Japanese Culture Explained: Before Your Next Tour

It has been over 150 years since the country of Japan opened their ports to our western world after hundreds of years in isolation. Yet there are still things about this country that mystify us. Here are a few interesting things you may not know and tweets about Japanese culture.

• Christmas Is A Romantic Holiday

Christians only make up about 2% of the population in Japan, Japan Holiday Packages, so Christmas is regarded as a novelty in Japan opposed to a religious vocation. Elaborate and stunning lighting displays along with Christmas trees are very common. However, the majority of the population celebrates on Christmas Eve compared to Christmas Day. In addition, Christmas Eve is regarded as a date night in Japan similar to Valentine’s Day, with most couple’s that go out for a fancy meal and the exchange of romantic gifts.

• Omiyage Is More Than Just Souvenirs

The term is known as “omiyage” which is in most cases translated into the word “souvenir” in English. However, an omiyage is a lot more than just a souvenir. Unlike the souvenirs that travelers in most cases purchase for themselves, the omiyage are items that people buy for family, co-workers, and friends after their trip. The omiyage is usually specialty food items from various regions that are packed into bright and beautiful boxes. While the act of bringing back a souvenir in western cultures is regarded as a pleasant gesture, in the country of Japan, bringing back omiyage is expected.

• Women In Japan Used To Blacken Their Teeth

For hundreds of years, the act of tooth blackening which is referred to “OHA Guro” was a very common practice for the women in Japan, especially geishas and married women. This practice was regarded as attractive and was also thought to assist in protecting the teeth from dental issues and decay. The women used to use a variety of substances on their teeth like mixtures of ink and tooth wax so that the teeth would maintain a black appearance. This practice was done away with and banned in the later part of the 19th century in efforts to modernize Japan.

• There Are Specific Cues For Your Shoes

You may not be aware that it is a polite gesture to remove your shoes before you enter a person’s home when in Japan. However, it may be confusing to know when you should be removing your shoes in various other settings such as restaurants, shrines, and temples. Luckily, there are some cues you should keep a look out for. This includes slippers that are set outside the entrances, which are clear indications that the guests should leave their shoes outside and use the slippers instead. Another clue will include a raised floor at entrances, which is an indication that you need to remove your shoes before you step inside onto these raised surfaces. As a visitor to Japan, you may want to ask the hotel you are staying in or a tour guide for confirmation on the places that you should be removing your shoes.