One exciting part of being a traveler is familiarizing yourself with the culture of the places you are visiting. Before going to Japan, you must know the basics of the manners and etiquettes to avoid putting yourself into a major faux-pas. Thus far, here is a quick guide on Japanese etiquette.
Make sure you hold the sticks properly to avoid dropping the food.
Do not place the chopsticks above the bowl or make it stand upright in a cupful of rice. Instead, use a chopstick holder.
Do not lick your chopsticks.
Do not share food from chopstick to chopstick. Instead, put the food on the plate.
Do not use chopsticks to dig food.
After eating, always put your chopsticks together. It is neat to see them in a parallel position.
Chopsticks must only be used for eating. One must not use them as a toy or drumsticks.
Before eating, don’t forget to say Itadakimasu! It literally means “I humbly receive.”
Finish your food and leave nothing on your plate.
Slurp the noodles as loud as you can. Slurping the hot noodle will cool down the noodle, and it also means you enjoyed the meal.
Don’t put your elbows on the table.
Don’t bring your mouth to the serving dish.
Do place your food in your plate coming from the serving platter before eating it.
After eating, say Gochisosama deshita, with a slight bow.
Temple and Shrine Pilgrimage
Limit the noise. The silence is a subtle warning that you are entering a sacred place.
Enter through the torii gate. It is believed to be the boundary between the holy ground and the secular world.
Before entering a shrine, find the purification area or temizuya. Gently wash your hands, and swish your mouth using the ladle. It is a process of washing away the impurities in your heart as well as in your body.
Offer a prayer at the altar of shrines. Bow twice, clap your hands twice, say your prayers, and then bow once again. In temples, you don’t need to clap your hands; offer a mere silent prayer.
Dip nothing in the onsen except your body. It maintains the cleanliness of the water of the onsen or sento (public bath). Do not wear swim suits except in designated areas.
Take a bath before plunging in the hot spring. Bathing in the hot spring is not really for cleansing your body, but for relaxation.
Unless you are in a mixed hot spring, you must not peek in the bath area of the opposite gender.
Bundle your hair above your shoulders if it is long.
Do not swim or dive.
Do not bring food or drinks.
Even if you feel the water is too hot, it is improper to add cold water to lower the temperature.
Return the items you use back to its original location.
Wipe your body with the small cloth you usually put on top of your head, before heading to the dressing room.
Here at Pop Japan, we pride ourselves on being one of the most passionate promoters of our nation. It is our strong belief that Japan has the ability to offer anyone a very fulfilling life.