A Local’s Guide to Osaka, Japan

osaka japan travel

Helpful Osaka Tips and Fun Facts

To make your trip to Osaka a breeze, here are some top tips from a local.

No Tipping

When dining in restaurants in Japan, it’s important to note that tipping is not a common practice. In fact, some waiters and business owners may even be offended if you try to leave them a tip. The reason behind this is that the Japanese take pride in delivering impeccable service and don’t feel the need to be rewarded for it. However, if you are joining a tour, it is always nice to leave a tip for your tour guide as a gesture of appreciation.

Convenience Stores + Vending Machines

One thing you’ll notice while exploring Osaka is that convenience stores and vending machines are found on every corner. If you decide to purchase something, avoid consuming it while walking. In Japan, it is considered polite to stop and enjoy your drink or snack before moving along. This is both a way to show respect for the cleanliness of the streets and to avoid making a mess. While it’s true that there is a lack of rubbish bins in Japan, you can usually find them near vending machines and convenience stores. So, if you eat and drink there, you have a designated place to dispose of your garbage.

Be Quiet on the Train

Trains in Japan, including those in Osaka, are known for their quiet atmosphere. It is important to be mindful of this and avoid any behaviors that may disturb others. This includes listening to loud music, talking loudly on your phone, or having loud conversations. In Japan, such actions are considered rude and disrespectful towards fellow passengers. So, remember to keep the volume down and embrace the tranquility of the train journey.

Try to Always Have Cash on You

While Japan is known for its technological advancements, it is still a country where cash is widely used. Unlike in other parts of the world where card payments are common, not all places in Japan accept credit or debit cards, especially international ones. It is best to always carry cash with you to ensure you can make purchases without any hassle. ATMs in Japan can also be quite old-school, and not all of them accept cards from different banks. The most reliable option for withdrawing cash is to visit a 7-Eleven store. These convenience stores are found on almost every street in Japan and have personalized ATMs in some train stations for your convenience.

Stick to the Right Side of the Sidewalk

When walking on the sidewalks and using escalators in Osaka, it is important to follow a different etiquette than in other cities in Japan. In Osaka, people walk and stand on the right side, while in other cities, it is customary to do so on the left side. The reason for this lies in the historical background of Osaka as the city of merchants and Tokyo as the city of samurais. It is said that samurais preferred to be approached from the left so they could draw their swords more easily, while merchants held their money in their right hand to protect themselves better from strangers. While this might be more of a rumor or a fun story rather than a concrete historical fact, it adds an interesting aspect to the cultural differences within Japan.

Osaka, with its vibrant culture, delicious food, and unique customs, offers a one-of-a-kind experience for travelers. By following these tips and respecting the local customs, you can make the most of your trip to this exciting city. Enjoy exploring the streets of Osaka, indulging in tasty street food, and immersing yourself in the rich history and traditions that make this city so special.

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