I have written about the rules that govern Japan a few times, and I’m sure many think Japan is some insane country with a long list of laws. This has probably led a few readers to wonder just how strict Japan really is? Are there cops everywhere, enforcing every little social construct? Relax, it isn’t that intense.
Japan is known for its rules, things you should or shouldn’t do. Don’t tip! Stay off your phone on a train! Walk on this side of the road! All are little things that nearly everyone does but while you should try to follow along, these are not hard set rules that will get you in trouble with the police.
Instead, these are little things that the Japanese do throughout their daily routines, most without even thinking about that help keep some kind of order to the hustle and bustle of this lovely country and its insane cities like Tokyo. They aren’t hard set rules, in fact, you will see plenty of folks breaking many that are listed by nearly every travel blog out there. If you see a guy jaywalking, the police aren’t going to pop out of the ground and arrest him (although that would be fun to watch).
The worst thing that may happen is either a person will correct you (just try entering a store that requires you to take your shoes off, just see what happens) or they will simply stare at you with some kind of disgust which is not terrible, but awkward and not much fun if you are just trying to mind your own business.
So don’t stress over all of these unwritten rules, they are not some hard set of laws that by slightly breaking you are going to get into some kind of trouble. Enjoy your time visiting Japan and don’t lose sleep with all of the rules, just watch and see and you will see how people go about their days.