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LIST: 9 Things you need to know before travelling to Japan

7. Pointing at people is rude

Your parents always tell you not to point and you definitely shouldn’t in Japan because it is seen as offensive. Japanese people are constantly worried about offending people, so take this into consideration when asking people to do you a favour. More often than not, locals will say “yes” instead of “no” and this will require you to read their body language and see if they actually want to help you out.

8. Only smoke in designated areas

Unlike in the UK, you are not allowed to smoke anywhere you wish to outside and must smoke only in designated smoking areas. Nearly every restaurant in Japan will have a designated smoking area, there are even some that will let you smoke anywhere inside – but be sure to check before you assume.

9 .You can get away with English

It is always good to learn the odd line or two in the local language, but a lot of the locals will speak a very good level of English. To increase your chance of them understanding what you say, it is important to speak slowly and clearly (although don’t be typically British and attempt an accent or go over the top with hand gestures). Despite their good grasp of the English language, you won’t always see English translations on menus and signs. It’s a good idea to carry a card for your hotel with you too as you may find that not many taxi drivers speak English and if you wish to return to your room then they will know where to go even if you can’t explain it to them.

A few key words and phrases worth learning are as follows:

–       Kon-nichiwa – Hello / Good afternoon

–       Onegai shimasu – Please

–       Arigatou gozaimasu – Thank you

–       Mayoi-mashita – I’m lost

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