Japanese food cultures <Manners in eating Washoku (Japanese-style food)

Japanese food cultures <Manners in eating Washoku (Japanese-style food)

Each country has its own dining manners. In Japan too, there are certain things you need to follow in enjoying Washoku (Japanese-style food). Those followings are the basic manners which helps you dining in Japan.

Oshibori (Wet towel served at the beginning of a meal)

Oshibori is served for you to wipe your hands.  Refrain from wiping the table or your mouth with it.


The critical manner in enjoying Washoku mush be how to use and what not to do with chopsticks. There are many taboos in using chopsticks. You should never bring some food to your mouth by stabbing your chopsticks to it, or you cannot move around your chopsticks over the dishes hesitating which to pick. Moving chopsticks aimlessly from one place to another is no-no and you cannot have your chopsticks in your mouth not attended by your hands etc.. When putting down your chopsticks, make sure you don’t place it over a dish, but on a chopsticks resting piece.


Basically, you are supposed to hold the plate up in the air when eating things on it. If the dish is of a large place or something really heavy, first, take small portion of the food to your smaller plate, then eat the small portion holding the plate in your hands.

How to place the rid of the soup bowl

Take off the rid and place it on the table up-side-down. You often find seasonal drawings on inside the rid, so appreciate it before getting to the food. You should never put the rid with its inside downward, or you cannot place it tilted against the soup bowl. When you are done with the soup, put the rid back as how it was. If you place it little bit off the cup, it’s clear to the servant that you are don’t with the soup so it will be helpful.

How to eat large pieces of food 

If you find something large in front of you, try not to bring it to your mouth and bit off from it, but rather, tear it into small pieces and eat.

Grilled fish

First eat the upper half of the body above the backbone. Then, take out the backbone off to finish off the lower part. You should not flip the fish body to eat the lower half.


If you find something you cannot eat, let the staff know so they can take it away before it being touched. 

Express your appreciation at the end of the meal by saying “Gochiso-samadeshita”, “It was delicious” or “thank you.” etc..

David li

Male Chinese who works for major advertising agency in Tokyo. 15 years of living in Japan has made him an expert on various Japan related topics. He came to Japan after graduating from high school and now permanently settled in Japan. His hobby is to enjoy local cuisines while travelling around various parts of Japan. He has a personal goal of visiting all prefectures in the country and in the process of achieving it, enjoying trips and dining experiences in the nation on his off-days with his family.

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