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Guide to Japanese Table Manners

In each country, one of the easiest cultures that foreigners can learn is “Table Manners,” especially in Japan which is called the top disciplined country in the world. The Japanese table manners are really important to Japanese people. In this article, we will introduce the etiquette and recommendations during the meal with the Japanese.

Guide to Japanese table manners are as follows:

Before Meals

Cleaning your hand with “Oshibori”

Most Japanese restaurants offer a wet hand towel or “Oshibori” to customers as soon as they entering the restaurant. Please remember that oshibori towel is only for hand cleaning. Do not bring to your face or other parts of your body.

Saying “Itadakimasu”

Itadakimasu (いただきます) means I am going to eat. This phrase is using for ask permission to start having a meal.

During Meals

Follow the “Japanese chopsticks manners” strictly

“Chopsticks” are the main tool in Japanese tableware. Therefore, the Japanese chopsticks manners are important for foreigners to know during a meal with Japanese people. The following lists are some etiquette for using Japanese chopsticks:

  • DO NOT moving your chopsticks and pointing them around while talking.
  • DO NOT hovering the chopsticks around the dishes while choosing delicious food.
  • DO NOT playing with the chopsticks.
  • DO NOT sharing your food from chopsticks to chopsticks.

Etc.

For more information | Do & Don’t using chopstick rules in Japan

Scoop the food from a share plate to your private plate before eating

In case you have to share food in a big plate with Japanese people, especially in Izakaya restaurant, the food should be divided and put into your private plate before eating. Do not scoop food from the share plate and eat it immediately.

Bring the private plate close to your mouth while eating

For preventing the food fall or spill from the chopsticks, bring the private plate close to your mouth while eating. Do not use hand instead.

Do not pour the sauce directly on your main dish

Most Japanese restaurants offer both small private plate and sauce cups. The good Japanese table etiquette is pour small amount of sauce into the sauce cups, and then dips your food into it. Do not pour the sauce directly on your main dish.

Finish your plate

To finish your plate is very important to Japanese people. If possible, you should eat it all every time!

Slurping Ramen

Slurping is the best ways to eat ramen in Japan because the louder you slurp the more you signal your enjoyment of ramen to the chef. You can also sip ramen broth directly from the bowl.

For more information | Ramen

Get a bowl of rice or soup with two hands

In Japan, to get a bowl of rice or soup from someone, you should receive it with two hands, then put it on the table once before continue eating.

After Meals

Place the chopsticks on the across direction of the bowl

When finish your meal, place the chopsticks in the top of the bowl in the across direction. It will imply to others that you are full.

Saying “Gochisousama deshita”

Gochisousama deshita (ごちそうさまでした) means thank you for a meal. Japanese people usually say this phrase after finishing their meal to chef or hosts.

Others

  • If there is a sitting sequence, follow it.
  • During the meals, do not get out of the seat if unnecessary.
  • Do not use cell phone while having a meal.
  • Always use a toothpick after the meals. While using, you have to use the hand shut your mouth and hurry to use as fast as possible.
  • Do not place things on the dining table, such as, cigarettes, cell phone, bag or wallet.
  • If possible, drink tea after a meal only.