Before you travel to Japan, it pays to brush up on some cultural differences to avoid offending local sensibilities. Manners and social rules are not universal, and it’s easy to commit a gaffe if you’re not aware of their customs and conventions. The Japanese are relatively reserved and polite, so you probably won’t even realize you’re affronting anyone – but they’ll notice. Part of the enrichment of travel is learning about other cultures and being sensitive to their ways. The Japanese are about as hospitable and welcoming as it gets, so take the time to read up on some basic behavioral dos and don’ts to ensure a faux-pas free trip. Here are 19 things NOT to do in Japan.
1. Don’t Wear Shoes in the House
Let’s start with an easy one. Most people are aware that you take your shoes off before entering a home in Japan. It’s a reasonable and hygienic request when you think about it. They simply don’t want the dust and dirt from the outside streets being trekked all over their clean floors and tatami mats. Most homes have a small recessed vestibule called a genkan where shoes should be removed and slippers put on (guest slippers are often provided). Note, these slippers should be removed when you enter a tatami mat room, where socks are the preferred footwear.