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Japanese manners and customs

Familiarize yourself with local customs and manners for a more fulfilling travel experience


Smoking in Osaka remains generally tolerated in restaurants and cafés, where designated smoking and non-smoking sections are common. Smoking on the street, however, is prohibited—except in designated smoking areas—and violators of this rule can be fined. For details, see More Information About Smoke Free Zones.

Public transportation

Mobile phones

Speaking on mobile phones should be avoided when using public transportation. Passengers should also stand in a straight line when waiting for the train.

Priority seats

Priority seats, courtesy seats, or silver seats on buses and trains are designated for passengers who are elderly, have a disability, illness, or injury, are pregnant, or are traveling with infants.

Women-only cars

Japan Railway (JR) and private railway lines generally have women-only cars. They are usually designated cars during the morning and evening rush hour, although the schedule and location may vary by company and line.

Tactile paving

Tactile paving installed in stations and airport terminals are there to mark pathways for the blind. Be careful not to stand on top of these surfaces or cover them with bags. You'll also find the same tactile paving on the street and in the city. Usually yellow, they come in other colors as well.

Sento public baths and onsen hot springs

Bathing in sento public baths and onsen hot springs is an integral part of the Japanese lifestyle, and you should definitely take the opportunity to take a dip in real Japanese culture. Unless stated otherwise, swimsuits are not allowed when bathing publicly. Also, some facilities refuse entry for people with tattoos due to deep cultural reasons. Drinking alcohol before soaking may lead to physical sickness, so it should be avoided.

Being aware of bathing fundamentals will help you avoid any awkward misunderstandings and ensure you a smooth and stress-free bathing experience.

Take a shower before using the bath–everyone has to use the same water, after all. And don't jump straight in. Ease into the bath tub slowly. Lastly, tie up long hair and keep towels out of the water.

For details, see “Welcome to Osaka’s Sento” for more information about public baths in Osaka.


People depicted in personal snapshots can assert rights to the usage of their images. Please be aware of this when taking photos of locals and residents.


There is no custom of leaving tips in Japan. If you feel grateful for the service you receive from a bar, restaurant, or taxi, simply saying “arigato” (thank you) is fine.