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Learn the Basics of Japanese Dining Etiquette

Every civilization throughout the world has different table manners. Some of these rules are opposite to what you thought, while others are so obscure you could break them by accident. Japanese culture is no different in having its own set of strict traditions at the dinner table. Whether you are having dinner in Tokyo or the local Japanese-American restaurant, you can learn proper etiquette and remain respectful towards the establishment.


Sushi is a classic example of Japanese food Haleiwa HI. You may enjoy it in various forms such as:

  • Nigiri
  • Norimaki
  • Gunkan
  • Inari
  • Temaki

Besides a couple of exceptions, you can eat them simply by using your hands or chopsticks to dip them in soy sauce. Carefully estimate the amount of sauce you will need when pouring it on your bowl since wasting it is considered rude. If possible, eat sushi in one bite and avoid accidentally breaking it apart by stabbing it with the chopsticks.


Another iconic Japanese meal is a warm bowl of noodles. You might enjoy it so much you might slurp during consumption. While this usually seems disruptive to other guests around you, it is actually a huge compliment in Japanese culture. There are also scientific studies that show slurping cools the noodles before eating them and enhances the overall flavor. Use the chopsticks to pick out the solid ingredients and drink the soup with a spoon or directly from the bowl.


Drinking is considered a social activity, so avoid it when dining alone. Just like in most social occasions, it is considered rude if you start drinking before everyone has their drinks for the salute. You and other guests are expected to serve each other, so be ready to offer refills if you see empty glasses. Once you are done drinking, leave your current glass half full to avoid refills.

Dining etiquette, especially from an unfamiliar culture, can be difficult to master. Learn about the customs and practice them constantly to avoid incidents and impress your companions.