5 surprising etiquette differences between the US and Japan

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japan etiquetteKoji Ueda/APThe etiquette in Japan is vastly different from etiquette in the United States.

I have traveled to Japan more than five times. Each time I’ve been there, I have experienced “omotenashi,” which roughly translates to “the spirit of selfless hospitality,” according to The Japan Times.

When I first visited Tokyo, I met locals who, despite the language barrier, would spend 15 minutes assisting me with directions on the street. People walked me out of a restaurant after finishing a meal or bowed and said thank you after I made a purchase in their store.

It’s an amazing place to visit, and it seems the rest of the world is catching on. Between 1995 and 2012, the number of foreign tourists who visited Japan increased by 6% each year, Quartz reported. And some Japanese residents are not too happy about tourists’ behavior – smoking, littering, and noisy, unruly travelers are disturbing the peace in Kyoto, for example, according to the South China Morning Post.

Japanese people do not expect you to adopt all of their traditional manners, but any attempts to learn some of them will likely be appreciated, according to Fodors.

Here are five major etiquette differences between the US and Japan.



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