Japan Local Customs

  • Viewed From The Other Side
    Viewed From The Other Side
    by taigaa001
  • Suhama or Pebbled Beach at Ocha No Sato
    Suhama or Pebbled Beach at Ocha No Sato
    by taigaa001
  • Pebbled Beach and Misaki Lantern
    Pebbled Beach and Misaki Lantern
    by taigaa001

Japan Local Customs

  • Etiquettes and Behaviors

    Tokyo Local Customs

    One thing I noticed in Japan was that the subways were an organized chaos! But it seemed to flow efficently all the same. As you know will probably notice when you get to Tokyo and you are getting on the many stops on the metro, you will notice there are sections of the stairs that point which way people are leaving and departing. For example,...

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  • Visiting Temples and Shrines

    Kyoto Local Customs

    Kiyomize Temple (UNESCO's Cultural Heritage site) is one of the most frequently visited temples in Kyoto. The locals come here to enjoy the beauty the nature brings to the surroundings of the Temple. It was built in 793 and renovated in 1633, 30 years after the Tokugawa Shougun had started. Its a "must" place when you are in Kyoto. How to get...

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  • etiquettes / behaviors

    Osaka Local Customs

    In the streets you will at some places see trees that are lighted at night, that looks quite funny and romantic. It has nothing to do with christmas, because we had been there in March. We had 3 nights in Osaka and each night I made some stroll through the city and always felt perfectely safe.

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  • Tradition

    Tokyo Local Customs

    The Buddhist religion has been observed in Japan since the Sixth Century and possibly earlier. About 70 percent of Japan's population claims to be Buddhist, but many are also Shinto, as the two religions have much overlap in beliefs. Buddhist temples are plentiful around Japan, and are primarily used to store sacred relics rather than as a place of...

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  • Geisha and Maiko

    Kyoto Local Customs

    Geisha, also known in Kyoto as Geiko, are traditional hostesses and entertainers for Japanese men. They are perhaps best known for their elaborate kimonos and white face paint, though geisha apprentices, called maiko, more commonly wear the bright white paint. While many observers believe geisha are prostitutes, traditionally geisha and prostitutes...

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  • food & specialities

    Osaka Local Customs

    One of the local delicacies in Osaka is takoyaki, or octopus balls. These round dumplings are sold by street vendors and stalls in Dōtonbori and elsewhere. The octopus is chopped and mixed with other ingredients such as spring onion, covered in the batter and cooked in special takoyaki pans. A sauce is added (typically a brown sauce similar...

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  • Religion

    Tokyo Local Customs

    No matter what religion you practice or who you believe in, it is always important to try and respect someone's beliefs. When I was in Japan, I got to visit a number of shrines. It was very spiritual and I am glad to have set foot in these sacred sites. I am Catholic and my beliefs are centered on what I know. But that didn't mean I couldn't come...

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  • Language

    Kyoto Local Customs

    The Kyoto dialect (Kyo-kotoba) is quite distinct from standard Japanese and other dialects. Because it developed in the ancient capital, the feeling it gives Japanese people when they hear it is one of beauty, class, elegance, and nostalgia. It is more polite than standard Japanese, and it is often seen as somewhat feminine (because it is so...

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  • culture & history

    Osaka Local Customs

    One way of immersing yourself in Japanese culture is to take a public bath. For the uninitiated and often inhibited Westerner this may be challenging, but it is well worth the experience! Follow these steps to stay in sync with Japanese cultural practices when visiting a public bath: 1. Disrobing. Enter the public bath and locate a locker for...

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  • People

    Tokyo Local Customs

    Vending machines seem to be in breeding overdrive in Japan. I heard one source say there were over six million and still going strong. I think they would only work in a society that is on the whole very law abiding, like Japan. As a visitor it is the vast range of products that is available that amazes. Whilst soft drinks seems to account for...

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  • Public Restrooms

    Kyoto Local Customs

    Talk to a man about a horse - japanese style Culture-shock Japan reloaded ! So you thought it was about time to "talk to a man about a horse" and you had the feeling you have entered the right door and then they direct you into this place and you might ask yourself, whether japanese men are really built that much differently, so will they need...

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  • language

    Osaka Local Customs

    OSAKA DIALECT: Osakaben is a special dialect spoken by the people of Osaka. Some of the commonly used terms are as follows:mo-karimakka Hi! How are you doing? ohayo-okaeri Have a nice day! o-kini Thanks. nambo How much? e- Good. akan No good. No way. Don't.

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  • Street Scene

    Tokyo Local Customs

    I was intrigued to see some workers reinstalling the stanchions around planting beds. I had to take a photograph of the stanchions, because they struck me as quintessentially Japanese -- an attention to detail which you'd never see in the States. Each of the iron posts was textured on the outside to look like tree bark, and the flat top of each...

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  • Gardens

    Kyoto Local Customs

    Maruyama Park, at the eastern end of Shijo-dori, behind the Yasaka Shrine, becomes a busy and festive place in spring. The many cherry trees there are a riot of blossom and centre-stage stands a giant and ancient weeping cherry tree, raised on a small hillock and fenced-off to protect its roots. The pathways are lined with food stalls and hanami...

