By Asta Thrastardottir
Japan has a unique culture that has a very strict code of etiquette.
There are specific ways to eat noodles, good practices for accepting gifts, and certain rules to follow so that you avoid insulting a host.
This complex web of social rules and traditions can be overwhelming for those traveling to Japan, so we have compiled a list of some of the things that foreigners find most shocking when visiting the country.
Here are 11 customs you should know before traveling to Japan.
1. The number four is avoided at all cost.
In Japan, the number four is avoided because it sounds very similar to the word for death. In the same vein as the number 13 in Western culture, the number four is extremely unlucky and is used as little as possible. You must always avoid giving anyone something in fours since it can be seen as a very ominous gift.
Elevators will often be missing a fourth floor �" and in some extreme cases, they will not have the floors 40-49. The number 49 is especially unlucky, as it sounds similar to the phrase which means pain until death.
The practice of avoiding the number four is called Tetraphobia, and is common in many East Asian and Southeast Asian regions.
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