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Japanese Customs You Probably Didn’t Know About

Most of us know that Japan is an island country that is located in East Asia that has a wide variety of culture and intrigue to offer. Japan is famous for its natural cherry blossoms and the towering Mount Fuji. The island nation has cutting edge technology (such as bullet trains or Japanese cars), along with the kind of wacky inventions that we get a kick of. And did we mention the food? Ohhh the food.

All in all, Japan is a fabulous country to visit and if it isn’t on your list it should be. If you want an experience that is truly all its own in originality and culture, this is the country for you. Even if it is not on your list, it’s still fun to learn about, right? We’ve put together a list of cultural things that are fun or to keep in mind on your next big trip.

Wearing Shoes Inside Is a Faux Paux

In Japanese culture, it is frowned upon to wear your shoes around the house. The idea that one should take their shoes off before entering a home, hotel, or restaurant is the Japanese way. They do this to keep all the dirt outside, which to be honest, is ideal.

There are usually special indoor shoe areas at the entrance of buildings where Japanese people enter to remove their shoes and slip on their indoor slippers. Do not enter a Japanese home with your shoes!

Japanese People Take Baths Together

In Western culture it might feel a bit strange to be naked around others in public, however it is a very normal practice in Japan. Bathing nude in a communal space is a normal activity within Japanese cultural practices.

Onsen baths are baths with natural hot springs and natural therapeutic qualities.A Japanese sento bath is a public bath with normal water. This tradition of bathing goes back centuries.

Japan Was Vegetarian for a Very Long Time

While it seems strange to imagine an entire culture choosing to go vegetarian collectively, this is exactly what happened in the 7th century when Buddhist laws passed, prohibiting the eating of meat. However, the birds and fish were okay.

The law was broken after the Meiji emperor broke the taboo cultural norm and ate meat. This popularized the idea to a country that was increasingly becoming more open to Western ideals.

It Is Illegal Gamble

While it is illegal to gamble in Japan, there are ways to get around it. A game called pachinko, a uniquely popular Japanese game, is a way to still commit the banned vice. This pinball-like game is played in big and bright spaces that are called parlors.

The game is centered on metal balls; the more metal balls you get, the more you win. After the fun is done, the balls are exchanged for some cold harsh cash (woo!) in a separate shop. Money changing hands in another space is a legal way to get through the ban on gambling.


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