10 Interesting Things You May Not Know about Japan

Photo: Maxpixel.com

10 Interesting Things You May Not Know about Japan

Sally Chow

Japan is well-renowned for its beautiful landscapes, extremely polite people and fabulous cultural representatives including manga, Skytree Tower, and Mount Fuji. She gains popularity among people of different nationalities owing to her wide range of delicious food, marvellous scenic spots as well as its wonderful culture. In this article, 10 interesting things about Japan will be introduced. Next time when you pay a visit to this wonderland, please take a note!

10. Baseball is a Popular Sport in Japan


Whenever you switch on the television, it is not uncommon to find that some channels are live broadcasting baseball tournaments. Almost everyone in the country loves this sport. Not only children participate in this kind of sports in Japan, baseball also gains popularity among adults. There is a well-renowned competition for high school students in Japan, which is named as “The National High School Baseball Championship”. It takes place in summer and it is an annual nationwide high school baseball competition. If you are interested in baseball, remember to arrange a time watching this exciting tournament!

20111127_kousei_gakuin_high_school_baseball_club_at_meiji_jingu_stadium

ぽこ太郎 on Wikimedia Commons

9. Drinks are Always Served with Ice in Restaurants


Customers are served with a cup of tea and water before ordering food in a restaurant. Most of the restaurants in Japan provide customers with mugi-cha (“麦茶” wheat tea in Japanese) or water with ice added all year round whereas some even offer both! The reason for that is because the Japanese would like to express their gratitude to customers. They think it is impolite to provide customers with tea or water without ice. That is why ice is added in tea and water for customers.

photo-1

8. 5-yen Should Be Used for Worshipping in Shrines


When you pray in shrines, bear in mind that you should make good use of 5 yen coins as 5 yen has a special meaning. Based on its Japanese pronunciation, 5 yen (5), which is equivalent to “ご縁” (Go-en). “Go” is equivalent to a polite way of expressing “” whereas “” indicates bonding and relationships. Owing to this special meaning, people tend to use 5-yen when praying at shrines.

photo-2

5 yen or Go-en coin

7. 10-yen Donations Should Be Avoided in Shrines


10 yen (10) is pronounced as tōenとおえん” (“遠縁”) in Japanese, which symbolizes “no bonding with the kami” (“”, meaning “God” in Japanese). As a result, most Japanese tend not to use 10 yen when worshipping in a shrine. Apart from that, you can also opt for the amount with good meanings in Japanese. Japanese people also make use of 11 yen-the 2 ones in 11 when pronounced from their Japanese pronunciation, form the word ee ("いい") meaning “good” in Japanese-and 41 yen (41 in Japanese pronunciation meaning yoi ("よい") which also means good) in shrines.

photo-3

Two 10 yen coins or Tōen

6. Take Off Your Shoes Before Getting Into Someone’s House or Store Changing Rooms


Before entering other peoples homes or trying new clothes in the changing room of a clothing store, please always bear in mind that you have to take off your shoes beforehand. Just like the photo below.

photo-4

5. Wear a Face Mask When Trying on Clothes in Changing Rooms (Advice for the Ladies)


Not only should you take off your shoes before trying on new clothes in the changing room, the staff always reminds customers of wearing a face mask. Don’t worry, they are provided by the shops and you don’t have to bring one yourself. In order to prevent clothes from getting stained by cosmetics, it is very important that customers have to wear one before trying on clothes.

8157551528_90b10738a9_k

Sean McGrath on Flickr

4. There are a Number of TV Programmes Introducing Japanese Food


When you switch on the television in Japan, it is interesting to find out that most programmes are concerning latest and famous food items. Regularly, some TV channels even hold some snacks, ramen, and cooking competitions for food lovers to rank the best ones.

6284949595_61b582468f_b

kimubert on Flickr

3. You No Longer Have to Worry About Your Luggage!


When you go travelling, do you always have to think of somewhere to keep your luggage with you all day long before checking in or after checking out of the hotel? Nevertheless, if you are in Japan, you don’t have to worry about this anymore. Lockers are provided in every Japan Rail Station and even some shopping malls too! The prices for each locker vary, depending on their sizes. Stop lugging around that heavy portmanteau and get yourself a locker next time!

photo-5

2. Stamps Called Hanko are Used by Japanese When Confirming Documents


Instead of signing their names, Japanese tend to use hanko when confirming documents, especially for signing contracts. Hanko can be bought cheap in 100 yen shops. However, if you want some hankos of a higher quality, order one from the shops specializing in crafting them!

photo-6

Rack at 100 yen store with a wide selection of hanko stamps.
photo-7
Hankoyasan 21. A store specializing in handmade hanko stamps.

1. ATM


If you have a Japanese bank account, please always bear in mind that taking money before public holidays is very important. The main reason is that, people usually have to queue up when taking cash during holidays. And, you may have to pay tax other than handling fees when taking cash during after-hours, but it all hinges on the banks.

All and all, the aforementioned ones are solely some of the interesting things that you may not have discovered during your previous trip(s) in Japan. Pay attention to these and discover some new ones on your trip to Japan!

6816911147_ed91246aa1_b

MIKI Yoshihito on Flickr