alcohol in Japan

The Do’s and Don’ts of Drinking in Japan

Whether you’re sloshed, smashed, sh!thoused, hammered, lubricated or lit. Here’s some do’s   don’ts for enjoying a tipple in the Hakuba Valley and Japan. Cheers!

Japan alcohol

Japanese Sake

February 7th, 2020 | by Jared Kubokawa

Do have fun and enjoy yourself.

Do have a hangover cure before you drink (ukon no chikara).

Do say sumimasen (excuse me) to get the bartender or waiter’s attention—don’t worry it isn’t rude.

Do buy a pitcher or large bottle of beer and pour drinks for your friends in the bar, saying hai douzo.

Do order draft beer (nama biru) and toast together as a group before you drink, saying kanpai.

Do try different Japanese liquors such as umeshu (plum wine), sake and the classic Japanese highball.

Do buy an adult bevvy out of the vendo because it’s hilarious.

Do enjoy the great selection of craft beers brewed right here in Hakuba by the Hakuba Brewing Company.

Hakuba Brewing Company

Hakuba Brewing Company’s Selection

Do take a photo of the outside of your hotel or lodge so you know where to go home to (or can show someone).

Do take a business card (or a picture of the business card) for your accommodation so you can catch a cab home super easily.

Do go home at a decent hour to catch first tracks and save those yenjamins.

Do keep track of how many drinks you’ve had.

Do act cautiously with what you’re drinking and the alcohol content—one Strong Zero is basically two Red Bull and vodkas.

Do act respectfully and go outside to smoke—even if you don’t have to.

Sick as a dog

Sick as a dog

Don’t be a scumbag and sit outside the Lawson’s eating chicken and drinking Strongs, ever, full stop.

Don’t drink out of the bottle (or can) at a bar—ask for a glass…Japanese customs.

Don’t drink more than one or two Strong Zeroes—ethyl alcohol, caffeine and saccharin for a dollar can’t be good.

Don’t do anything that you wouldn’t do at home and considering Japanese culture—do even less.

Don’t drink your drink until everyone has their drinks and does a ‘cheers’ as a group.

Don’t take something that isn’t yours just because it isn’t nailed down.

Don’t steal someone’s jacket from the bar, ever, no matter what.

Don’t fall in ‘gaijin traps’ aka one meter deep street gutters covered in snow (urban tree wells).

Don’t urinate anywhere except in a toilet.

Don’t leave the hotel without a hat, gloves and a thick winter jacket.

Don’t forget to get the number of the taxi company before you leave the hotel.

Don’t leave empty cans and rubbish on the streets even if you can’t find a bin—put it in your pocket.

Don’t drop any street pizzas (puke)—keep yourself together.

The Japanese Conbini

The Japanese Conbini

Check out this video about Japanese nightlife from our friends at Abroad in Japan.

↓↓↓To watch the video click here↓↓↓

YouTube video

↑↑↑To watch the video click here↑↑↑

So, what do you think? What experiences have you had? We’d love to hear your fun stories and faux pas for drinking in Japan. Leave a reply below. Until we meet again, cheers!


Minasan, Kanpai! (everyone, cheers!)




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