A short list of the do’s and dont’s of Japanese Etiquette

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This page is a list of some of the things you should or should not do whilst visiting Japan a short lesson in Japanese Etiquette.

Japanese Etiquette Do’s
Do take off your shoes when walking on Tatami mats, when entering somebodies home or when entering temples or shrines if asked. You should be provided with slippers in some of these places.

Do Wear a mask if you have a cold. Many Japanese wear a sort of surgical mask if they have a cold to prevent spreading the germs to others.

Do remember that Japanese taxi doors open automatically. The doors on nearly all Japanese Taxis are controlled by the driver and he will open the door for you to get in and out.

Do give up your seat on Buses and Trains for the elderly. There are no or very few special seats on Buses and Trains for the elderly. Its a common courtesy that some little SOB’s in the UK should learn as well.

Do say “Itadakimasu” before and “Gotisosamadeshita” after a meal.

Japanese Etiquette Dont’s
Don’t stand your chopsticks upright in your rice as this is offensive to your host as it is only used as an offering to the dead. If you must put your chopsticks down lie them on top/across the bowl or use the special chopstick rests if they are provided.

Don’t blow your nose in public. Its a big sign of ignorance and if done in close company will be frowned upon. If you must blow your nose leave the room to do it, otherwise sniff as this isn’t considered bad.

Don’t push and shove in rush hour commuting, there is no need to rush for trains or buses as they run very close schedules.

Don’t try to open taxi doors as the driver will do this for you.

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