Etiquette in Japanese Society


Etiquette when Eating



It's customary to say "Itadakimasu" before eating and "Gochisosama deshita" after eating, especially if you're being treated, as well as "Kanpai" for "Cheers".

Don't leave your chopsticks standing up out of your food.

Do not use your chopsticks to skewer food or move dishes around.

Do not put soy sauce on your rice--it isn't meant for that.

Be aware that in Japan it is normal to make slurping sounds when you're eating noodles.

It is normal to pay a restaurant or bar bill at the register instead of giving money to the waiter/waitress. There is no tipping in Japan.

Etiquette when Out and About

It is considered rude to talk on your cell phone on trains and buses. Send e-mail or a text message instead.

It is polite to put "-san" after anothers name, or "-chan" after a young girls name, or "-kun" after a boy's name, but NEVER use these after your own.

Avoid shouting loudly at someone to get their attention--wave, or go up to them.

The Japanese gesture for "Come here" is to put your hand palm out, fingers up, and raise and lower your fingers a few times. The western gesture of palm-up, closing your hand is only used to call animals to you.

If you have any tattoos, you had better hide them when going to someplace like a public bath. In Japan the people with tattoos are primarily the yakuza, or Japanese mafia. Tattoos are becoming gradually more accepted, however many places will not allow you to enter if you have visible tattoos.