Japanese Food and Dining Etiquette – What You Need to Know

The Japanese culture is rich in history and traditions and includes proper etiquettes for almost every occasion. Meals are no exception here. If you are unaware of the cultural differences, dining can be intimately awkward. Yes! You can always play the "I'm an outsider card," but it's best if you're able to tackle these situations without having an eyebrow raised towards you. While we want you to enjoy the traditional cuisine however you wish, a few dining etiquettes will surely help you to enjoy your food during your time at a Japanese restaurant. It will also help you from committing some of these mistakes that have been discussed below.

Dining Etiquettes Will Surely Help You To Enjoy Your Food

Chopsticks Usage

As per Japanese traditions, you describe table manners by how you use your chopsticks. First of all, you should make sure they are not held vertically in the bowl, as it is considered as a bad omen. Apart from this, you should also avoid pointing it towards someone or at a dish on your table. While dining, you must avoid transferring food to another person’s chopsticks with your own. If required, directly place it on their plate.


Always beverages to your guests at the table before having some of your own. In fact, you should only have your drink after everyone at the table raises a toast. Both men and women should always place their hands beneath the glass when drinking. For alcoholic beverages as well, the traditional method involves serving others instead of yourself. If you find yourself more intoxicated than necessary, leaving your glass half empty would be the right thing to do. The etiquette, as such, suggests pouring only in an empty glass.

Do Not Drink Soup

The basic rule to devour this dish is using your chopsticks, instead of a spoon. As per Japanese dining culture, slurping noodles shows a sign of acknowledgement towards the dish. They believe that inhaling the air while eating the soup, enhances the overall flavor. When consuming your soup, you can drink the broth directly from the bowl, but you should consume the remaining solid pieces with your chopsticks.

Follow the Order

Experts in sushi will tell you that there's a specific sequence to follow to enjoy your sushi thoroughly. Ideally, every Japanese restaurant has a rule where you should always start with the lightest flavors and gradually shift towards the bolder ones. You should ideally begin with dishes that include whitefish and slowly eat your way towards heavier items on the table. Every Japanese restaurant serves pickled ginger, which is a palate cleanser. It is not to be eaten along with your sushi.

You Should Altogether Avoid Mixing Wasabi With The Soya Sauce

Condiments Usage

Add only a small dash of wasabi, soy sauce, or fish sauce while eating sushi. If at all you decide to dip your sushi directly in the sauce, it should be towards the fish and not where the rice patty lays. Moreover, you should altogether avoid mixing wasabi with the soya sauce.