Espunis in Japan

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Home » CURIOSITIES » Did you know? » Smoking in Japan

Smoking in Japan

Did you know that smoking on the streets is not allowed in Japan? However, unlike many other places, you can actually smoke in some bars and restaurants.

You’ll often find “no smoking” signs everywhere – on posters, walls, and even painted on pavements as you walk around. So, if you fancy a smoke in Japan, you’ll need to keep an eye out for designated “smoking areas”. These are usually easy to spot, as they’re often outdoor booths with clear signage.

Cabinas al aire libre en Japón
Outdoor booths

However, there are also some smoking areas that aren’t as clearly marked or not marked at all. Instead of the typical booths, you might see an ashtray next to a convenience store or a local establishment, tucked away on the pavement. Sometimes, these ashtrays can be a bit tricky to find, so keep your eyes peeled!

Zonas para fumadores no señalizadas en Japón
Non-signposted smoking areas

Keep an eye on your surroundings while you’re out and about. If you don’t want to overcomplicate things, there are handy apps that can help you find smoking areas, such as “Smoking area“, which is pretty much a Google Maps for smokers.

These spots are marked on the map, and as you move around, the app keeps track of your location. Tapping on a specific area’s icon reveals various details (like whether it’s outdoors, part of a local establishment, if they sell tobacco or drinks, or if only e-cigarettes are allowed), as well as people’s comments (usually in English or Japanese) and photos (not always) to help you decide if it’s the right spot for you.

Sometimes, there’s no information other than the area’s name (for local establishments), which can be a bit tricky if you don’t know Japanese. You might spend ages searching for it, only to realise it was right in front of you the whole time – all you had to do was open the door 😅 !

You can also add new locations that aren’t marked or edit existing ones to provide further instructions or photos.

APP Smoking Area Japan
APP Smoking Area

So, yes, you can smoke in Japan, but only in designated areas. If you smoke outside of these spots, you could be fined, so it’s best to play it safe.

It’s worth noting that some places in Japan are more relaxed about smoking rules than others. For instance, in Osaka, you might get away with smoking in an area that’s not marked as a smoking area without anyone saying anything. However, it’s important to remember that respecting others is a top priority in Japan. So, if you’re going to smoke, it’s best to stick to the designated smoking areas. It’s always a good idea to be mindful of the local customs and rules 😉