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What you Cannot do in Japan?


Japan is a country with a rich culture and unique customs that may seem foreign to outsiders. While it is a welcoming and friendly country, there are certain things that you cannot do in Japan. In this article, we will explore some of the things that are considered taboo in Japan and why they should be avoided.

Do Not Wear Shoes Indoors

In Japan, it is customary to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home or a place of business. This tradition dates back to the Edo period when the streets were dirty and people wanted to keep their homes clean. Wearing shoes indoors is considered disrespectful, and you may be asked to leave if you refuse to take them off.

Japanese Snack Box

Do Not Tip

Tipping is not customary in Japan, and it can actually be seen as insulting. Japanese people take pride in their work and believe that they should provide excellent service without expecting additional compensation. If you leave a tip, the person may think that you are suggesting they did not do a good job.

Do Not Talk on Your Phone on Public Transportation

Talking on your phone is considered rude on public transportation in Japan. The trains and buses are often crowded, and people prefer to have a quiet and peaceful ride. If you need to make a call, it is best to step off the train or bus and find a quiet spot.

Do Not Eat or Drink While Walking

Eating or drinking while walking is considered impolite in Japan. It is better to find a designated area where you can enjoy your food or drink without disturbing others. There are plenty of benches and picnic areas throughout the city where you can relax and eat.

Do Not Blow Your Nose in Public

Blowing your nose in public is considered disgusting in Japan. Most Japanese people prefer to sniffle instead of blowing their nose loudly. If you need to blow your nose, it is best to excuse yourself and find a private area.

Do Not Be Late

Punctuality is highly valued in Japan, and being late is considered disrespectful. If you have an appointment, it is best to arrive a few minutes early. If you are running late, it is important to call ahead and apologize for any inconvenience.

Do Not Leave Chopsticks Standing Up in Rice

Leaving chopsticks standing up in rice is considered bad luck in Japan because it resembles incense sticks at a funeral. It is best to place your chopsticks on the side of your plate or use a chopstick rest if one is provided.

Do Not Show Public Displays of Affection

Public displays of affection such as kissing or hugging are not common in Japan. Japanese people tend to be more reserved when it comes to physical touch, especially in public places. It is best to avoid any physical contact that may make others uncomfortable.

Do Not Ignore Business Card Etiquette

Exchanging business cards is an important part of Japanese business culture, and there are specific rules that must be followed. When receiving a card, it is important to take it with both hands, read it carefully, and thank the person for giving it to you.

Do Not Enter Onsen (Hot Springs) Without Proper Hygiene

Onsen (hot springs) are popular in Japan, but there are strict hygiene rules that must be followed. Before entering the hot springs, you must shower thoroughly and make sure that you are clean. You should also tie up your hair and remove any jewelry before entering the hot springs.

Do Not Wear Revealing Clothing at Temples or Shrines

When visiting temples or shrines in Japan, it is important to dress appropriately. Revealing clothing such as shorts or tank tops should be avoided out of respect for the religious site. It is best to wear modest clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.


Japan has a rich culture with unique customs that should be respected by visitors. By following these guidelines on what not to do in Japan, you will show respect for the local culture and make your visit more enjoyable for everyone involved. Remember, when traveling abroad, it’s important to learn about local customs and traditions so that you can avoid offending anyone unintentionally.

What is do’s and don’ts in Japan?

Avoid spending too much time in popular Western establishments with free wifi. Take the time to learn some basic Japanese phrases. When eating noodles, slurping is acceptable. It is not customary to leave a tip or count your change in Japan. It is important to show appropriate bowing etiquette.

Does Japan allow tattoos?

In Japan, tattoos are not against the law and are generally accepted. In fact, some individuals in Tokyo can be seen with fashionable tattoos. However, many people in Japan with tattoos tend to keep them concealed underneath their clothing.

What are the seven rules of Japan?

In the book Bushido by Inazo Nitobe, it is stated that samurai warriors followed a code of conduct known as the Bushido, which consisted of 7 principles. These principles included Righteousness, Loyalty, Honor, Respect, Honesty, Courage, and Consistency.

What is the drinking age in Japan?

The age of legal adulthood in Japan is 20, and laws prohibit those under this age from consuming alcohol or tobacco. It is important to never pressure anyone, regardless of age, to drink or smoke due to the potential negative impacts on health and social well-being.

Can you smoke in Japan?

Smoking in indoor public spaces, workplaces, and on public transportation is not legally prohibited at the national level, but many of these places still choose to restrict or ban smoking in practice. This information was last updated on June 1st, 2020.

What is Japan’s age of consent?

Japan currently has the lowest age of consent among developed countries and the G7 countries, with the age set at 13 years old. However, a panel from the Japanese justice ministry has suggested raising the age of consent to 16.

Avoiding Loud Conversations

In Japan, it is important to be mindful of your volume when speaking in public spaces. Speaking loudly or having boisterous conversations can be seen as disruptive and disrespectful to those around you. It’s best to speak in a quieter tone and avoid causing any disturbances.

Do Not Point with Your Chopsticks

Pointing with your chopsticks is considered impolite in Japan. It is better to use your fingers or ask for a utensil specifically designed for pointing, such as a toothpick or bamboo skewer.

Do Not Take Photos Without Permission

Taking photos of people without their permission is considered rude in Japan. It’s important to ask for permission before taking photos of strangers or in certain locations such as temples or shrines where photography may be restricted.

Do Not Assume Everyone Speaks English

While English is widely spoken in many tourist areas of Japan, it’s important to remember that not everyone speaks the language fluently. It’s always a good idea to learn basic Japanese phrases and use them when communicating with locals. This shows respect for their culture and makes communication more efficient.

Avoid Public Displays of Anger

Public displays of anger or frustration are generally frowned upon in Japanese culture. It’s important to remain calm and composed even in stressful situations, especially when dealing with people in customer service roles. Keeping a level head will help you navigate any conflicts that may arise during your visit to Japan.

Respect Personal Space

Respecting personal space is important in Japan. People tend to stand further apart than in some other cultures, and physical contact should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. It’s also important to avoid touching other people’s belongings without permission, including items on display in stores or restaurants.

Do Not Be Disrespectful at Religious Sites

When visiting religious sites such as temples or shrines, it’s important to be respectful of the culture and traditions associated with these places. This may include removing your shoes, bowing before entering, and refraining from loud conversations or disruptive behavior. Taking photos may also be restricted in certain areas, so it’s important to read signs and follow guidelines carefully.

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