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Is cleanliness godliness Japan?


Cleanliness is a vital aspect of life in Japan, and it is ingrained in the culture. From the streets to homes, offices, schools, and even public transportation, everything appears clean and tidy. The Japanese people take pride in their cleanliness, and visitors often marvel at the level of hygiene maintained in the country. But is cleanliness really godliness in Japan? This article explores this concept and examines the cultural, social, and historical factors that have contributed to the country’s obsession with cleanliness.

Historical Perspective

Japan has a long history of cleanliness dating back to ancient times. The Shinto religion, which was prevalent before Buddhism, places great emphasis on purity and cleanliness. This belief has influenced Japanese culture for centuries and permeates all aspects of daily life. In ancient times, people would purify themselves by washing their hands before entering temples or shrines. This practice still exists today, and many Japanese people carry hand sanitizers to maintain clean hands.

Japanese Snack Box

Cultural Significance

Cleanliness is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture and is seen as a moral obligation. It is not just about personal hygiene but also about maintaining the environment around them. Japanese people believe that cleanliness promotes good health, happiness, and prosperity. They view it as a way to show respect for others and the community as a whole.

Public Spaces

Public spaces in Japan are some of the cleanest in the world. Streets are swept and cleaned daily, and littering is frowned upon. Trash cans are scarce because people are expected to take their garbage home with them. Public restrooms are spotless, and many have high-tech features such as heated seats, bidets, and air dryers.

Personal Hygiene

Personal hygiene is essential in Japan. People bathe or shower daily, even during summer when temperatures soar. Many public baths or sentos exist where people can relax and soak in hot water while getting clean. Dental hygiene is also important, with most Japanese people brushing their teeth after every meal.

Workplace Standards

Cleanliness standards in Japanese workplaces are exceptionally high. Employees are expected to keep their desks clean and tidy at all times. Some companies even conduct daily cleaning sessions where employees are required to clean their offices or workstations. The goal is to promote a harmonious working environment that fosters productivity and teamwork.


Schools in Japan place great importance on cleanliness. Students are required to wear indoor shoes and change into slippers when entering classrooms or other areas of the school. They also participate in cleaning activities known as “o-soji” where they clean classrooms, hallways, restrooms, and other areas of the school.

Food Safety

Food safety is a top priority in Japan. Restaurants are required to meet strict hygiene standards to ensure that food served to customers is safe and free from contaminants. Food handlers must undergo regular health checks to ensure they do not spread illnesses such as food poisoning.

Environmental Sustainability

Cleanliness also plays a role in environmental sustainability in Japan. The country has strict waste disposal laws aimed at reducing pollution and promoting recycling. Residents are required to separate their trash into different categories such as burnable, non-burnable, recyclable, etc.

Tourism Industry

Japan’s reputation for cleanliness has made it a popular destination for tourists from around the world. Visitors often marvel at how clean everything is from streets to public restrooms, hotels, and restaurants. The tourism industry recognizes the importance of maintaining high levels of cleanliness as it contributes to the country’s image as a safe and welcoming destination.


Despite its reputation for cleanliness, Japan faces several challenges related to hygiene. One of them is an aging population that may struggle to maintain high levels of personal hygiene due to mobility issues or other health problems. Another challenge is an increase in littering due to changing attitudes towards waste disposal.


In conclusion, cleanliness is indeed godliness in Japan. It is a fundamental part of Japanese culture that promotes good health, respect for others, environmental sustainability, and economic prosperity. The country’s obsession with cleanliness has contributed significantly to its reputation as one of the cleanest countries globally while enhancing its image as a safe and welcoming destination for tourists from around the world.

What do Japanese people think about cleanliness?

Nature is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture, as evidenced by the importance of cleanliness in religious practices such as Buddhism and Shintoism. For centuries, these religions have emphasized the benefits of cleaning and maintaining a beautiful environment, which is believed to support good mental health.

Is Japan a cleanest country?

Japan is known for its cleanliness and is considered to be one of the most hygienic countries in the world. This reputation has been established over time.

Are Japanese people hygienic?

The culture of cleanliness is deeply ingrained in Japanese society, with widespread customs of daily hand washing and gargling among people of all ages. This strong emphasis on hygiene is a defining characteristic of the country, prompting the question of why it is such a crucial aspect of Japanese culture.

Is cleanliness next to Japanese gods?

Shintoism, a religion in Japan, believes that cleanliness is associated with goodness while dirtiness is associated with evil. According to its teachings, the original creator was born in the sea, and followers still practice mouth washing at Shinto shrines. For the Japanese, cleanliness is considered godliness, rather than just being an important trait.

Which country is cleanest in the world?

According to the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), Denmark is the cleanest country in the world, with an EPI value of 82.5.

Why is Japan cleaner than the USA?

There are several reasons why keeping clean is important in Japan. One significant factor is that it is ingrained in the culture and taught from a young age in schools. Additionally, Japanese schools often do not employ janitors, so students are responsible for cleaning up after themselves and keeping the school tidy on a daily basis.

However, some argue that Japan’s obsession with cleanliness can sometimes lead to excessive waste and environmental damage. For example, disposable plastic products are commonly used in Japan, such as plastic-wrapped individual portions of food or drinks. This contributes to the country’s already high amount of plastic waste. Additionally, the cleaning process in public spaces often involves the use of harsh chemicals that can be harmful to the environment.

Another issue is the pressure placed on individuals to maintain high levels of cleanliness, which can lead to stress and anxiety. Some people may feel ashamed or embarrassed if their personal hygiene or living space isn’t up to par with societal standards. This can also have a negative impact on mental health.

Despite these challenges, Japan’s dedication to cleanliness should not be dismissed. It has contributed significantly to the country’s overall well-being and has even helped prevent the spread of diseases such as COVID-19. Moving forward, there is a need to balance the importance of cleanliness with environmental sustainability and individual well-being.

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