Lots of travelers ask the question, how to travel in Tokyo? When in Tokyo, to avoid faux pas and risk offending any of the locals we came up with a short list of some of the more interesting bits about Japanese customs and culture that would really come handy so that you can have a clear picture of how to travel in Tokyo. In this article, you’ll learn how to travel in Tokyo and some tips you need to remember.
How to Travel in Tokyo?: Cultural Tips
One of the things that you need to remember on how to travel in Tokyo is respect. Respect, and the show of it, is very important in the Japanese culture. The Japanese people are very big on respect for each other and doing your bit to find out more about the country, the culture and the people gives you a better advantage of mingling with the locals and enjoying the sights and sounds of the perpetually on the move city of Tokyo.
Upon introductions, the exchange of wares or money, the act of saying farewell and so on are just of the many instances you will find locals greeting and ending the meet with a bow. This culture of respect is apparent in everyday life and is a refreshing trait that is not seen in most countries of the world.
Upon your arrival on Japanese shores, you will notice the mindfulness people pay to others. Japanese culture inculcates mindfulness of others. Here are some tips on how to travel in Tokyo:
The country is lax about consuming alcohol in public and has no open container laws. Unlike most countries in the world where people are not allowed to drink on the streets and would most likely get fined or incarcerated for it, this just isn't so in Japan. Although you won't usually see locals drinking on a street corner from a bottle, it is not unusual to see groups of people or lone individuals, hanging out at the park, having a picnic and throwing back a couple of pints of beer.
Since Japanese people work, not only long hours, but diligently as well, it is not uncommon for office workers to either stay long after work hours to put in overtime work or to knock back a few after quitting time as a way to unwind, or show team spirit. People passed out near subway stations are not that unusual to see in the busy business districts of Tokyo.
The very least these people get is quietly laughed at by passersby, but no one has gotten mugged or stolen from. It is the intrinsic trust system that operates amongst the locals of Japan that one would not have to worry about their valuables being taken from them whilst sleeping it off. Traveling alone and worried about leaving your bags at your table but afraid of losing if you left them? Worry not. People in Tokyo don't even think twice about leaving their bags, phones, gadgets, bicycles and motorcycles unattended and it would be right where you left it when you get back.
On slurping your food. I am willing to bet the money in my pocket that this is not something that would be done where you are from and anyone at a dinner table who does may get reprimanded by mother. Not so in Japan.
In fact, if you are going to try that ramen house down the corner, you may hear a lot of slurping going on, and that is perfectly normal. In fact it is expected. For one noisily slurping noodles into your mouth cools the noodles as they go in your pie-hole and the slurpy noises you make is a compliment to the chef to signal that you find this particular bowl prepared for you to be delicious.
Smoking is still allowed in most places in Japan. Japan is one of the few countries who have not imposed any smoking laws and lighting up in bars, pubs and restaurants are not unusual. If you are a smoker this could be good news. If you aren't then this would be good to know before you start loudly objecting and get surprised by the lack of concern. However, there are considerations for those who do not smoke because there are actual designated areas for smokers.
There are quite a few things that are usual in Japan that people would not be able to get away with in other countries. Apart from smoking and public consumption of alcohol, pornographic material is easily obtainable through your local bookstore or magazine stand.
Adult-themed manga is not uncommon reading material amongst people in the big cities. This is not unusual in Japan and if you knew to look, even some of the more mundane, regular magazine on a rack will probably have a page or two of adult-themed comics or literature. A good thing to keep in mind is that when buying adult manga books at bookstores, one can have their books covered.
How to Travel in Tokyo?: Learning the Language
How to travel in Tokyo entails that you learn the language. The people of Japan speak a variety of dialects; many of these are indigenous to regions of the country and have been declared endangered languages by the UNESCO. Many of these endangered languages within Japan are not mutually intelligible with each other or Japanese. The spoken language in Japan is Japanese and is divided to many dialects including that spoken in Tokyo.
In other parts of Japan, aside from Japanese, languages like Ryukyuan which is spoken in parts of Kagoshima as well as Okinawa. The indigenous people of the island of Ainu in Hokkaido speak the Ainu language (aside from the more common Japanese).
The main language spoken in Tokyo is the Tokyo dialect and is what is widely known as the Japanese language throughout the world. You'll be pleased to know that you will not necessarily have to learn these dialects of Japan to get by. In Tokyo, the most common Japanese dialect is Nihongo (Japanese). It will not be unusual to hear people say Nippongo, too, but this is more nationalistic as opposed to the more neutral Nihongo. The characters you will see on street and indoor signages will be written in kanji characters.
How to travel in Tokyo has been host to a hodgepodge of cultures. Because of economic booms and business expansions, Tokyo has been the home of many international companies equating to migrations of people from all over the world. That being said, Tokyo is still largely populated by locals from the city metropolis and citizens of Japan from other regions of the country.
You will find that English is widely understood and spoken, albeit a little sheepishly, most especially in the districts where tourists can be found the most. The language of Japan, once said to be the most confusing, befuddling language to strangers of the country, can indeed be daunting more the untrained, so the two-part bit of information will bring you good news. We hope you learn how to travel in Tokyo, and how great the city is. For more info and travel tips, visit the blog section of this website.