Tokyo, the heart of Japan, has a rich culture with limitless experiences when visiting the city. As much as it is a city that conforms to its social conventions and norms, it is more international, like any other large city in various parts of the world. Maneuvering through Tokyo can seem intimidating when you first land as a visitor, but the welcoming nature and politeness of the natives will wow you. Things are laid out, and you will easily blend in once you hang out for a couple of hours.
As you buy the ticket to Tokyo now, this guide will keep you informed on what to expect when you get to the vibrant city.
Tokyo has a polite culture.
When you get to Tokyo, you will realize that the residents are very down to earth. Try to blend in with their culture. Everyone walks in discipline on the left-hand side of the street, and be sure to follow suit. When in an escalator, stand on the left-hand side to give room for those on the right to pass.
Keep in mind that people in Tokyo don’t bypass the line, and you may notice that there is quite some peace even in busy places since people are not loud. Unlike other cities like in America, where people loudly speak on their phones in public places, that is not the case with Tokyo, and you will look odd one out when you do that. Carry your headphones, have good etiquette, and you can even carry a book to read and blend in with the crowds if you are using public transportation or visiting public places.
Many residents don’t use English
Many people in Tokyo are not English speakers and will speak very broken English. Before your tour, take some time to learn essential Japanese words such as greetings for ease of communication. You don’t need to learn how to speak Japanese fluently. That may take a lifetime.
Learn the basic phrases that matter, such as:
- Konichiwa– hello
- Arigato- thank you
- Sumi Masen -excuse me or sorry
- Hai –yes
Many local people will be reluctant to speak English even if they know and prefer to use their dialect. However, you will meet university students studying the English language and foreigners all over the city who are happy to use it and practice with visitors.
Expect to use Japanese Yen in your shopping activities in Tokyo, and make sure you always have some cash since some places will accept cash only. But most of the cabs will accept credit cards. When it comes to exchanging the currency, you can do it in any bank or at the international airport when you land. Note that every 1000 Japanese yen equals $9, so you will more likely get home with a bunch of coins if you don’t plan correctly.
You will quickly notice that locals here use money trays to collect money. So, do not hand over your yens to the cashier if there is a tray. The best practice is to put it in the tray and slide it over to the cashier.
The safety in Tokyo
As of now, it is safe to be in Tokyo since there are low crime rates. However, practice your safety measures and avoid unpopulated areas at night. The water is safe to use, and you can ask any service provider for help with anything. The locals are ready to help and will be happy to serve any visitor.
Tokyo is home to some of the unique cuisines in the world, boasting over 160,000 restaurants. Thousands of years of experience by the chefs make Japanese cuisine special with unique ingredients and technical precision. Many chefs dedicate their lives to preparing delicious foods specializing in one useful skill.
Do not be afraid to enter any of the restaurants and order some Japanese foods from sushi, noodles, grilled beef intestines, and many other foods. Go for it, and you will indeed enjoy it. The best part is that the food is not expensive.
Avoid personal contact
Many people in Tokyo avoid personal contact so prepare yourself to bow or bend rather than shake hands. A gentle bow will do if you meet family and friends and a slight bend from the waist for business relations or meetings. If you are meeting with anyone, be punctual and try to be there five minutes earlier. People in Tokyo have stringent time observation practices.
Japanese people practice humility. They will frown at you if you do anything that is out of that. They conform to social traditions and formalities that may shock you as a visitor, but if you blend in, it will be a wise thing to be fair to your hosts.
Eat like a Japanese
Don’t be shocked when everyone splits the tab evenly since the family eating style is popular in Tokyo. Japanese food comes with many side dishes, so be prepared to practice triangle eating. That means don’t clear a bowl by the bowl at a time. Take a bite in every plate alternating each time to taste what makes the foods compliment each other.
Don’t begin eating until everyone has is served. Your friends may push you to start eating as they await their food, but the best thing is to decline until they are served. When drinking, ensure everyone has their glass full and then wait for your drinking buddy to serve you.
Learn how to use chopsticks
It will be helpful if you learn how to use chopsticks since most Japanese restaurants serve food with that. Even if you get a spoon, it will be hard to eat noodles with it. When you are done eating, fold the chopsticks in the corners, put them back and put them back in the package.
Don’t worry about tipping.
When in Tokyo, don’t worry about tipping. You will get impeccable services, but the service charge is always in the overall cost, so do not bother tipping. If you do, the service provider will insist on giving you change or decline it, which will make the situation even more awkward.You can complement your waiter through word of mouth, such as ‘gochisousama,’ to mean that the food was delicious.