Winter from December to February, is quite dry and sunny along the Pacific coast and the temperatures rarely drop below 32°F. The temperatures drop as you move north, with the Central and Northern regions experiencing snowfall. Southern Japan is relatively temperate and experiences a mild winter.
Spring is from March to May. Temperatures are warm but not too hot, plus there isn’t too much rain. The famous cherry blossoms are out during this time and there are plenty of festivals to enjoy.
Summer begins in June and the country experiences a three to four-week rainy season during which the farmers plant their rice. It is hot and humid during this time and temperatures are often in the high 90’s. Summer wraps up in August.
Autumn is from September to November and is characterised by light breezes and cooler temperatures of around 46-50ºF. It’s during autumn that many exhibitions, music concerts and sports tournaments are held in Japan.
The Japanese and ‘Face’
Saving face is crucial in Japanese society. The Japanese believe that turning down someone’s request causes embarrassment and loss of face to the other person. If the request cannot be agreed to, they will say, ‘it’s inconvenient’ or ‘it’s under consideration’. Face is a mark of personal dignity and means having high status with one’s peers. The Japanese will try never to do anything to cause loss of face. Therefore, they do not openly criticize, insult, or put anyone on-the-spot.
Harmony in Japanese Society
Harmony is the key value in Japanese society. It is the guiding philosophy for the Japanese in family and business settings and in society as a whole. Japanese children are taught to act harmoniously and cooperatively with others from the time they go to pre-school.
The Japanese educational system emphasizes the interdependence of all people, and Japanese children are not raised to be independent but rather to work together. This need for harmonious relationships between people is reflected in much Japanese behaviour. They place great emphasis on politeness, personal responsibility and working together for the universal, rather than the individual, good. They present facts that might be disagreeable in a gentle and indirect fashion. They see working in harmony as the crucial ingredient for working productively.
Greetings in Japan are very formal and ritualized. It is important to show the correct amount of respect and deference to someone based upon their status relative to your own. If at all possible, wait to be introduced. It can be seen as impolite to introduce yourself, even in a large gathering. While foreigners are expected to shake hands, the traditional form of greeting is the bow. How far you bow depends upon your relationship to the other person as well as the situation. The deeper you bow, the more respect you show. A foreign visitor (‘gaijin’) may bow the head slightly, since no one expects foreigners to generally understand the subtle nuances of bowing.
Gift Giving Etiquette
Gift-giving is highly ritualistic and meaningful. The ceremony of presenting the gift and the way it is wrapped is as important–sometimes more important–than the gift itself. Gifts are given for many occasions. The gift need not be expensive, but take great care to ask someone who understands the culture to help you decide what type of gift to give. Good quality chocolates or small cakes are good ideas. Do not give lilies, camellias or lotus blossoms as they are associated with funerals. Do not give white flowers of any kind as they are associated with funerals. Do not give potted plants as they encourage sickness, although a bonsai tree is always acceptable. Give items in odd numbers, but not 9. If you buy the gift in Japan, have it wrapped. Pastel colours are the best choices for wrapping paper. Gifts are not opened when received.
Remove your shoes before entering and put on the slippers left at the doorway. Leave your shoes pointing away from the doorway you are about to walk through. Arrive on time or no more than 5 minutes late if invited for dinner.
If invited to a large social gathering, arriving a little bit later than the invitation is acceptable, although punctuality is always appreciated. Unless you have been told the event is casual, dress as if you were going into the office. If you must go to the toilet, put on the toilet slippers and remove them when you are finished.
Relationships & Communication
The Japanese prefer to do business on the basis of personal relationships. In general, being introduced or recommended by someone who already has a good relationship with the company is extremely helpful as it allows the Japanese to know how to place you in a hierarchy relative to themselves. One way to build and maintain relationships is with greetings / seasonal cards. It is important to be a good correspondent as the Japanese hold this in high esteem.
Business attire is conservative. Men should wear dark-coloured, conservative business suits. Women should dress conservatively.
