Sitting upright on the floor is common in many situations in Japan. For example, meals are traditionally held on a tatami floor around a low table. Sitting on the floor is also customary during the tea ceremony and other traditional events.

The formal way of sitting for both genders is kneeling (seiza) as shown on the picture below. People who are not used to sit in seiza-style may become uncomfortable after a few minutes. Foreigners are not usually expected to be able to sit in seiza-style for a long time, and an increasing number of Japanese people themselves are not able to do so either.

In casual situations, men usually sit cross-legged, while women sit with both legs to one side. The former sitting style is traditionally considered exclusively male, while the latter is considered exclusively female.

Seating order

The most important guest sits on the honored seat (kamiza) which is located farthest from the entrance. In Japanese-style rooms with an alcove (tokonoma), the honored guest should be seated in front of the alcove, with his or her back towards the alcove. The host or least important person is supposed to sit next to the entrance (shimoza).