Geisha looking over water
Avoid Doing These Things As A Tourist Visiting Japan
Most Asian cultures have a strict "no-shoe" policy in homes, temples, and some businesses, as tracking dirt from the outside indoors is considered very unhygienic.
Wear Shoes Inside
If you're invited to a Japanese home or visit a temple, be prepared to take your shoes off at a Genkans, a small area at the entrance of a building where you can leave your shoes.
In general, Japanese people don't shake hands, and purposely touching other people in public is not common practice. Bowing is the common way to greet someone.
Shake Hands
Some Japanese people may initiate a handshake out of respect for your culture. If this happens, don't grip their hand too hard, and don't hold on to their hand for too long.
Bowing is the most common form of greeting in Japan, and there is an art to it. Bowing too low comes off as insincere, and bowing too high comes off as arrogant.
Bow Incorrectly
The correct way to bow is from the waist forward with your hands at your sides. To be respectful to people you don't know very well, a bow at 30 degrees is acceptable.
Japanese culture is all about social harmony, including not disturbing the people around you. Speaking loudly in public places is considered very disrespectful.
Speak Loudly
Tipping is not common in Japan. In fact, most people will chase after you with any extra money you leave, and some may even be offended and refuse to take your tip.
There are a few exceptions to the no-tipping rule in Japan. It is okay to tip your hotel room attendant or the owner, geishas, and private tour guides.