Etiquette to Be Aware of in Public Spaces in Japan When Starting a Business

【Koshida Accounting Firm Column Date:

Hi, my name is Taisei Koshida, and I am a certified public accountant and tax accountant.


I aim to assist non-Japanese business owners who need help with reading or writing in Japanese. If you find the Japanese tax return system challenging, I can help you with your tax filings.


If you are unclear about etiquette to be aware of in public spaces in Japan, you might find this blog helpful.





On Trains and Buses

Being quiet on trains and buses is a common courtesy in Japan. Conversations, if any, are usually held in low tones. Except for express trains, eating and drinking are generally considered impolite.


In Restaurants

Speaking loudly or causing a disturbance is considered discourteous in restaurants. Furthermore, as there is no tipping culture in Japan, and staff might not always keep an eye on customers, it is not considered rude to raise your hand to get a server’s attention.


Inside An Elevator

In Japan, it’s generally considered impolite to hold conversations inside an elevator. Unlike in some cultures, there’s no prevalent ‘ladies first’ custom, so it’s not typical to prioritize women. However, it’s common for the person standing near the buttons to ask newcomers which floor they need. It’s also often seen for the person standing near the buttons to wait while others exit the elevator.



Our accounting and tax office has been actively assisting foreign business owners in Japan with accounting and tax matters. Also, not only in the tax and accounting field, our office can support your business in Japan in the fields of visa, registration, social insurance, and law by networking with specialists. Plus, we have networked with specialists in web marketing, building websites, and business consulting suitable for Japanese customers. All services are provided in English. Please feel free to reach out to us through the inquiry form.