|FAMOUS FOOD OF JAPAN||FAMOUS INDIAN CUISINE|
|Sukiyaki is prepared right at the table by cooking thinly sliced beef together with vegetables, tofu and vermicelli||1-21-15 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo Prefecture|
|Tempura is food deep-fried in vegetable oil after being coated with a mixture of egg, water and wheat flour. Among the ingredients used are prawns, fish in season and vegetables.||Spice Cafe|
|Sushi||1-6-10 Bunka, Sumida 131-0044, Tokyo Prefecture|
|Sushi is a small piece of raw seafood placed on a ball of vinegared rice. The most common ingredients are tuna, squid and prawns. Cucumber, pickled radish and sweet egg omelet are also served.|
|Sashimi is sliced raw fish eaten with soy sauce.||3-42-2 Yushima, Bunkyo, Tokyo Prefecture|
|Kaiseki ryori is regarded as Japan’s most exquisite culinary refinement. Consisting mainly of vegetables and fish with a seasoning base of seaweed and mushrooms, the dishes are characterized by their refined savor.||Dhaba India|
|2-7-9 Yaesu | Sagami Bld 1F, Chuo 104-0028, Tokyo Prefecture|
|1-Jan||Thursday||New Year’s Day|
|12-Jan||Monday||Coming of Age Day|
|11-Feb||Wednesday||National Foundation Day|
|21-Mar||Saturday||Vernal Equinox Day|
|3-May||Sunday||Constitution Memorial Day|
|6-May||Wednesday||Constitution Memorial Day( in lieu)|
|21-Sep||Monday||Respect for the Aged Day|
|23-Sep||Wednesday||Autumnal Equinox Day|
|12-Oct||Monday||Health Sports Day|
|23-Nov||Monday||Labour Thanksgiving Day|
|23-Dec||Wednesday||The Emperors Birthday|
|Aiiku Hospital Tel:+ 81 3 3473 8321|
|Bluff Clinic Tel : + 81 45 641 6961|
|International Catholic Hospital Tel: + 81 3 3951 1111|
|International Medical Crossing Tel: + 81 3 3443 4823|
|3 STAR||4 STAR|
|Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku||Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo|
|151-0053 Tokyo Prefecture, Shibuya-ku, Yoyogi 2-3-1, Japan||171-8505 Tokyo Prefecture, Toshima-ku, Nishi-Ikebukuro 1-6-1, Japan|
|Kawaguchiko Hotel||Hotel Granvia Osaka|
|401-0301 Yamanashi, Fujikawaguchiko, Funatsu 200, Japan||530-0001 Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Kita-ku Umeda 3-1-1, Japan|
Japan’s capital city, with its mixture of traditional and modern urban life, is the most popular tourist destination in the country. Sensoji Temple is one of its iconic historic sites, and the Imperial Palace provides a traditional and royal air. The city’s Ginza, the equivalent of New York’s Madison Avenue, is world famous, as is the Harajuku Japanese-teen street fashion that influences international fashion industry. While you’ll find plenty of authentic Japanese dining in Tokyo, you’ll also find top-quality international restaurants as well, since Tokyoites have a discriminating palate for authentic quality of international cuisines such as Italian, Chinese, French, etc. Sushi restaurants are plentiful in the outer market of the renowned Tsukiji Fishmarket.
According to the Japan National Tourism Organization the ancient capital of Kyoto is the most popular destination for foreign visitors to Japan. It’s a city that embodies all that people think of in terms of Japanese tradition including centuries-old temples, ryokans (Japanese traditional style inn), teahouses, geisha, etc., all maintained in the authentic tradition by the city. The cityscape is also well maintained, and there are many cultural workshops in which visitors can participate.
In addition to being the home of Toyota Motors, Aichi is known for traditional manufacturing and thus attracts many business travelers. Midway between Tokyo and Osaka, is Nagoya, a major location for business conferences that also attracts visitors with its castle, museum and gardens.
The Todaiji Temple in Nara is a feat of engineering. It is not only the world’s largest wooden building, it is home to the world’s largest bronze Buddha statue. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and wildlife, the Kegon school of Buddhism is centered here and the grounds hold many artifacts of Japanese and Buddhist history. Deer are allowed to freely roam the grounds as messengers of the Shinto gods.
Kinkaku-ji or the Temple of the Golden Pavilion is the most popular tourist attraction in Japan and Kyoto. The pavilion was originally built as a retirement villa for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in the late 14th century. Unfortunately, the pavilion was burnt down in 1950 by a young monk who had become obsessed with it. Five years later, the temple was rebuilt as an exact copy of the original. Emphasis is placed on the building and surrounding gardens being in harmony with one another. The pavilion is covered in gold leaf which highlights the reflection of the pavilion in the pond and the pond’s reflection on the building.
Japan is 3 hours and 30 minutes ahead of India
Official Currency “Japanese Yen”
Spring is considered the best time to go, since the temperatures are most favorable. Just try to avoid – or book well in advance – for Golden Week (April 27 to May 6). It is the longest holiday of the year, when everybody travels and everything is booked full. Skiers and snowboarders will be keen to head over in winter when snow is on the mountains.
Bow to greet a person –bend your body 15 degrees for ward for a casual bow. When you meet elders, bow deeply from your waist.
Before eating a meal and after finishing it – Be sure to thank your host for the meal and their company with a small bow. This is considered good table manners.
Get Suica cards –To travel the subway, metro, Japan Rail and also to pay for items in convenience stores. You can load them up with Yen as you go along.
Don’t use your cell phones -on trains and buses. Don’t talk to anyone on public transport either. People usually sleep, read or listen to music quietly.
Drive and walk on the left side -it’s the opposite driving direction when compared to the US. Park on the left and use the left side of escalators and elevators.
Food is expensive -so best to avoid restaurants and Starbucks. Rather, buy bread, spreads, rice cakes and noodles from small local shops, as these are less expensive.
When you finish eating at a bar -put your bowl up on the counter with your glass and wipe down the counter in front of you with a damp towel.
Water is safe to drink -whether it is tap water or bottled water. You can refill at any public fountain without worry.
