5. Using chopsticks
You might want to impress with your chopstick prowess but there are a few dos and don’ts to be aware of. When not in use, chopsticks should lie either flat across your bowl or leaning on the chopstick rest. Don’t leave chopsticks standing upright in a bowl of rice or use them to pass food directly to another person’s chopsticks, and if you’re taking food from a communal plate, use the end of the chopsticks that hasn’t touched your mouth. It’s also considered to rude to wave your chopsticks about, point with them or act out your biggest drumming fantasies with them on the table.
6. Do Not Leave Your Rubbish Behind
You won’t find many bins in public during your travels as it’s generally considered courteous to take your rubbish with you. Have a plastic bag handy for this purpose so you can get your litter back to your accommodation to dispose of it. until you get back to your accommodation. If you come across a bin near a vending machine, steer clear of it unless you’ve bought something from the machine, as it’s generally considered poor form to use these for general waste.
7. Money matters
Tipping: Tipping is not a common practice in Japan and is genuinely not expected. If you feel the need to provide a tip to an especially great tour operator or hotel assistant, put the money in an envelope first.
Use the tray: When paying for items, many stores and service providers will have a small tray to place your money in. Use the tray rather than handing money directly to the cashier and collect your change from the tray as well.
Always have cash on hand as most places (other than big stores or expensive restaurants and hotels) do not accept credit cards. It’s also generally considered impolite to count your change as this can be interpreted as a sign of distrust.
8. Don’t blow your nose
While it might seem odd to a Westerner, blowing your nose in public is a no-no, so sniffle your snuffles until you’re able to use a tissue in private.
9. Speak quietly in public
While you’re undoubtedly going to be excited about your visit to Japan, yelling or speaking loudly in public is frowned upon, so try and keep the volume down. Talking on your mobile phone while travelling on public transport is also considered rude.
10. No pointing
In Japan, it is considered threatening to point directly at people. If you need to provide directions or indicate to a person, use an open hand to gesture, rather than point.
11. Take Off Your Shoes
You ’ll find yourself taking off your shoes often in Japan. It’s customary to de-shoe when entering someone’s home (in the genkan, or entryway) or before entering a tatami room (a room with tatami matting), which you can expect to find at ryokans (Japanese-style inns), temples and traditional restaurants. When you take your shoes off, you may be given the option of wearing a pair of slippers. These are fine to wear other than in a tatami room, so remove them before entering. You may also encounter bathroom slippers at some traditional venues. As the name suggests, these are for use in the bathroom only; be sure to remove them upon exiting the bathroom.