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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

GUIDE Japanese Manners Do’s and Don’ts Deftly navigate the complexities of Japanese manners

While some Japanese manners can be esoteric, keeping a few key tips in mind will help you avoid embarrassment and misunderstandings

From table manners to train etiquette, it can be hard to remember the social rules in Japan. Here is a quick guide to the need-to-know do's and don'ts so that you can blend in with the locals without coming off as an inconsiderate foreigner.

Dining

With regional variations and some unexpected practices, Japanese dining manners can be confusing, but watching those around you is the best way to get an idea of what you should be doing.

General dining etiquette

Two essential phrases for dining in Japan are “itadakimasu” — said before eating and meaning something like “I am glad to receive this meal" — and “gochisosama desu,” said after finishing a meal, loosely translated as “thanks for the food.” Some things to keep in mind are that leaving leftover food is frowned upon, and asking to take home your leftovers is generally not accepted. When eating with groups, people normally don't start eating until everyone has food in front of them, and it's generally good manners to ask if you can take the last bite from any communal dishes (which are quite common at group dining events).

Sushi

Sushi in Japan is generally eaten in two ways: with chopsticks or with your hands. For the most part, it's mostly a regional difference, with those in west Japan (Osaka, Hiroshima etc.) using chopsticks, and those in east Japan (Tokyo) using hands. This is not a hard rule, however, and many Japanese will use both methods for eating depending on the situation. In general, the sushi rice should not be dipped directly in soy sauce — only the fish on top — and wasabi should not be mixed directly into soy sauce. These rules can be stringent at nicer sushi establishments, but conveyor belt restaurants and chains are more laid back.

Noodles

With ramen, udon, soba and more, Japan has an abundance of delicious noodle dishes to try. At most shops, patrons will slurp the noodles as they eat them. This is, in general, an accepted practice — never patronize a local for the way they are eating, but also don't feel obligated to slurp yourself.

Daily interactions

In general, Japanese people are less prone to body contact during everyday interactions. This goes for kisses, hugs and handshakes used as greetings, as well as other public displays of affection. While body contact is not totally frowned upon, keep an eye on how others around you are interacting to get an idea of the level of intimacy expected. In most situations, a polite bow will work as an appropriate greeting.

Useful phrases

“Sumimasen,” which usually means “sorry,” can also be used as “excuse me” and even “thank you” depending on the context. Use “arigato gozaimasu” as a more direct thanks, and be prepared to hear and use “yoroshiku onegaishimasu” when being asked to do something or when meeting someone.

Take off your shoes

In the vast majority of Japanese homes, it is expected that you will take off your shoes at the entrance — it's polite to say “ojamashimasu” as you enter, expressing a similar sentiment to “sorry for barging in.” There are many Japanese-style restaurants, temples, hot springs etc. with no-shoe policies as well, so always be careful to check.

Public transportation

While talking in preferably soft voices on the train is certainly acceptable, speaking at any volume on your phone is generally frowned upon while riding trains and buses. It's good manners to line up to the side of the train to let passengers disembark before boarding yourself, and priority seating should always be given to the elderly, pregnant or disabled riders if applicable.

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