5 Japanese Etiquettes That You Haven’t Heard Of

Japanese Culture & Photography
3 min readMar 15, 2022

From wearing a mask in the train to bowing at a 45 degree angle when meeting customers, Japan can have a lot of etiquette that one needs to know before coming to Japan. Here are some mannerisms that you probably haven’t even heard of and will give you that extra edge compared to other foreigners in your school or work in Japan.

  1. Appointment Mannerism

For work, you should arrive 10 minutes before schedule. Whether it is for regular work or if you are visiting a business partner or customer. However, if you are visiting a friend’s house, you should actually be 5-10 minutes late. This only pertains to meeting at a friends home and not to meeting up somewhere like a restaurant or station. You should meet up with your friend on time or arrive earlier 5–10 minutes.

The reason that you should be late is to offer additional time for your friend to get ready so that way they do not have to rush. Many Japanese people like to clean their house, make food, etc before their friend comes over.

2. Celebration Money

When you are giving money (cash bills) as a celebration gift, you should only give only new bills especially if it is a wedding. This also includes friends as well. I recently bought some exercise bands from a friend and I gave her 2,000 yen (two 1,000 yen new bills). Many Japanese people practice this etiquette and in fact some Japanese people especially women hold new bills in a separate pocket in their wallet. However, you can always go to the bank to get new bills but it saves a trip.

Btw you shouldn’t be giving coins as a gift in case you we wondering.

3. Funeral Money

You should not give a new bill to someone during a funeral. If a Japanese person has a new bill, he/she will purposely fold the bill before giving it. The reason for this is that you need to prepare and go to the bank in order to get a new bill. Japanese people see this as if you prepared the money and waited for that person to die. That is why you should only give old bills that shows that you haven’t been prepared to give.

4. Entering Someone’s Kitchen

Just like opening someone’s refrigerator in America, you shouldn’t open or even enter a Japanese…

Japanese Culture & Photography

Japanese culture, food, sightseeing spots, and photography. Tokyo based Asian American professional photographer born and raised in Hawaii.