Traditions and Customs of Japan

Traditions and Customs of Japan

In Japan, they honor and cherish their national traditions no less than in England. What distinguishes the Japanese from the inhabitants of foggy Albion is the flexibility with which they adapt millennial customs to the modern way of life.


Cherry and sakura are practically the same thing. True, unlike European cherries, fragile sakura flowers do not bear fruit. Their flowering is fleeting, therefore it is especially valuable. During the blooming of the buds of this amazing tree, the whole country seems to be covered with pearl pink snow. The cherry blossom branch is a symbol of Japan. For decades, there has been a Hanami tradition in Japan – admiring the flowering of Japanese cherries. Even among Buddhist monks, the short life of sakura flowers evoked associations with the transience of life and the frailty of earthly sorrows and joys. Once upon a time, sakura was considered the last refuge of the souls of departed ancestors. Modern Japanese on the day of “hanami” arrange a kind of corporate parties: instead of increasing their capitalist happiness with hard work, they go to city parks with the whole team, where they sit down on the grass, under the shade of sakura. A light breeze showers soft pink petals on the heads and shoulders of the employees, who contemplate the fleeting miracle, reinforcing their strength with sake with rice sweets.


During its history, which has more than 2 millennia, the kimono has not lost its relevance for the Japanese. Moreover, fashion designers all over the world began to use the details of this national costume in their clothing models. It got to the point that we call silk robes of a free (or shapeless?) cut “kimono”. In fact, there are as many similarities between these things as between rice sushi prepared in the true traditions of Japan and “sushi” with mayonnaise in another domestic bar. In the wardrobe of modern Japanese, there are necessarily several types of kimonos. Some of them are worn only a few times in a lifetime, but there are events where, as customs dictate, you cannot attend without a kimono. A real authentic kimono set in Japan consists of at least 12 pieces of clothing. Dress in them a person can only with the help of a professional licensed dresser who knows how to wrap seven belts around the waist of a Japanese, and knows how to tie them into a magnificent bow resembling a bright butterfly. The dresser will never tie an obi (belt) in front, because in Japan only corrupt women – zeroro – do this. This professional knows that the kimono should only be wrapped on the right side (the kimono is tied on the left side of the deceased).
Kimono – a long semblance of a dressing gown – when cut out, it resembles the letter “T”. There is a wide variety of kimonos. Its details, such as colors, length and width of sleeves, can tell a lot about the age, status and occupation of a resident of Japan. So, for example, a black kimono with the image of a family coat of arms on the chest and sleeves – kurotomesode customs require mothers to wear to the wedding ceremony of their children. Embroidered along the entire length with outlandish flowers, birds of paradise and butterflies, furisode is worn by a girl on the day of majority, and, as required by the customs of Japan, wears it until marriage. The sleeves of this kimono are so wide and long that they resemble the attire of the Frog Princess, in which the lake overflowed from one sleeve, and swans flew out of the other. For a country walk or for a visit, a Japanese woman will put on a komon – a kimono made of lightweight fabric, with small pattern. According to tradition, the design of this national robe changes depending on the season. Branches of cherry blossoms in spring-summer clothes are replaced by the image of bamboo and falling maple leaves.


The traditions of Japanese poetry are as bizarre and unshakable as bonsai, the rules for writing hieroglyphs, or Japanese cooking. As well as possible, haiku reflects the spirit of Japan and the inner worldview of its inhabitants. Haiku is an integral part of the knowledge of the world, It involves immersion in a contemplated object or phenomenon, their laconic form makes the poet look for special means of verbal expression that can give a deep meaning to the three-line It was born from the folklore of Japanese peasants, and, like a gluttonous caterpillar, a beautiful a butterfly, an uncomplicated ditty gave rise to a perfect poetic form. The understatement and lyrical mood conveyed by haiku is intended to awaken the imagination and feelings of the reader. Hoku grants an unexpected insight after long and thoughtful reasoning. The customs of the tea ceremony include reading haiku, and the art of versification is taught to children in schools. According to tradition, a marriage proposal is accompanied by a haiku about love and relationships between a man and a woman. According to the Japanese tradition of writing haiku, it comes in 3, 5, and 17 lines. In order to understand at least a little the principle of Japanese versification, let’s try, in the form of a funny experiment, to shift the well-known children’s rhyme into haiku:

The son of a bull moves with an uneven gait. Take a deep breath – you can’t avoid falling, The mats are running out.


Almost everyone knows that the Japanese way of greeting is to bow. It is an integral and vital part of Japanese etiquette, all employees of various companies prepare to bow in the correct manner. The reason for worship is very important as they show respect to the opposite person. Thus, the practice of bowing while greeting should not be taken lightly. Curves informal and formal. While the general norm for men is to keep their arms at their sides, and lean forward from the waist, for girls it is the same with their hands on their knees, with their eyes downcast. Formal curves are deeper than informal curves. Shaking hands, sometimes combined with a bow, has now become a common practice in Japan, especially with outsiders and tourists. As a tourist, if you are responding to this greeting, one must bow not straight in order to avoid a collision with the opposite person. Any greeting must be dynamic, otherwise it is considered a rude tone.

Home Visit and Hospitality

When visiting a house in Japan, where an invitation is a great honor, it is polite to take off your shoes in front of the house so as not to stain the floors in the house. When shoes are removed, they are placed away from the front door. It is important to maintain foot hygiene, as foot odor is a gross departure from normal etiquette. If you wear open shoes, you should have a pair of white socks with you to put on when entering the house, this gesture shows concern for the host’s hospitality. The hosts usually provide slippers, but it is the responsibility of the guest to ensure their cleanliness. Hats and coats should be located near the open door of the house, and only after the guest leaves the premises of the house, the door of the house is closed. It is considered a polite sign to give a Gift in the paper bundle in which it was bought, and is given with both hands.

Traditions and Customs of Japan

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