Japan is one of the most amazing, beautiful, and friendly countries in the world. From bustling Tokyo and zen-like Kyoto all the way to laid-back Okinawa and wintery Hokkaido, Japan is a high-tech world mixed with the politeness and respect of their past.
I know, I know, you can’t believe one of the world’s most densely populated cities can actually be silent. Well apart from certain districts such as Shibuya or Shinjuku, the streets of Tokyo are rather quiet. Nobody speaks loudly, nobody screams, there is no chattering in the background. Walking around downtown Tokyo at night (e.g. Chiyoda) is like enjoying a quiet Sunday afternoon in a park.
2. Weird Hotels In Tokyo
You can find many different types of accommodation in Tokyo, but it is safe to say that you will also find the weirdest ones here. If you don’t like pleasantries and talking to people pick the fully automated Henn na Hotel close to Ginza. If you are after a quick nap, check out out the many capsule hotels. Love manga? Find one of the Manga Cafes and settle in for a good read.
3. World’s Best Service
In line with the previous point, since everyone is super proud of their work, things are obviously done correctly, all the time, anytime. This, in turn, translates to Japan having the world’s best customer service. Forget the 5* hotel experience you have to pay serious cash for in a Western country. In Japan, you will feel like royalty just by ordering noddles from the tiny restaurant hidden in a dark street. Impressive, right?
4. Sometimes You Just Need To Take The Shoes Off
It can happen to you anywhere. At the restaurant, at the temple, when entering someone’s home. Japanese are quite strict about their “taking the shoes off” rule and you should absolutely respect this. Make sure your socks are always clean and spotless.
5. They Are Dead On Time
Never, ever, ever be late when meeting with a Japanese person. Everything in Japan is dead on time: the trains, the buses, the people, the service. On rare occasions when the trains are late, the conductor offers an explanatory note to the passengers so they can use it at work/school. If you are invited to a party at 7 pm, be there at 7 pm sharp.
6. No Tipping
Chances are, if you tip in Japan, someone is going to run after you to give you the money back. It’s not an insult to tip, but people are simply happy with their salaries and their work, hence they don’t believe tipping is necessary. Should you love the service just buy the chef a shot of sake. Say Kanpai (the Japanese word for cheers) and leave it to that. It will be far more appreciated.
7. Disposable Houses
All Japanese houses look rather good and they seem to be preserved in great condition. This is because, in Japan, people demolish and rebuilt their houses every 30 years or so. Of course, not all houses undergo these drastic changes.
8. Manners Matter
Of course not being a douche applies to all travellers in any country, but the Japanese are super tight about their customs. Sure they will forgive you if you are a foreigner, but they will also much appreciate you if you put a little effort in. Learn the essential Japanese manner and etiquette prior to visiting Japan.
9. Religion Is Not A Thing
The Japanese are not religious, they are spiritual. No, it’s really not the same thing. Whilst highly peculiar about living in harmony with their nature, they don’t actually go to shrines or temples to pray but to pay their respects, which is a huge difference in Japan.
10. Japan Has Four Seasons
Japan has four seasons and people celebrate and live in harmony with them. They even cook accordingly by using seasonal produce. People also dress for the season, so if you are planning a February trip to Japan, make sure to bring warm clothes, whereas Spring in Japan is mild and pleasant. You can prepare for the cherry blossom festival or learn what is the best time to visit Japan.
There is plenty more about the Japanese way of life and no better way to learn about it but to experience it.