When traveling to a new country, it’s always best to be informed beforehand of the general cultural mannerisms of that particular destination. But it’s obviously impossible to understand everything, especially when visiting a country with a high-context culture like Japan where even the natives often get confused with their rules of social etiquette.

That’s why Japanese facilities have been utilizing icons and pictograms to teach the many rules and mannerisms to foreign visitors. These pictograms ensure that travelers can comfortably enjoy their visit without being paranoid about whether they’re being unintentionally rude, and make it easier for local businesses to convey what kind of services they can offer their customers.

Trying to make this kind of communication smooth and entertaining for everyone is Iwate Prefecture’s samurai pictograms, a series of informative icons that are available for free for facilities in Japan to use. They take the pain out of getting familiar with all the rules, and help overcome the language barrier when trying to give simple information.

At the onsen (hot springs)

At restaurants

At airports, hotels, and other facilities

There are more downloadable samurai pictograms online, so even if you’re not running a local business in Japan, take a look for an entertaining mini-lesson on Japanese etiquette!

By - grape Japan editorial staff.