It’s the land of the rising sun, the sumo wrestler, origami, and sushi; but what else does this magnificent country have to offer? For most of us in the western world, Japan is a complete culture shock, almost appearing otherworldly in more ways than one. From its cuisine to its metro system, there is genuinely nothing like Japanese culture.
Though COVID-19 has quelled the number of visitors over the last few years, the country is opening its doors to tourists once more, and you’d be crazy not to take advantage of that. Last year saw a steady huge increase in visitors, though it’s likely to be a while before the numbers reach pre-COVID levels.
That said, when visiting there are certain customs and traditions you should certainly be made aware of: the last thing you would want to do is disrespect your hosts. This is especially true given Japan’s many different customs to those of us in the UK. Many of these are things we take for granted, so stay vigilant!
The bottom line when visiting Japan is to show the utmost respect to your hosts, and this can be done in a number of ways. Take for instance something as simple as wearing the right shoes. You should check if you need to take your outdoor shoes off before entering a building, as indoor shoes will often be provided to change into. This may even be the case when going to the toilet – put your toilet slippers on!
Though we lack a sizable tipping culture in the UK compared to America, Japan is very much at the opposite end of the spectrum. Tipping is actually thought to be highly rude, so it should be avoided at all costs.
Furthermore, respect is tied in with silence – try not to be the archetypal ‘noisy foreigner’ if at all possible. Keep conversations quiet, and try not to answer your phone in public places. Even something like blowing your nose is considered rude.
On a similar note, face masks are a part of Japanese culture, and this was the case before the pandemic. Keep in mind that you’re in a country that takes its health incredibly seriously, so you should look to do the same.
Things to do
There’s no shortage of things to see, especially if you arrive via cruise, and you can get the best Silversea cruises around Japan. See the beauty of the Japanese oceans as you reach land, and enter one of the most unique and beautiful countries in style.
When it comes to eating, you also have plenty of choice – from sushi to authentic teriyaki, Japanese food is a taste sensation. Just go easy on the wasabi!
While you’re experiencing the land of the rising sun, you have to take a bullet train as well, with the high-speed trains capable of reaching phenomenal speeds. But then you have the extraordinary slow motion trains too, which seem well worth your time.
Put simply, however long you spend in Japan, it probably won’t feel like enough. That said, there’s nothing stopping you from coming back for more in future.