Japan is a huge culture change, at least learn what to do and what not to do whilst in Tokyo. Respect is a major part of the country and you wouldn’t want to be disrespectful so it’s important you learn the basic manners and etiquette. There are lots of rules on how to be respectful but here are a few...
- Learn a few basic words in Japanese
- It is impolite to drink or eat on the street, the streets are perceived as dirty, there are special areas to eat and drink in Tokyo.
- Do not leave your rubbish behind, it's suggested bringing a plastic bag with you and leaving your rubbish in that until you get back to the hotel.
- Don't pour your own drink if you are out with others, this is considered rude.
- Sharing food with chopsticks, Japanese people are really conscious about personal hygiene so use a clean pair or the side that hasn't been in your mouth.
- Don't point at someone with your chopsticks and do not leave your chopsticks standing upright in your food.
- No sugar or cream, green tea is often drunk as it is, you shouldn't ask for sugar or cream and if you don't like it, order something else.
- Slurp away, its complementary to the chef if you slurp the food, it's a sign your enjoying it and you shouldn't bite the noodles in half either.
- The best Japanese etiquette: No tipping and don't count the change as they see it as you don't trust them which is very offensive.
- No phone calls, please. Especially not on the bus, train or tram, you need to be quiet it is seen as disrespectful.
- Tattoos are often associated with the Yakuza, prepare to not be allowed in places and be asked to cover up.
2. Visit the Ghibli museum but you have to book the tickets way in advance
If your one of those people with a passion for anime and manga then this must be on your bucket list! Otherwise, you may just be genuinely interested, in either case, you must book the tickets ahead of your trip.
The Ghibli museum is extremely interesting, exciting and entertaining, it’s well worth the visit.
- You don’t need a rail pass. However, you will need a Suica card to get around the city.
A Suica card is what the locals use, it's a rechargeable device that allows you to travel freely instead of buying individual one-way tickets, it's usually a 500 yen deposit when you order one and you can get it back on the end of your holiday. Other than that there are lots of nature walks and hikes which allow you to experience japan's nature.
Also you can fly to other cities for similar prices to getting the train and you would be there in no time.
- Prepare for the lack of wifi.
Believe it or not. Even though japan is deemed to be technologically advanced, don’t be fooled, sometimes it’s hard to find wifi.
- Pack to impress.
People in Tokyo often dress to impress in weird and wonderful ways. On a real note, women often wear lots of layers and usually prefer skirts and dresses. It’s usually quite formal. However whether you intentionally realise or not, showing cleavage is a big NO.
Tokyo is a place to embrace individual fashion, so you go and rock gothic or lolita style clothing and nobody would say a word.
Please try and pack comfortable shoes as you will more than likely do lots of walking, unless you’re accustomed to heels.