Every country has a unique culture, customs and traditions. Like other countries, Japan is well-known for its traditions and customs. Visiting Japan can be a lot of fun if you are familiar with the customs and traditions followed there. The Japanese have unique etiquettes for all walks of life. They are harmonious people who wish to follow their norms strictly and expect visitors to do so as well. Japanese traditions have been practiced since a long time and thus, have a great influence over the Japanese lifestyle.
In this article, we will look at 5 Japanese traditions worth experiencing. Read on below:
1. Meeting New People
Bowing is one the most traditional etiquettes Japanese people follow. You will see a lot of people bowing each other for various reasons all through the day. Bowing is a way of expressing happiness upon greeting, paying respect and apologizing in any situation. The Japanese train their children to bow in the perfect manner since childhood, whereas a foreigner can simply bow a little to conform to the tradition.
2. Dining Traditions
As a foreigner, you will see a number of traditions in Japan. Before eating, people are given moist towels to clean their hands only; however, these should not be used to wipe the face. People are accustomed to saying ?itadakimasu? before they begin their meals as an expression of appreciation. Surprisingly, it is also considered perfectly okay to slurp your noodles as it is a sign that you are enjoying your meal. Also, tipping at restaurants is not favorable and must not be done.
3. Bathing in an Onsen
Onsens are traditional hot springs that you can see all across Japan even in rural villages. The hot water comes from deep sources and is believed to contain many minerals that relax, relieve and cure the body. You can enjoy the bath nude; however, if you do not wish to do so, you may be allowed to wear a bath suit. Also, if you are invited to someone?s house, you will be asked to take a bath before beginning your meal. Many homes have built-in onsens. You will have to wash off your body and hair in a shower first and then bathe in the onsen while ensuring that you do not spoil the water as everyone in the family takes a bath in the same water.
4. Tea Ceremony
The tea ceremony is also an interesting tradition of Japanese people. Tea is served in a ceremonial manner under the influence of Zen Buddhism. The tradition has taken the form of a hobby nowadays and the ceremony takes place in many public places as swell.
5. Visiting a Japanese House
When you visit a Japanese house, you will have to take off your shoes before entering as a tradition. And as an acceptance of gratitude, you will be provided slippers to enter the house. You can also bring your own slippers if you want to. If you have very large feet, you should keep a set of slippers for yourself. Moreover, you must also take a small gift for the host as a token of a harmonious relationship. The gift must not be an expensive as it can be embarrassing for the host. Also, never forget to take off your hat or coat before the host opens the door, and put them back only when you have left the house.
About the contributor: Andrew has been a long time Japanese culture lover and loves blogging about it. As a sushi maker and nigiri maker distributor, Andrew had the opportunity to discover and embrace the Japanese culture.