For the average tourist on hoilday, business cards are not required, at all. They may be useful to exchange contact details with people you meet, although in casual settings these days, it is more common to keep contact details on smartphones instead of exchanging business cards.
However, if you are visiting Japan on business, it is important to bring your business cards. Cards are usually exchanged during the introductions before the meeting. Make sure you bring enough business cards for your stay in Japan. Below is a guideline for exchanging business cards in Japan:
- Make sure that your business card holder is out, and the cards inside are easily accessible.
- Stand up and face the other person with your business card out and ready.
- Your business card should face the other person, i.e. they should be able to read it without the need of rotating or turning them.
- Bow slightly as you say your name and present your business card.
- Use two hands to pass your business card to the other person and when receiving the other person's card. At the moment of exchange, pass your card using your right hand and receive the other person's card with your left, before holding their card with both hands.
- Take a moment to inspect the business card.
- Put the received business cards into your card holder, or if continuing to a meeting in the same place, put the cards neatly on the table in front of you. It is common practice to line the business cards on the table in order of seating arrangement so that it is easy to remember names.
- Do not take notes on other people's business cards or put their cards into your pant pockets in front of other people.