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  • castle

    Osaka Local Customs

    The old classic Japanese construction and architecture is obvious very local. However, OSaka is very large business modern city, there is not much about temples and history to see with the exception of the castle area.

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  • Speak / Learn Japanese (Nihongo)

    Tokyo Local Customs

    When in Tokyo I tried to learn Japanese. I had a Japanese textbook in Russian and I understood that it wasn't so difficult as we used to think. Very soon I could write my name and surname in Japanese. Have a look at the picture and you will find how easy it was...

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  • Festivals

    Kyoto Local Customs

    Gion Matsuri is held annually in Kyoto and is probably one of the most famous festival in all of Japan. It is on during the entire month of July and the Yama-boko Junkō, which is the parade with the floats, is the absolute highlight of the festival and is on July 17th. Kyoto's downtown area is closed for traffic on the three nights leading up...

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  • subway

    Osaka Local Customs

    In Japan, the rule on escalators is to stand on the left, the opposite of what I am used to in London. This surprised me a little as the Japanese drive on the left just as we do and I thought that like us they would also climb their escalators on this side. But no – you stand on the left and walk on the right. And being the Japanese, they all...

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  • Infrastructures

    Tokyo Local Customs

    Most guides will advise buying Yen before you go to Japan to cover initial expenses but then buying more once there as there is a better exchange rate in the country itself. You also avoid the commission if buying while there.

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  • Shopping Etiquette and Advice

    Kyoto Local Customs

    thats what the banner reads i was told. this banner and other similar sights-- with the economy in a downward spial-- they are becoming more commonplace now--- unheard of in japan until now i would guess...

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  • Have you ever seen this before?

    Tokyo Local Customs

    The Japanese obsession with automation, astronomical land prices and sense or order all come together when you look at car parking. There are a good number of these giant vending-type machines all over Tokyo. You drive your car in, it's spun round on a turntable and then disappears into the bowels of the machine. I presume that you then hope it...

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  • Restaurant Etiquette and Advice

    Kyoto Local Customs

    Most of the water glasses of restaurants in Japan are small and tiny. I for one drink a lot of water so when I am at the restaurant I request for more water. Most of the time the Japanese restaurants provide for tea, though. But there is nothing like drinking water after your meal as I am used to. However, drinking tea is supposed to be good for...

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  • Japanese Style Room / House

    Tokyo Local Customs

    If you get the chance, there is nothing that beats putting up a night at a traditional inn or RYOKAN. There are quite a few within Tokyo city, but those that offer better facilities and a more traditional and culturally interesting experience, it is best to try those that are located outside of Tokyo (eg. around Lake Hakone, Nikko or Narita town)....

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  • Ryokan Etiquette

    Kyoto Local Customs

    Ryokan are accommodations, peculiar to Japan. And its the only one of its form in the world. Ryokan are an excellent accommodation as good as hotel. The structures are made of wood. They have a Western-style guest room but mainly composed of Japanese-style room.(Room with straw tatami mats) A Japanese-style room has various faces as a drawing room,...

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  • Church Services

    Kyoto Local Customs

    If you wish to hear Sunday Mass, this church holds English service at 12 noon. It is right beside the Kyoto Royal Hotel on Kawaramachi St., about 2 mins. walk south of the Shiyakushomae subway station.

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  • Train Etiquette

    Kyoto Local Customs

    I realise one cultural expect that we all tourist must observe and learn from the Japanese; particularly when taking a train or bus or even metro. Things I observed in Kyoto metro: 1. Seat tight or stand quitely 2. No ringtones & no talking in the handphone 3. Whisper only (but most of the time they dont talk) 4. Look down or up otherwise reading...

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  • Fashion

    Kyoto Local Customs

    When old Cliffie last worked in Japan, the fashion - alas - was for short hair and long skirts. Now, it's long hair and short skirts - which perhaps explains his readiness to hop on a plane to Japan a couple of times a year. Schoolgirls, in particular, seem to vie with each other to wear the shortest skirt, usually over crumpled long socks that...

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  • Cherry Blossoms

    Kyoto Local Customs

    Cherry Blossom Forecast! Is there such a thing? Apparently, yes in Japan. If you often watch TV or Newspaper they often forecast about cherry blossom fall and the best day to view the full bloom of Sakura tree. Kansai is properly the best region to view sakura during cherry blossom season. If you staying in the hotel, you will definite see big...

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  • Japanese Money - The Yen

    The Japanese currency is called the Yen. Coins a minted in ¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥50, ¥100, ¥500, and paper banknotes are printed in ¥1000, ¥2000, ¥5000, ¥10,000 (though ¥2000 are rare and seldom used). The exchange rate as of summer 2012 was about 78 Yen to the U.S. Dollar, meaning that a ¥1 coin (or a "Yenny!") is worth about a penny (in an economy where...

