Tourism Manners & Rules

General

Smoking

喫煙のイメージ Please smoke in designated areas only. Check smoking areas when entering restaurants and other establishments.

Garbage

ゴミ箱のイメージ Check garbage containers before throwing away trash, as there may be different places for disposing of paper waste, cans, and PET bottles.

Lines

行列のイメージ If there is a line at a store or ticket office, please follow the directions or display of the store to line up in order.
Train platforms also have marks indicating where to board. Please line up behind the people ahead of you and do not spread out across the platform.

Tips

お金のイメージ Japan does not have a custom of tipping. Although some upscale restaurants have separate service charges, this is almost always noted on the menu.

Calls

To call outside of Japan, dial "010" + the country code + the telephone number.
Discount international calling cards and internet phone call apps are recommended for people who frequently call overseas.
To call Japanese domestic numbers, simply dial the number you wish to call.

Post

Standard postcards can be sent to any country by airmail for 70 yen or by surface mail for 60 yen.
The price to send letters and parcels is determined by their size, weight, and the distance, so be sure to check at the post office counter.

Transportation

Let passengers off first

電車から降りるイメージ Open space and let all passengers get off first before you board a train or elevator.

Do not eat on public transportation

車内食事のイメージ Eating is generally not allowed on regular trains or buses, but it is allowed on the shinkansen or limited express trains which have box meals etc. for sale inside the train or on the platform.

Water and restrooms

Restrooms are free

Almost all toilets in public spaces are water flush toilets, and can be used for free.
Use the toilet paper that is already supplied inside the restroom.

Toilet paper

After using toilet paper, flush it down the toilet. Do not throw it in the garbage.

Water

Water is generally of good enough quality so that it can be drunk straight from the tap.
Japan mostly has soft water, but you can purchase mineral water in convenience stores etc. if soft water does not suit you.

Hot springs

Personal belongings

After taking off your clothes, put them in a coin locker if there is one, then lock it and wear the key on your wrist if it has a band.
Place your clothes in a basket if there is no coin locker, and leave any valuables in the valuables box.

Wash your body first

湯船のイメージ Many people use hot springs. Be certain to wash your body before getting in.

No towels in the bath

Don't put your towel in the bath water. Wrap up long hair so that it doesn't get the bath water either.

Japanese inns

Take off your shoes

Take off your shoes and change into the slippers available before entering Japanese style rooms or sometimes before entering the building.

How to wear a yukata

浴衣のイメージ It is common to wear a yukata after bathing at a hot spring inn.
  1. Choose a size that fits your height (the staff will often check this for you).
  2. Once you put the yukata on, place the left side so that it is on top.
  3. Place the center of the cloth belt on your stomach, wrap both ends around your back, then tie them in front.
    If it is cold, wear a haori over the yukata.

Prayer at shrines and temples

社寺のイメージ The border between the world of the sacred and the world of the profane is marked by a torii gate at Shinto shrines and a sanmon gate at Buddhist temples. Tidy yourself and bow before entering. 手水舎のイメージ

Cleanse yourself at the chozuya/temizusya wash basin next to the path leading in

手水舎の使い方イメージ
  1. Wash your left hand.
  2. Wash your right hand.
  3. Cup water in your left hand and pour it on your mouth
    *Do not pour water directly from the ladle.
  4. Turn the ladle upright to wash the handle.

Prayer at shrines is done with 2 bows, 2 claps, 1 bow

神社参拝の手順イメージ
  1. Bow once, place your offering in the offertory, and ring the bell.
  2. Bow twice.
  3. Clap your hands twice.
  4. Bow once.

Prayer at shrines does not involve clapping

寺院参拝の手順イメージ
  1. Bow once, place your offering in the offertory, and ring the bell.
  2. Pray with hands together in front of your chest.
    *Do not clap your hands.
  3. Bow once.