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Japanese Table Manners

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Hold your bowl as you eatJapanese table manners are strictly followed in every household in Japan. Even the multi-cuisine restaurants in Japan have special Japanese seating where every table manner is followed not only to make dining easy, but also as a respect to the culture. Japanese table manners not only includes certain actions and gestures, but also topics to be discussed on table and quantity of food used. Some of the Japanese good manners can also be considered bad manners in western countries.



Though, many restaurants and even families have table-chair arrangements for their foreign guests, you may opt to dine on Japanese table for that authentic Japanese experience, in other words – Sushi and sashimi the Japanese way. However, before you express your curiosity and interest in Japanese dining style, you must know some basic etiquette to be followed on table.


Listed below are some of basic Japanese table manner, which will help you make your Japanese dining experience a pleasant one.


  • Before you begin the meal, you must say ‘Itadakimasu’ (I gratefully take) and you must say ‘Gochisosama’ (thank you for the meal), after you finish.
  • Talk in a low voice and choose your topics carefully. Any disturbing or unappetizing topics like toilets, crime or gory topics should be avoided.
  • Do not burp; it is considered impolite. If you cannot avoid, turn a little bit on the other side and later excuse yourself.
  • After eating, place you plates, chopsticks and bowls in their original position, i.e, from where you took them on table.
  • Finish your meal completely; leaving food half or wasting even one grain is considered humiliating.
  • While eating from a rice bowl hold the bowl close to your mouth and use chopstick to eat rice.
  • Traditional dishes like sushi are to be eaten one piece in a bite, therefore don’t break it. Different types of sushi and sashimi are eaten with various dips and sauces, ask you host, if you don’t know about the quantity of sauces used. Wasting soya sauce is also considered bad. White rice is not to be mixed with soya sauce, so don’t experiment. Sushi can be eaten with chopsticks or hand.
  • Don’t dip sushi completely in sauce, dip only the topping part. Because it might break creating a mess in the sauce plate.
  • Drink soup from the bowl directly without any spoon, during the process use both your hands to hold the bowl and rink slowly. You should use your chopstick to eat the solid piece in the soup.
  • There are certain dishes which are shared and you have to be careful while handling them. You should serve yourself the dish with minimal disturbance, that is, do not toss and turn the entire dish to find the best piece for yourself.
  • You should pick you helping from common plate by using the opposite end of your chopstick or a separate chopstick provided for the purpose. 
  • Surprisingly, you should make slurping noise while eating noodles, soba, somen or dishes like this. Unlike in western countries, making that sound denotes that you are enjoying your food.
  • You should not finish your soup in one go. It is considered good and polite to eat items alternatively.
  • If you are not comfortable using chopstick, inform your host and ask them to arrange for spoon before you start. Asking for spoon in between the meal is not polite as it disturbs the host.
  • While eating, place your chopstick on its holder or on your plate, do not keep it upright in the bowl.

World has always been curious about Japanese table manners, which reflect the Japanese culture and is followed by Japanese throughout the world. 

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Japanese Table Manners