch Personal Space

Standing too close in lines is considered rude. Keep a respectful distance.

10 Research Transit

Study up on rail lines and timetables to navigate easily. Google Maps is very helpful.

11 Avoid Peak Hours

Schedule around busy commuter times when possible to avoid crowded trains and stations.

12 Don’t Litter

There are no public bins, so hanging onto your trash is a must.

13 Be Punctual

Japanese people value being prompt. Arrive on time for reservations, trains, etc.

14 Watch the Volume

Even normal speaking voices can be too loud. Lower your voice in public spaces.

15 Bring a Gift

A small gift from your home country can spark friendly conversations with locals.

16 Try Smaller Restaurants

Family-owned spots offer an authentic experience. Ask staff for recommendations.

17 Queue Properly

Line up orderly and quietly. Disrupting this system annoys locals.

18 Silence Phones

Turn off phone sounds and refrain from calls on public transit.

19 Respect Elders

Offer seats to seniors on trains. Saying “dozo dozo” politely insists they sit.

20 Mind Your Manners

General respect and politeness go a long way in interactions. Exercise patience.

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