Japanese Table Manners: What NOT to Do When Eating Japanese Food

Japanese Table Manners: What NOT to Do When Eating Japanese Food


Japanese Cuisine is loved by people from all over the world. The outstanding elements are not only just the taste and the variety of ingredients, but also the Japanese table manners and culture.

If you are planning to visit Japan, or even a Japanese restaurant in your country and want to WOW Japanese people with your fantastic table manners, we’ve got you covered in this article!


Similar Contents

Japanese Train Manners: What Japanese People Want You To Know
Japanese Manners For Tourists: Avoid Being “That Tourist” in Japan
Hanamikoji Street: What NOT To Do When Geisha Spotting

Eating Japanese Food The Right Way


🍤 How to Eat Tempura (Deep Fried Dishes)

1.Put some grated radish in the dipping sauce.

When you order Tempura dishes, you will find that there is a small mountain of something white placed near the sauce. This is grounded radish. Use your chopstick to carry that small mountain of radish into your sauce and carefully mix it up!

2.Make bite-size pieces for pieces that are too big for one bite.

If the piece of Tempura is too big or too long, use your chopsticks to cut it into smaller pieces so that it is easier to dip in the sauce. This will make it easier to eat as well as make less mess! No one wants to see Tempura falling out of your mouth and splashing sauce everywhere.

3.Dip in the sauce or put a bit of salt on and enjoy!

Many people don’t know this but it is also delicious to dip your Tempura in plain salt! Instead of just dipping your Tempura in sauce, mix it up by dipping it in salt between bites!


🍣 How to Eat Sushi

1.Wait for the chef to put the sushi on your plate.

Wait patiently at your table until your sushi arrives on your plate. If you are at a conveyer belt style sushi restaurant, you can take a plate of sushi from the conveyer belt.

2.Turn the sushi over and dip only the topping in the soy sauce.

Many people make the mistake of dipping the rice part of the sushi into the dipping sauce. However, the right way of doing this is to dip only the top part of the sushi into the soy sauce.

3.Feel free to use your fingers to pick the sushi.

Don’t be shy to use your fingers! Using your fingers to eat sushi is actually the traditional and totally appropriate way! If you are not confident about your chopstick skills, feel free to use your fingers!


🍲 How to Eat Sukiyaki (Japanese Hot Pot With Sweet Soy Sauce Soup)

1.Break an egg into your bowl and beat it with chopsticks.

This egg is not to be put into your hot pot. However, it is for dipping your cooked hot pot meat and vegetables in!

2.Simmer some meat in the hot broth.

Use your chopsticks to simmer the thinly sliced meat in the Sukiyaki broth for around 20 seconds or so. Make sure the meat is thoroughly cooked but also don’t cook it too long!

3.Dip the meat in the egg and enjoy!

Yes, the egg is eaten raw and yes it is completely safe in Japan! The eggs served are fresh and safe to eat raw so don’t be afraid to try this and experience how great it tastes with the sweet and salty soy sauce! Yum!

Basic Japanese Table Manners

🍽️Dealing With Dishes


  • Use your chopsticks to cut the food into smaller pieces if it is too big to eat in one bite.
  • Hold the side of the dish with one of your hands to keep it from moving.
  • You may also lift the rice bowl up and bring it closer to your mouth instead of leaning down.
  • Hold the dish with one of your hands and then pick up your chopsticks.


  • Don’t lean forward to take a bite of your food.
  • Don’t hold food with your hands.
  • Don’t pile up the dishes. (Unless you are at a conveyer belt sushi restaurant)
  • Don’t use chopsticks to pull your dishes closer to you. Use your hands to pick the dishes up!

🥢Using Chopsticks


  • When sitting at a Japanese restaurant, you will notice a small chopstick holder placed near you. After or while eating, you should place your chopsticks on this holder instead of on the bowls.
  • If you are having trouble with your chopsticks, don’t be shy and feel free to ask for a fork!


  • Don’t pass food directly from one chopstick to another as this resembles part of a ceremony at a Japanese funeral. If you want to pass food to someone, use your chopsticks to place food on their bowl.
  • If you are a beginner at using chopsticks, you might be tempted to spear your chopstick through your food like a sword. However, this is considered bad manners. Just don’t do it.

🥣Drinking Soup


  • Unlike in other cultures, soup is consumed in Japan by drinking straight from the bowl instead of using a spoon. You can pick the bowl of soup up and just drink from it!


  • Soup is not ramen. Don’t make noise when sipping soup from the bowl.

Final Thoughts

How are these Japanese table manners different from the table manners in your culture? Let us know in the comments!

Latest Contents

KTIC Banner

Enjoy Kansai with KTIC
Tourist Information / PASS / WIFI / Day Tour
Kansai International Airport (KIX) T1
Open Everyday 9.30 – 17.30
Kyoto Tower 3F
Open Everyday 10.00 – 17.00


5 thoughts on “Japanese Table Manners: What NOT to Do When Eating Japanese Food

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *