Japan, a smoker’s paradise?

日本にほんの  たくさんの  地域ちいきでは、あるきながらの  タバコは、禁止きんしされています。

レストランや  カフェでは  喫煙きつえん スペースで  自由じゆうに  タバコが え  ますが、一歩いっぽ そとに  ると  タバコは  えません。

喫煙きつえんしゃが  バーの  そとに  あつまる光景こうけいが  普通ふつうな ほか の くにとは  ぎゃくです。

もし  あなたが、タバコの  においを  けたいなら・・・  東京とうきょうが  オススメです!

You might have heard that Japan is regarded as a smoker’s paradise, and there are good reasons for that. While most countries have made strides in the last few decades towards curbing smoking, Japan doesn’t seem too fussed.

In many Western countries, smoking in public enclosed spaces such as restaurants and cafés is strictly prohibited. This is not the case in Japan, where it is perfectly common to discover a nice little café around the corner, only to step in and be welcome by a cloud of smoke. The Japanese word for café, 喫茶店きっさてん(kissaten) includes the kanji 喫, which means to smoke, so the concept of enjoying a coffee and a cigarette are deeply entrenched. The more modern カフェ (literally “café”) is what you need to look for is you want to avoid the smoke. These “cafés” tend to refer to chains, such as Starbucks or the local Doutor. They are mostly smoke free, or at least will have separate smoking areas.

When it comes to restaurants, most big chains will also have smoking and non-smoking areas, though these are sometimes nothing more than a partition and don’t do a good job at stopping the tobacco smell from spreading. More big chains are going smoke free these days, so there is progress being made.

One thing that visitors might find interesting is that it is actually not allowed to smoke while walking outside in many areas in Japan. So while you can freely smoke indoors in many local restaurants and cafés, you’ll have to stop once you step outside, a polar opposite from laws in other countries, where the sight of smokers gathering outside bars is common. So, if you don’t smoke, at least you won’t have to worry about it when you’re walking around. If you do, there are designated smoking areas on the street.

Things are changing slowly now due to the Tokyo Olympics. The Olympic Committee is putting pressure on Japan to change its laws and have a smoke free Olympics. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is trying to ban smoking in restaurants that hire employees (one-person businesses will still be exempt). So if you want to avoid the smell of tobacco and live or are visiting Tokyo, you’re in luck. Just remember things might change when you take a 20 minute train ride to Yokohama!


Hi, I’m Sergio.
I’m from Spain, lived in the UK for seven years and came to Japan in 2012.
I majored in journalism in London and have been teaching English in Tokyo.
I like traveling, cycling, photography, movies, and spending time with friends.
I wrote articles about life in Japan as a foreigner and anything that I might find interesting.
My email is ” sergio.dom.jpn@gmail.com “, by all means contact me about anything!


Related links:
The struggle with credit cards in Japan
What you should know about train etiquette in Japan
Is the Japanese spoken by foreigners interesting? Do you understand?


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