notes on etiquette

In general, there is a strict protocol and structure to playing golf in Japan. This is not a country where you throw your bag over your shoulder and walk nine holes after work, but some rules can actually give you freedom and enjoyable memories in Japan. We can offer the following advice to golf adventurers travelling to Japan from overseas.

Play with long pants

play with long pants

Golf at a private course basically requires long pants. In Japan, summers tend to be hot and humid and it would be nice to wear shorts, but some private clubs require knee-high socks if you wear shorts. Winters are short and cold in most of the western Japan area.

Wear a jacket when you arrive

wear a jacket when you arrive

Like at many exclusive private clubs around the world, the proper protocol when arriving at a private Japanese club is to wear a jacket, except for the hot summer season (mostly July,August and September).

Arrive ON TIME

arrive on time

Do not arrive late. Japanese society is very strict with time. For example, in Japan, trains always arrive on time. If a train is even one minute late, you will hear announcements immediately. In front of the golf club entrance, there will be a few staff members waiting for you to drop off your golf bags. They will bring your golf bags to a cart and set them up for you.

Check in

check in

Upon entering the club house, like checking in at a hotel you should first go to the reception area. You will be given a little card holder and a numbered locker key. If you want to buy something in the pro-shop or halfway shop, you sign the note with your assigned number,and everything will be charged to the card. Before you leave, you settle the bill. As with most payments in Japan, credit cards are accepted.

Special golf carts

special golf carts

In most Japanese golf courses, driving a golf cart on the fairway is prohibited. The only area where you can drive is the designated cart path. Most of golf carts are electric and remote controlled. It is usually necessary to bring a few clubs with you when you go to hit your ball while on the course. It may be inconvenient to go to your ball and then walk all of the way back to the cart to get the right club each time. Also, it is becoming common to have a GPS navigation system loaded in each cart that also allows you to keep your score.

Lunch Break

lunch break

After you play the front 9, it is usually the custom to have lunch for 40 to 50 minutes. Golf club menus typically have a wide range of choices, including Japanese or Western style meals for hungry golfers. Course staff will give you the starting time for the back 9.

Taking a Bath at the “Ofuro”

taking a bath at the “ofuro”

After you play the back 9 you can use a public bath, called an Ofuro, in the club house.There are usually a dozen or so shower heads installed along the walls. Towels, soap and shampoo are provided, so there is no need to bring your own. In Japan, complete nudity is mandatory. ―men and women separated of course.―



Whenever you ready to leave, you can go to the reception area to check out. You will then pay the total amount owed for the day. Some golf courses have machines to handle these payments. Golfers who traveled by car can bring their car to the entrance area and give the staff their number plate in exchange for their golf bags.

Tips on how to Play Golf in Japan.