Japanese Dining Etiquette
Practice proper food etiquette and your food experience will be more pleasurable.
We say “Itadakimasu” before every meal, a humble way of saying, to eat and receive, paying respects to the food and ingredients. The person/establishment who prepared the meal replies, “Douzo Omeshigari Kudasai” which means, “Please help yourself.”
Here are some tips on etiquette
- When eating sushi, put the whole piece in your mouth in one bite
- Go Easy on the Soy Sauce. Each piece of sushi is already seasoned & should be eaten just as it is served to you. If the chef wants you to dip it into a sauce, he or she will usually tell you so. In that case, dip just a small corner of the sushi into the sauce so that the flavor of the ingredients aren’t totally overpowered by the sauce.
- Hold your small bowl while eating, however, don’t hold the flat plates or large udon or ramen bowls
- Slurp while eating Miso Soup or any noodles. This is not mandatory, but good practice, & a compliments to the chef/taste
- Do not roll your noodles around with your chopsticks
- Rice on the left, soup on the right, always
- Eat quietly without opening your mouth & making noise
- Do not speak when food is in your mouth
- Do not use your h& like a plate to carry food to your mouth
- Do not stick chopsticks into rice or put them on a bowl. This is done when offering rice to someone who has passed away in Japanese culture.
- Use the chopstick rest for your chopsticks between dishes or when not in use
- Do not eat with elbows on the table, instead, eat with your elbows raised or place the h& without the chopsticks on the table with the tableware
- Do not burp
- Do not stack the plates that you have finished eating
- Do not make noise when you put the plate on the table
- Do not use your chopsticks to slide or pass any tableware
- Do not hold your chopsticks with both hands
- If you have difficulty carrying food, you can bring the plate to your mouth
- Of course, if you have difficulty using chopsticks, you may use a knife & fork
- Do not eat with the rice bowl on the table, hold the bowl in your hands & eat quietly
- Do not eat with your mouth in the rice bowl
- Do not pass food directly from your chopsticks to another person’s chopsticks – in Japan, when a person dies, the bones are passed from chopstick to chopstick. This is why it is not done with food
- Do not lick your chopsticks
- Do not swing your chopsticks around
- Do not stab food with your chopsticks
- Do not dig in a rice bowl to find a piece of food
- Oshibori – handwipes. Not for face, table or chopsticks
- No strong perfume! Wearing strong perfume can interfere with the aromas & flavors of the food & can detract from the experience for you & those around you. Especially at a counter-style restaurant where the chef is right next to you, it’s important not to disrupt the chef’s sense of smell
- Lastly, no leftovers!
After finishing a meal in Japan, Japanese people usually say the phrase ‘gochisosama deshita’ which is the Japanese way of saying thank you for the meal. If you feel like it, you can say this to the chef after the meal, although a simple thank you (arigato gozaimashita) is also perfectly acceptable.
‘Gochiso sama deshita’
We hope you enjoy your Japanese experience!