Japan Local Customs

  • Washing money hoping for multiple return.
    Washing money hoping for multiple...
    by taigaa001
  • Throwing Beans from the Stage
    Throwing Beans from the Stage
    by taigaa001
  • Local Customs
    by taigaa001

Japan Local Customs

  • Etiquettes and Behaviors

    Tokyo Local Customs

    Japanese baseball fans seem to be much more enthusiastic than American baseball fans. I'm sure part of it is the Japanese cultural mindset of blending with others, which causes them to dress the same, sing the same songs, clap together, sit in silence together, and do synchronized waves through the crowd. In America, on the other hand, we like to...

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  • Visiting Temples and Shrines

    Kyoto Local Customs

    It's tradition but a lot of visitors of the temple miss this local custom! There is a covered fountain fronting the gate of the Ginkakuji Temple. The water fountain has a bamboo scooper where you can scoop the water to drink or to wash hands. Before entering the temple, a visitor should scoop the water and splash it on the ground close to the...

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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...

    more
  • 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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  • culture & history

    Osaka Local Customs

    There are many interesting classes you can take in a wide range of traditional Japanese arts and crafts. Such things as ikebana (flower arranging), traditional dance, taiko drumming, tea ceremony, etc. can provide interesting insight into the rich culture of Japan and can make your visit more enjoyable.

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Public Restrooms

    Kyoto Local Customs

    Most of the bathrooms in Japan (just the local ones not those in luxury hotels and upclass shopping malls), are not equipped with papertowels to wipe hands. By having a wash cloth in your pocket will save you a lot of inconvenience! I noticed this from Japanese women. They have wash cloths with them all the time...You can buy this wash cloth at...

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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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  • Religion

    Tokyo Local Customs

    Fujizuka Mound in Hatomori Shrine in Sendagaya is one of the well-preserved mounds in Tokyo. Fujizuka was made so that people who cannot climb Mt. Fuji either for financial or health reasons can accomplish the Mt. Fuji climb. Mound is often made up of lava stones picked from Mt. Fuji mountainside. Most of the Fujizuka mounds in Tokyo can be...

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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Etiquette: bowing

    Appearances matter in Japan, and how you behave and how you treat other people is all part of that. The most visible sign of this is perhaps the ubiquitous bowing, and almost inevitably you will find yourself doing it a bit too, mirroring what locals do in their interactions with you. A bow can mean many things, according to circumstances and the...

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  • Etiquette: queuing

    Another important aspect of etiquette is getting your queuing behaviour right. Not for the Japanese the mad scramble and free for all that an arriving bus or train triggers in the UK for instance. Platforms are clearly marked with lines to indicate the proper place to queue, and everyone obeys these. If you have a reserved seat (e.g. for a bullet...

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  • Etiquette: the right footwear

    Something that may concern you when planning a visit to Japan could be, what to wear on your feet! It is generally known that it's the done thing to take your shoes off when entering a room but in practice it isn't quite as cut and dried as that. If you are going into a Western style building there is no need to do any differently from at home -...

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  • Cash or credit?

    ATMs are the best place to get money, but it seems that only Japan Post Offices take US cards, but they have limited hours and are closed Sundays. Japanese banks will not accept ATM cards from the US.Credit cards are hit or miss. Hotels and Japan Rail always seem to accept my card, but grocery stores and shops often refuse it, or the card won't...

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  • Love Hotels

    Japan has about 37,000 love hotels, that attracting 1.4 million couples per day. Why the big draw? Most single Japanese live with their parents into adulthood, due to the cost of living and tradition. A love hotel offers the opportunity for adult couples to get some private time for a few hours or overnight. Yes, love hotels allow you to rent rooms...

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  • Open the Kimono

    A Kimono is a thing to wear. No really, in Japanese, ki means wear and mono means thing. This loose robe with a sash is a traditional outfit that many people still wear today in Japan, usually at holidays and festivals.Traditional kimonos are very, very expensive because they are made almost entirely of silk. In modern times, silk is still the...

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  • Noodles

    Noodles are a staple part of Japanese cuisine and are often served with sauces, in soups or with a main dish. Although the main ingredients are flour and water there are a large variety of noodle types; they can be thin, thick, clear, white, chewy, eaten hot or cold. The most popular of the noodles is probably the ramen a wheat type served in a...

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  • Japanese symbolism: the peacock

    The peacock is the national bird of India, so how did it gain prominence in Japan? It's all about religion, and the blend between Hinduism and Buddhism. In India, peacocks are known to be able to predict rain and kill snakes, sometimes even those of the poisonous variety. Due to these unique attributes, Hindus celebrated peacocks from the earliest...

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  • Niō guards

    Many Buddhist temples in Japan have an outer gate called niōmon. Inside the gate you will find statues of traditional Niō guards. These "benevolent kings" guard the temple and ward off evil spirits. The muscular figure with the open mouth is called "Agyō" or "Naraen Kongō," and he is said to be speaking the first letter of the...

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  • The Tanuki and his testicles

    The Tanuki is a Japanese raccoon dog, that is important in Japanese folklore. The tanuki is troublesome and happy, but absentminded. This animal is often displayed as a statue around Japanese restaurants and temples, and is oddly depicted with giant testicles, a sake bottle, and a bank ledger or promissory note. Supposedly the Tanaki is a sign of...

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  • Cherry Blossoms

    Cherry blossoms, or Sakana in Japanese, are a popular symbol of Japan and viewing these delicate flowers is a springtime tradition throughout the country. The Japanese have a term, Hanami, which means to have a picnic lunches with sake under a cherry blossom tree. In Japan the cherry blossoms bloom at varying times each year, but it begins in...

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  • Pachinko

    Pachinko is Japan's version of a Western slot machine. Rather than matching shapes on spinning wheels, as in sots, pachinko players shoot steel balls into the machine in an effort to get more steel balls. When the play ends, any balls acquired my be redeemed for prizes. Some "special prizes" can be redeemed off premises for cash, which allows...

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  • Buddhist Temples in Japan

    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...

    more
  • Kokeshi Dolls

    Kokeshi are traditional hand-made wooden dolls from Japan. The dolls were originally created in the Edo Period (around 1700 AD) in northern Japan. Some theories explain the dolls are substitutes for unwanted babies killed after birth, others believe the kokeshi were created as gifts for Japanese visiting the hot springs in the north. The...

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  • Bicycles

    Japanese people love granny bikes with wicker baskets, cargo racks, baby seats and only one gear. This is one of the most fashion-conscious countries in the world, but they ignore sense of style when it comes to transportation? While Japanese people might spend 3,000 Yen for a nice dinner, and even 15,000-20,000 Yen for tolls on a day trip, most...

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  • Japanese Town Houses - Machiya

    Michaya is the Japanese name for the traditional wooden houses found in many towns and cities across Japan, but are most well known in Kyoto. Michaya were first seen in Japan around 1000 AD, and were long the homes of merchants and craftsmen. The front of the homes was traditionally used as a storefront and the back as living quarters.

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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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