Things not to do on a
Japan cultural vacation...
Japan is one of a few countries, including Norway and Iceland, which still hunts whales for eating, despite an international moratorium. So watch out for anything marked unesu or onomi on the menu as this is whalemeat.
There are many but, if possible, don’t ignore the rules of etiquette, although Japanese people are too polite to comment if you break a rule. It is still good to learn some of the classics. Such as when to bow, when to bring gifts (always!) and what to do in a public bath. Hugging, for example, isn’t a big thing in Japan. But a good vacation company will know all the faux pas. The best thing you can do is never be rude. Welcoming and helping people is core to Japanese culture.
Don’t do dolphinariums. Although many places in the world are waking up to the fact that dolphins or whales in captivity are just wrong on so many levels, they are still prolific in Japan. Watch the award-winning film, The Cove, before you go, for a wakeup call on this subject.
Geishas should not be misunderstood. First, they are not laid on for tourists, and second, they are not prostitutes. A very old and rapidly disappearing tradition, you’ll spot ‘maikos’ or ‘apprentices’ in the hanamichi (geisha quarters) of Kyoto and Tokyo.