The number of international travelers to Japan reached nearly 3 million in July this year, up by 5.6% from the previous year: an increase of 159,000 visitors. Tourism is one of the most important revenue earners in the country, known for its culture, traditional arts and cuisine. Unfortunately, travelers might also unknowingly disrupt the locals’ way of life or be disrespectful of customs and traditions. Therefore, it is vital that visitors should be aware of basic manners and behavior to avoid offending locals and help preserve their culture.
Kyoto Reminds Tourists Of Travel Etiquette
Kyoto embarked on a pilot project that will remind tourists of basic etiquette using push notifications on their smartphones. Visitors will receive information about local manners on mobile devices rented out by their accommodation. This came about after locals complained regarding inappropriate behavior, such as taking pictures of geisha and the apprentice maiko without permission. The project will run until December 2019, after which time the authorities will evaluate the outcome. Captured CCTV images and surveys will form the basis of their review.
Other Important Manners
In addition to respecting local culture, it is also important to follow common rules. One is to avoid being late, whether you’re meeting friends for dinner, going to work or keeping a doctor’s appointment. Chronic lateness also causes stress and is detrimental to your health, so there are extra reasons to prioritize timekeeping. When traveling, unexpected incidents can occur, but there are several ways to ensure a smooth journey. Arriving on time is crucial in order to avoid missing your bus, train or plane, but it's also wise to get travel insurance protection to safeguard your interests and to cover you in the case of unexpected events. Taking care over the finer details of your travel arrangements will help you respect the etiquette around punctuality.
Sticking to your space whether walking or using public transportation is another desirable trait when visiting the country. Do not disturb the orderly way people walk or stand in their own space. Avoid talking in a loud voice, do not wave your hands or point at someone, and speak in modulated tones. When visiting shrines or temples, check if photography is allowed. Otherwise, be mindful that these are places of worship, so keep the volume levels down. Take off your shoes before entering the area or as indicated by signs.
Japan is a very interesting country that offers a lot of things for visitors to discover and enjoy. It is also very traditional in the sense that local customs are very much alive, in spite of modern amenities. By respecting these customs, travelers can ensure a fulfilling holiday that does not impact on the local people.