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Golden Etiquette: Navigating Japan's Golden Week in Taito City, Tokyo

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2024.04.18 (Thu)

By Dan Lewis, inbound tourism adviser and consultant, long-term Japan resident, outdoor activity enthusiast and all-round pretty normal guy.

Late April and early May mark Japan's bustling holiday season, particularly in Taito City, Tokyo, where tourists flock to soak in the vibrant atmosphere and rich cultural experiences. However, with the influx of visitors, it's crucial for travelers to be mindful of local customs and etiquette to ensure a smooth and respectful journey.

First and foremost, making reservations for meals, accommodations, and transportation is paramount during this busy period. Understand that reservations may be automatically canceled if you're late, emphasizing the importance of punctuality. For those unable to secure reservations, be prepared for long queues and plan accordingly.

Smoking areas in Taito City are limited, reflecting a growing trend towards smoke-free environments. It's essential to adhere to designated smoking areas and respect local regulations. Additionally, due to the scarcity of public trash cans, visitors should carry a plastic bag for proper disposal of their waste—a simple yet crucial aspect of responsible tourism. For more information on smoking areas, please visit the following site: https://www.city.taito.lg.jp/kenchiku/machibika/kosyu/webmap.html

A few more notes regarding etiquette in Japan:
- Respect Japanese customs: Avoid touching items with food-contaminated hands and remember to properly stow away any food before entering establishments, and refrain from eating or drinking.
- Follow Izakaya customs like "otoshi" and observe toilet manners (flush only toilet paper).
- In restaurants and other eating establishments, choose items from restaurant menus instead of bringing outside food or drinks.
- Value punctuality: Arrive on time for reservations to avoid inconvenience.
- Be aware of photography restrictions and respect signage indicating prohibited zones.
- Practice queue etiquette: Avoid cutting in line, as it is considered impolite.

By embracing these etiquette guidelines, you can contribute to a harmonious and respectful environment in Taito City, making your Golden Week trip to Japan a truly golden experience.

Please note that between April 27 and May 6, the entire area is expected to be extremely crowded. As a result, waiting times may increase, so be sure to plan accordingly.

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