Japan is well known for its etiquette, though as a visitor to Kyoto you are not expected to know everything. However, it does pay to familiarise yourself with a few of the main dos and don'ts.

  • Shoes Off You're required to remove your shoes at many of the city's temples, some museums and most ryokan, hotels and restaurants that have tatami-mat areas. Sometimes slippers are provided. Never wear shoes or slippers on tatami mats.
  • Temples & Shrines There is no dress code for religious sites in Kyoto but do remain respectful and speak quietly.
  • Queueing You'll see neat orderly queues formed when waiting for the bus, on the subway platform, at busy restaurants etc. Queue-jumping is a big no-no, so get in line.
  • Chopsticks Never leave them sticking upright in your bowl and never pass food from yours to another person's chopsticks; this is only done during funeral rituals.