What impresses foreign visitors about Japan

December 31st, 2011By Category: Culture

Foreign people who have been Japan have various impressions — both positive and negative. An article  in Madame Riri lists some of the positive things that visitors had to say about Japan.

1. Japanese are kind

Many foreign people who have been Japan say that Japanese people are kind and happy to help them when they get lost or are confused about how much something costs, and so on. In contrast, in Western countries, people are wary of strangers. Madame Riri theorizes that Japanese people’s kindness comes from a greater sense of public security.

 2. Japanese are serious and hard workers

 One of the stereotypes that foreigners have of Japanese people is that they are serious and hard workers. This notion comes from the long working hours probably. However, visitors are impressed at Japanese people’s ambition to enrol in classes after work to learn something, or study a foreign language as a hobby. Japanese people work diligently and apologize immediately if something goes wrong.

 3. Japanese are reliable

Japanese people have a reputation for being reliable as business partners. Foreign people highly evaluate Japanese people’s work attitude, responsibility, adherence to deadlines and promises. Also, the trains and other transport facilities can be counted on to arrive on time.

 4. Japanese are considerate

Many foreign people are impressed that Japanese people show consideration for others. This is especially so in the hospitality industry, for example, receiving “oshibori” (small damp towels for the face and hands), or being given yukata (informal cotton kimono) at ryokan (Japanese style inns). This epitomizes Japanese service for many foreigners.

 5. Japanese keep a low profile

Japanese people are humble. While the Japanese mentality may be difficult to understand for people from other countries, the humbleness is one virtue that foreign people love about Japanese.

Author of this article


GaijinPot is an online community for foreigners living in Japan, providing information on everything you need to know about enjoying life here, from finding a job and accommodation to having fun.

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  • Rnagle says:

    I thought this article was going to be about literal things that impress foriegners. Such as fancy toilets, abundance of vending machines, hot can coffee, or Takeshita Dori, etc. Not Japanese ‘traits’ that impress foreigners. A fine article, but I would like to read the sort of things I mentioned as well. 

  • Alianzista says:

    all of these things are just in their everyday society. At most times it’s just a natural mechanism. It does not mean they are genuinely kind of respectful or helpful, it’s just how their society work. I am not saying they are all like that, but most times it’s just how they all function in normal Japanese soceity. Which it sometimes makes you wonder….. are they actions genuinely real?!?!

  • Epistolary says:

    Those are pretty much the main points, although you miss one which is crucial: cultural depth and seriousness towards culture.  The Japanese not only prove their seriousness towards their own culture, but also highly value other peoples’ cultures.  This makes Japan one of the most enriching places to go be.