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  • Game Centers

    In Japan Game Centers (ゲームセンター), sometimes shortened to “Geh-sen,” are a major draw fro the under 20 crowd, who are too young for pachinko. The Geh-sen feature a variety of video games, claw games (UFO Catcher), photo booths, taiko drums, and sometimes horse racing games and pachinko.We really like...

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  • Mikoshi shrine festival

    While wandering around Tokyo in the late summer and early fall, you may hear whistles, drums, and chants; go check it out! You may see a mob of Japanese men and women, all dressed in similar "happi" shirts carrying a gold shrine, kind of like the ark of the covenant. The shrines are probably five feet by five feet at the base and perhaps five feet...

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  • Sake Breweries

    Sake is a fermented rice drink native to Japan. Sometime called rice wine, the brewing process is actually more similar to beer, hence many sake breweries' relatively easy transition to beer. Bottled sake is usually between 15 and 20 percent alcohol, but it is consumed in small glasses, almost the size of shot glasses, or it can be drunk from small...

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  • Japanese Traditional Weddings

    During several of my visits to the Meiji Shrine, I have seen Japanese Shinto weddings, called shinzen shiki. These Shinto ceremonies can be very formal and elaborate, taking place at Shinto shrines throughout the country. Most of the participants will dress in traditional kimonos, including the bride, though she will usually wear a large white...

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  • Japanese House Bat

    The Japanese House Bat is a tiny bat found in Japan and throughout Eastern Asia, including in Taiwan, China and Korea. We recently found one outside of our house near Tokyo, sleeping in an outdoor patio umbrella. We noticed him by the droppings on our table. Unfortunately, after we saw him, he took off and never came back.

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  • Japanese Public Toilets

    Japan has some of the best and worst of public toilets. At the high end are the fancy electronic toilets with fancy bidets, heated seats, music, Bluetooth, and more. At the low end are squaters, small, smelly holes in the floor.My favorite are urinals that are in public view. In this picture is a urinal in Okinawa, where you can use the facilities...

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  • Kumamon

    Kumamon is a black cartoon bear with red cheeks that seems to be everywhere in Japan. I used to think he was a drunk bear, so I called him "sake bear," but I have since learned he is the mascot of Kumamoto Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan.The mascot was created in 2010 and has become nationally popular, with Kumamon bears available in vending machines, in...

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  • Japanese Green Pheasant

    The Japanese Green Pheasant is native to Japan and found native only in the Japanese islands. The females are predominantly brown, but the males are a spectacular mix of bright colors with red heads, purple necks, and green breasts. According to some sources, this is the national bird of Japan.

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  • Rakugo - Traditional Japanese Comedy...

    In early December 2013, a Japanese friend took me to a Rakugo show, this is a traditional form of Japanese "stand up" comedy. Rakugo was started in Japan around the year 1600, and it features a single performer who kneels on the stage telling a funny story. The performer uses no props, wears no costumes, and often barely moves. To tell the story,...

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  • Kimono

    The kimono is the traditional dress of Japan. The word means simply “a thing to wear” but today refers specifically to these traditional full length garments. To the uninitiated (me!) it may seem a that all kimono are much the same but we learned a little bit about some of the significant differences (e.g. sleeve width) while in Japan, and I’ve...

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  • Japanese toilets

    A traditional Japanese toilet is much as you find in many less developed parts of the world (and in some that are very developed too) – what I term a "squatty potty". You will almost certainly encounter these on occasion as you travel about the country, and I found that it also isn't unusual to find a choice of these or Western style ones in many...

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  • Tea ceremony

    We didn’t get to attend a full tea ceremony while in Japan, but our visit to a tea house in Tokyo included many of the main elements – the formal offering of the tea (though the preparation was done elsewhere), the style of the utensils, the accompanying sweetmeats and the detailed instructions on how to drink our tea.The Japanese Tea Ceremony is a...

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  • Onsen

    “Onsen” really simply means a hot spring, but most people understand this to be a hot bath supplied through naturally hot spring water. You will find both public and private onsen in Japan, with the latter in many of the better ryokan, and some budget ones too, as we were pleased to discover. Taking a bath in a public onsen means doing so with...

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  • Koto music

    When staying in the Fuji-Hakone Guesthouse we had the opportunity to hear some traditional music played on the koto. This is a traditional stringed instrument, played horizontally on the floor. The 13 strings sit on moveable bridges which can be adjusted to change the pitch.Our hostess at the guesthouse had invited a local woman, a retired teacher...

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  • Geisha

    Let us start by debunking a common misconception – geisha are not prostitutes. Some may chose to prostitute themselves, but it is not “in the job description” and is not normal practice. No – a geisha is an entertainer of men, a skilled performer, an expert in Japanese traditions and, probably, an accomplished flirt and conversationalist. When we...

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  • Karaoke

    Most people know that karaoke was invented in Japan; the word derives from the Japanese for empty, kara, and orchestra ōkesutora, alluding to the use of a musical track with its main lyrics removed. So when in the country you should really take the opportunity to experience how the Japanese enjoy one of their modern “cultural” offerings....

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Japan Local Customs

Reviews and photos of Japan local customs posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Japan sightseeing.
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