No matter where they roam, every traveler will experience a certain degree of culture shock at some point, out of all the countries that I’ve visited, I must admit that Japan has surprised me the most (in a positive way, that is). Here is some culture shocks that you will find in Japan.

1. Fancy Toilets

There are two types of toilets in Japan: Fancy, high-tech toilets that look like something straight out of The Jetson’s cartoon and what I refer to as “squatty potties”. As you can infer, the squatty potties are merely porcelain holes in the ground. Luckily, 98% of the toilets I’ve encountered in Japan were the beyond awesome, ever-amusing, high-tech toilets with features like seat warmer, bidet, and even “privacy flush tone”. They’re everywhere from five star hotels to even gas stop restrooms!


2. No tipping

No one in Japan depends on tips to make ends meet because Japan has this crazy concept of actually paying their workers decent, livable wages. In fact, tipping is seen as offensive and degrading.

3. Vending Machines

Vending Machines are everywhere, offering exotic drinks, cigarettes, and even sushi. I have never seen more vending machines per capita in my entire life. They clean, modern, extremely fun to use, and almost toy-like in nature.

4. Onsen

Onsen, otherwise known as hot springs, are very popular in Japan. You will need to bath naked to not contaminate the water. You must rinse off before entering the waters and then enter completely stripped down with other people of the same sex. It’s difficult at first, but after you do it a few times, it becomes absolutely freeing.

5. Safety

Japan is eerily safe. If I needed help, I found I could approach anyone on the street and they’d literally stop what they are doing to assist me. There are only a handful of areas where you would need to be cautious (like in the Roppongi Hills district of Tokyo).

6. Manners

The Japanese people function like clockwork with manners instilled in them since early youth. People know which side of the elevator is for standing and which is for walking. They never cut in line or bump into you like New York City. They are queue respectfully when commuting, allowing older and pregnant individuals right of way. It’s almost unbelievable how polite and considerate people can be compared to other transport networks in the world!

If you want to know more about Japanese manners!

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