Japanese Culture, Mindfulness, Zen Buddhism

Daily Japanese Habits To Make Life Better!

Allow me to share with you some simple yet deeply meaningful Japanese habits that have significantly shaped my life, harmonizing beautifully with Zen Buddhist principles. Many of these insights, gained from my Japanese wife, offer a unique perspective on how everyday practices can be transformed into acts of mindfulness, balance, and harmony.

In Zen, every action, no matter how seemingly small, is an opportunity for mindfulness and a deeper connection with our surroundings. These habits are more than just routines; they are transformative rituals that turn everyday moments into lessons of clarity and insight. 

In this article, I’m excited to share with you ten daily habits that will definitely make your life better and happier!

10 Japanese Habits to Improve Your Life

Here’s a list of 10 habits, inspired by Japanese culture and Zen Buddhism, that you can easily apply in your daily life. These practices are not just about mindfulness; they’re about bringing more joy, balance, and serenity into your everyday routine. Give them a try and see the positive changes they can bring!

1. Fix Your Shoes

Embracing Kutsu no Seiri, the meticulous care of shoes, is an exercise in mindfulness and respect, a principle at the heart of Zen Buddhism. This practice of cleaning, repairing, and organizing your footwear nurtures an attitude of attentiveness and appreciation for the everyday objects in your life. It’s a ritual that brings order and a sense of pride to your living space, reflecting the Zen value of respecting and caring for everything.


  • Promotes mindfulness and respect for personal belongings.
  • Encourages a tidy and harmonious living environment.
  • Enhances the longevity and functionality of footwear.
  • Cultivates a disciplined and intentional approach to daily routines.

2. Clean Your Place

Osōji, the Zen art of cleaning, is not just about physical cleanliness but creating a space that reflects inner calmness and balance. This ritualistic cleaning fosters a peaceful home environment, which is essential for reducing stress and promoting mental clarity. In Zen, every action, including cleaning, is a form of meditation and a path to mindfulness.


  • Fosters a serene and mindful living environment.
  • Reduces stress and enhances mental clarity.
  • Encourages a disciplined and orderly approach to life.
  • Reflects Zen values of simplicity and harmony.

3. Make Your Bed

The practice of making your bed each morning, Shinrai, is a Zen ritual signifying a fresh start and setting intentions for the day. It’s a form of mindfulness and a way to learn to be fully present in simple tasks. At the same time, it helps you take care of your personal space. This habit symbolizes the Zen principle of attention to detail and living each moment with intention.


  • Sets a positive, mindful tone for the day.
  • Promotes a neat and orderly personal space.
  • Symbolizes a fresh beginning, reflecting Zen renewal.
  • Cultivates discipline and attention to detail.

4. Eat Until 80% Full

The practice of eating until only 80% full, Hara Hachi Bun Me, embodies Zen teachings of moderation and mindfulness. It encourages eating with intention and awareness, fostering a deeper connection with food and appreciating its nourishment. This approach aligns with the Zen philosophy of understanding and respecting the body’s needs.


  • Promotes mindful eating, key in Zen practice.
  • Encourages moderation and bodily awareness.
  • Enhances appreciation for food’s nourishment.
  • Supports physical health, in line with Zen care for the body.

5. Gratitude Before and After Meals

Expressing gratitude before and after meals, Kansha no Jikan, is a Zen practice of mindfulness and interconnectedness. This ritual of giving thanks acknowledges the effort and resources contributing to each meal, fostering a deep appreciation and connection to the world, a core aspect of Zen philosophy.


  • Encourages mindfulness and presence during meals.
  • Fosters a sense of connection and appreciation for nature.
  • Enhances meal experience through conscious acknowledgment.
  • Aligns with Zen teachings on gratitude and interconnectedness.

6. Take a Hot Bath at Night 

The Japanese tradition of Yokuyoku, taking a hot bath at night, aligns with Zen practices of purification and relaxation. This nightly ritual is not just about physical cleanliness; it’s a form of self-care that calms the mind and prepares the body for rest. It embodies the Zen principle of caring for the body as a temple and embracing moments of peace.


  • Promotes relaxation and mental tranquility.
  • Prepares the body and mind for restful sleep.
  • Acts as a form of physical and spiritual purification.
  • Reflects the Zen practice of caring for the body.

7. Walk More

In Japanese culture, walking frequently, known as Arukiōi, is a common practice and have numerous health benefits. This habit is more than just physical activity; it’s also a form of meditative movement, allowing for reflection and a break from daily life’s pace. Walking through diverse environments, especially natural landscapes, offers a moment of mindfulness and a deeper connection with the surroundings.


  • Enhances physical health and well-being.
  • Promotes mindfulness and connection with nature.
  • Serves as a meditative practice in daily life.
  • Encourages a deeper appreciation of the present moment.

8. Cultivate Deep Relationships

Kankei no Fukyū, cultivating deep relationships, is central to Zen philosophy. It’s about building and maintaining strong, meaningful connections with others, reflecting interdependence and compassion. This practice is a form of mindfulness in relationships, appreciating and nurturing the bonds that connect us. Cultivating meaningful relationships also have a strong influence on one’s physical health.


  • Fosters a sense of community and interconnectedness.
  • Encourages compassion and empathy.
  • Enhances emotional support, well-being and physical health.
  • Reflects Zen values of compassion and mindfulness in relationships.

9. Enjoy a Cup of Green Tea

The habit of Ryokucha no Jikan, enjoying a cup of green tea, is deeply rooted in Zen tradition. This practice is more than a beverage choice; it’s a moment of calm and mindfulness. Preparing and savoring green tea is meditative, embracing the Zen principles of simplicity and being present in the moment.


  • Provides a calming, mindful break in the day.
  • Offers health benefits from the antioxidants in green tea.
  • Serves as a ritual of simplicity and presence.
  • Aligns with Zen practices of mindfulness and reflection.

10. Avoid Waste

Mottainai, the principle of avoiding waste, resonates deeply with Zen teachings on respect for resources and mindfulness in consumption. This habit involves being mindful of how we use resources, appreciating their value, and minimizing waste. It’s a practice of conscious living, reflecting the Zen ethos of living in harmony with nature and valuing what we have.


  • Encourages mindful consumption and resource use.
  • Fosters a deeper appreciation for the environment.
  • Promotes sustainable living practices.
  • Aligns with Zen principles of harmony and mindfulness.


By adopting these simple Japanese habits, we’re not just stepping into a world of mindfulness and Zen teachings but also unlocking a happier, more joyful way of living. 

Each habit is a small step towards a more balanced and enriched life, sprinkling some Zen magic into our daily routines. As you try these practices, notice the little joys and the calm they bring into your life. 

So, why not give them a go and embrace this happier, healthier way of living together, one mindful step at a time!