Japan travel hints & tips
You can get your alcohol out of a vending machine in Japan – anything from whisky to beer. Yup it’s true! But the drinking age is 20. The culture in Japan of obedience to authority seems to stop underage drinkers.
The polite greeting in Japan is the bow. While you won’t be expected to know all the in's and out's of the bow (it can take decades to learn rules regarding the appropriate depth) there are a few things to remember. Bow from the waist and keep your arms straight by your side. Imitate the bows you receive – don’t overbow or ignore the greeting. Smile and nod if nothing else, you don’t want to be perceived as rude.
While there are plenty of western-style restrooms in the larger department stores and restaurants, you might still encounter a Japanese-style toilet (of the squat variety). It’s helpful to carry toilet tissues with you because not every restroom will have these! If you forget to take some with you, hope you get lucky and run into a promo person handing out packs of tissues with ads on them (a current marketing trend).
Also bear in mind that you should blow your nose in a restroom rather than in public, and into a tissue rather than a handkerchief.
It’s considered rude to count your change after you’ve received it – the Japanese culture is one that prides itself on its honesty. Plus you probably won’t be able to translate the currency quickly enough to avoid looking impolite…
The Japanese are absolutely always polite. One of the noticeable features of the Japanese languages is that there are many different words which are used to communicate the same meaning. Some words are considered to be far more polite than others. Even if you don't intend to speak much Japanese, this is an important concept to understand during your stay in Japan. At all times try your best to be VERY polite.
When, where, why, and how shoes are worn in Japan can be confusing. Generally, shoes are not worn in Japanese homes, temples, ryokan, and various other public places (including some restaurants). Follow the lead of locals and don’t panic! Your shoes won't be stolen while you're off touring a temple.
*The Small Print
We’ve tried to make this destination guide as accurate as possible but please double check the essentials like visas, health and safety, airport information etc with the relevant authorities before you travel. STA Travel takes no responsibility for loss, injury or inconvenience caused as a result of this guide. All prices listed are in the currency of the destination, unless otherwise stated.