A Complete Guide To Japanese Table Manners and Dining Etiquette

Dining Etiquette
There are many unique dining etiquettes

There are many manners and etiquette Japanese people follow while eating.

1. Don’t stab your food with chopsticks

Chopsticks are used for holding food rather than stabbing food like fork.

2. Slurping noodles is a sign to say you are enjoying

When eating soba, ramen, udon or other noodles, you should slurpand making slurping noise.

3. Don’t put elbow on the table while eating

When eating a meal, having elbow on the table shows disrespect to the food and people who have made the food.

4. Don’t cross your legs while eating

Similar to the above point, the body posture can represent how you feel about the food. Crossing your leg or stretching your leg while eating is regarded as rude posture while eating.

5. Don’t rest chopsticks on a bowl

This etiquette is not as serious as many Japanese people often do this, but traditionally you should not rest your chopsticks on top of your bowl or on the edge of a plate.

Put it on a chopstick rest or use the wrapper that came with chopstick to make your own.

6. Hold your rice bowl and miso soup bowl when eating Japanese meal

When you have a bowl of rice or a bowl of soup, hold the bowl with your hand and eat. If you’re right handed, hold the bowl with your left hand, and if you’re left handed, hold with your right.

7. Eat Japanese soup with chopsticks

It is a tradition in Western culture to use spoon to eat soup dishes. In Japan, if it’s a Japanese dish, such as miso soup or tonjiru, you use chopsticks to eat.

To drink the soup, you hold the soup bowl and drink directly from the bowl. Spoon can be used by kids or elders. When drinking western style food, Japanese people use spoon.

8. Don’t stand or walk while eating

There are many food stalls in matsuri festivals and people do often eat standing or walking. Traditional manner states that when eating you should be sitting down.

9. Don’t start until your guest start

If you are eating with a guest, you should wait until he/she start eating or drinking before you start.

This manner can also be applied to when dining with people who are older. You should wait until they start before you start.

10. Don’t pass food from chopstick to another chopstick

When passing food to someone, get your food with your chopstick and pass onto a plate, rather than passing to another person’s chopstick.

This manner is said to be originated from Buddhism, where chopstick to chopstick is used to pass things at the funeral. Therefore, you never pass food from chopstick to another chopstick.

11. ”Itadakimasu” and “Gochisosamadeshita”

Before eating and after eating, it is a tradition to say a word in Japan to thank the meal and people who were involved to produce the food.

Itadakimasu (いただきます) is said before eating.

Gochisosamadeshita (ごちそうさまでした) is said after eating.