Buy a map -that indicates the names of destinations both in Japanese and in English. Carry a Japanese to English translation book to manage small phrases.
Carry tissues or hand towels with you –most of the public bathrooms don’t have hand-drying facilities, unless you want to use the toilet roll.
Carry at least 10,000-20,000 -yen in cash with you. Most Japanese ATM machines don’t accept foreign cards. Also many establishments don’t accept credit cards.
Always carry a notepad with you –along with a pen or pencil. You may need to write down what you want, or even draw it if someone doesn’t understand you
Write down the full address –of your hotel or destination to show someone in case you’re lost. Get it written in Japanese as well.
When you’re ready to pay your bill -at a restaurants, cross your forefingers together to form an ‘X’. The waiter will come to you with your check.
When you want to point –towards someone or something, point with your open hand. Pointing at anything with your forefinger is considered rude.
Don’t tip anyone –even waiters will be offended if you do so. Other than in the Roppongi area, tipping is considered unacceptable.
Public transportation – is available only till midnight; if you’re stranded after midnight, wait for it to resume at 5 A.M. Avoid expensive taxis.
When entering a Japanese house -place your outdoor shoes at the doorway. Wear the slippers your host provides.
Remove your house slippers -when you enter a room that is covered with tatami flooring. You can step on tatami mats with your bare or socked feet.
When you visit the toilet -at somebody’s home, wear special toilet slippers. Do not wear house slippers in the toilet.
When you visit a Japanese temple -throw a coin into the offering box and fold your hands in prayer. Burn incense and wave your hand to extinguish the flame; don’t blow on it.
Take photos -only in areas where they’re permitted. Watch the signs, and ask locals if you’re not sure. Don’t offend by taking pictures inside temples.
If you’re not sure what to order at a restaurant -indicate one of the plastic food replicas that are displayed near the front of the restaurant.
If the restaurant waiters -don’t lead you to a table, it means you can sit anywhere. Wait for a few moments for them to lead you otherwise.
In a traditional Japanese restaurant – take your shoes off at the entrance and kneel at the low Japanese table. Wear nice socks.
During formal traditional meals – or tea ceremonies, men can sit cross-legged while women must fold their legs neatly under their hips.
You can give your host -business partner or friend a gift while meeting, parting or during a special occasion. Make sure you pack it in simple brown paper.
While exchanging cards -stand up, bow slightly and hold your card facing the others with the fingertips of both hands.
When you receive someone’s visiting card -be sure to examine it with pleasure and carefully place it in your wallet. Don’t shove it in your back pocket.
Do not blow your nose in public -try to discreetly wipe your nose or just snort or sniff to control your cold if you have one.
Japan Travel Dont’s
Do not enter a Japanese home with shoes on. It is customary in Japan to remove your shoes at the door while entering a home.
Do not wear socks with holes in them. You will need to take off your shoes often in Japan.
Do not dress casual attire in the workplace. Dress appropriately for business occasions, a suit and tie for men and a dress or pantyhose for women.
Do not sit until told where to sit when gathering or in business, as usually there is a seating arrangement based on professional status. Do not stand once the meeting is finished until the person with the highest professional status stands.
Do not eat and drink while walking in public. No food and drink taken in at a store. Avoid sneezing, spitting, and burping as well.
Do not put feet on the furniture which is considered extremely rude.
Do not tip unless given for a special service. Tipping is not customary in Japan.
Do not take food from the serving plate with the chopsticks that you’ve eaten from. Instead, turn your chopsticks upside down and then pick the food up.
Do not start drinking until everyone at the table is served and the glasses are raised to toast. The Japanese drinking salute is usually “Kampai!”
Do not stick chopsticks into your food or spear your food with the chopsticks. Not to bite your chopsticks as well.
Do not say something like “I hope to see you again” when parting.
Do not take photos of geisha without asking permission.
Japan Travel Do’s
Do learn a few common Japanese phrases before you travel. Few people are able to converse in English there.
Do bow when greeting someone. Bowing is the customary greeting in Japan, but handshaking is becoming more common for business meetings with Westerners.
Do use the honorific suffix ‘san’ when addressing all men and women.
Do be aware that a vague ‘yes’ does not always mean ‘yes’ in Japanese culture. A straightforward refusal traditionally does not form part of Japanese etiquette.
Do enjoy sharing several dishes at the table instead of having your own individual dish. Drink alcohol if you can, and slurp noodles and soup. In Japan, it’s not only socially acceptable to slurp when eating noodles or soup, it’s polite and a sign that you are enjoying your meal.
Do enjoy food samples but do not be piggish. Take a single piece and just bow slightly and leave the store if you do not want to purchase something.
Do prepare to pay at a restaurant if you initiated the dinning invitation, and do make an attempt to pay at a restaurant if someone else invited you. Splitting the bill is not traditionally done in Japan.
Do bring a gift such as a little souvenir from your native city. It’s rude to visit a Japanese home without one. Avoid giving gifts related to the number four, which symbolises the bad luck. Give and receive gifts with both hands, and do not open a wrapped gift until later.