5 Japanese Meal Etiquette Rules to Follow

Japan is truly a beautiful country. And equally beautiful (and delicious) is its food. It’s known to be the best in the world. The Japanese truly know their way around the kitchen, with their dexterous hands and amazing technique.

When you go to Japan, you will find that your culture doesn’t exactly belong. You have to follow their strict rules if you don’t want to get questioning stares.

Here are 10 dining etiquette rules to follow when eating in Japan.


1. Say “Itadakimasu” before you eat

This is a way of saying thank you. In a way it’s the Japanese form of prayer before meals. It literally means “I gratefully receive.” It many Japanese anime, you can see that the characters say this phrase enthusiastically before digging in their food.

2. Never pour your own drink.

You have to top up the glasses of people seated around you. This is a great message of sharing and selflessness when it comes to dining.

3. When drinking soup lift the bowl to your mouth and sip.

Yes, this is actually etiquette. You can get away with this in Japan, but definitely not in Europe or America. You’d risk being called uncultured. But in Japan, it is definitely the norm.


4. Never eat sushi in more than bite

You have to eat that thing whole, darling. Sushi is as small as they come so it’s not difficult. Challenge yourself and experience sushi the way it should be.

5. When dipping sushi in soy, turn it over so that only the meat touches the sauce.

You don’t want to taste just soy sauce when eating sushi. So flip that fish.