Is It Ok to Eat and Walk in Japan?
Eating while walking in Japan is generally considered okay. There’s also no cultural relevance that prohibits people from eating while walking. As long as you are following TPO guidelines, you should be good.
While it’s okay to eat while eating, it’s not a common practice. Japanese people are mindful of having cleanliness and respect for public spaces. That’s why you might find people eating while sitting on park benches or seating areas in shopping centers instead. Nevertheless, it’s totally okay to eat while walking anywhere, though you need to take note that some stores might not allow eating while inside to avoid messing up with their displays or products.
If you wondering if there are any unspoken rules and cultural norms you need to be aware of as a tourist in Japan, there are some to keep in mind. Here are the important ones:
1. Bowing is a common way to greet and show respect here. When meeting someone, it is polite to bow slightly. Handshakes are also acceptable, especially in more casual situations.
2. Queuing is also another unspoken rule to observe like in many countries. Whether it's for public transportation, ticket counters, or entrances to attractions, make sure to queue in an orderly manner and wait for your turn. Cutting in line is considered rude.
3. Chopsticks should not be vertically placed in your food. This is done in a funeral ritual. Instead, rest them on a chopstick holder or the edge of your plate/bowl. Passing food directly from chopstick to chopstick is also considered impolite. Instead, transfer food directly to someone else's plate.
4. In places like homes, traditional restaurants, and temples, the standard is to take off your footwear and wear the slippers provided. Pay attention to signs showing where to remove your shoes and where the slippers should be worn. Remember to remove your shoes before stepping onto the tatami (traditional straw mats).
These are tiny details that will make a big difference to your time in Japan. After all, being respectful is one way to show appreciation to Japanese people.