What to Remember When Visiting Japanese Homes | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

What to Remember When Visiting Japanese Homes

By Guidable Writers Aug 25, 2017

This post is also available in: Vietnamese

One of these days you may very well receive an invitation from some of your Japanese friends to visit their homes. It is an opportunity for you to get to know your friends better, as well as to learn more about the Japanese culture.


What are the things you should keep in mind when you get invited to visit a Japanese home?

Guidable lists down a few reminders below.


1. Come on time and don’t be late

You already know that Japanese people are very particular about punctuality, so make sure you arrive not too early and not too late, but on time. When you find yourself caught in a situation where you will mostly likely be running late, make sure to call and inform your host ahead of time.


2. Don’t bring someone else unless invited to do so

Unless you inform your host beforehand and your host agrees that you can bring someone else with you, avoid inviting or bringing others along. In Japan, letting someone else tag along unannounced is considered disrespectful. Please consider the inconvenience it will cause to your host, and your uninvited guest, for that matter.


3. Bring a gift

“Kore tsumaranai mono desu ga, douzo” means “it’s nothing special but here’s a little something for you”, and you can say this when you hand your gift to your host. Like in many countries, bringing a small gift, or omiyage, when visiting a Japanese home for the first time is greatly appreciated. The gift doesn’t have to be expensive as long as it is heartfelt.


4. Don’t forget to inform about your arrival

“Ojama shimasu” means “sorry for disturbing you”, and this is what you can tell your hosts as soon as you arrive. This greeting shows that you are grateful for the efforts your hosts have made to accommodate you in their home. Don’t forget to introduce yourself to the people who welcome you at the genkan (entryway) if you don’t already know them.


5. Take off your shoes

Remove your shoes at the genkan and make sure to arrange your shoes facing toward the outside. Make sure to wear socks or stockings when visiting, and when a pair of slippers is available, wear them while you’re inside the home.


6. Don’t sit down until you are invited to

Remember that some of your host’s family members may have their own special seats, so to avoid sitting in someone else’s spot, wait until your host invites you to take a seat. You can also ask politely where you should sit.    


7. Express gratitude over meals

You will most likely stay for meals, so make sure to express gratitude to your hosts. Your simple appreciation of the food prepared means a lot to them. Let them know how much you are enjoying your meal. Also, don’t hesitate to offer to help with clearing the table and washing the dishes. Your host will most likely tell you not to worry about it, but it’s a polite gesture that your host will surely appreciate.



Your host will surely work to make you feel comfortable during your stay, but avoid acting too comfortable. Don’t forget to show that you are well-mannered, and that you understand the fact that you are intruding in someone else’s home.