ALL AROUND THE WORLDGood manner tips: Japan

Good manner tips: Japan

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do” and when in Japan we cannot but marvel at this beautiful country and it’s equally beautiful traditions.

Some of them are dating back to centuries ago but its present modern day culture and customs 

The Japanese are renowned for their attention and detail to formal hospitality, both at the table and in their everyday life and practices.   The etiquette of this fascinating culture are incredibly complex and also very easy to misinterpret, which may lead to many a faux pas. 

But don’t worry! the Japanese are so  kind and hospitable, to turn a blind eye to the many guests who are not familiar with their ways.

In order to  better enjoy our time around a Japanese table, we recommend you to have a good look at the basics of their etiquette to understand how things are done in Japan.   

Good manner tips: Japan4

Those shoes must come off as soon as we step inside a Japanese home.  There is no two ways about it, so do make sure you are wearing presentable socks, preferably with no holes in sight!

When it comes to first introductions, the bow would be the preferred way of saying hello.

The gradation of the bow should ideally depend on the status of the person you are bowing to. We understand that it may become a bit too complicated, so let’s just stick to a plain easy bow which will definitely be appreciated!

If a bow is still too tricky for you, then a light handshake is in order. 

Kisses, hugs and other gestures of affection are frowned upon.

We should steer well clear of such, since it would only bring on embarrassment or discomfort.

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japan tips

The Japanese are all about moderation so do keep in mind to lower your tone and speak softly, listen and limit gesticulations (this one is for the Italians out there!).

No loud laughter which is considered vulgar and most importantly. Remember not to monopolize the conversation, although you might feel you want to contribute to a particular subject you have at heart.

With that in mind, there is not much that can go wrong!


The term for chopsticks in Japanese is “hashi “. 

The Japanese might be impressed if you let on that you are familiar with the proper name of chopsticks and more importantly, know how to use them!  

Chopsticks come with their own specific rules for use, a mixture of good manners with a dose of superstition.

You should use hash to eat most types of typical Japanese dishes. Forks and knives, are only used for Western dishes. Spoons are also common especially when it comes to traditional soupy dishes like donburi or Japanese-style curry rice.

So let us start by asking ourselves, where should we lay our hashi  when we are not using them?

The answer is: on the hashi-holder of course and nowhere else!

Definitely not on the table!

food tips

Another rule to keep in mind is to take food from serving plates with the very end of the chopsticks and not the slender ends that go into the mouth.  

If your companion wants to try some food from your plate, pick up the it with the hashi and put it on their plate. Whatever you do, do not pass the food directly from your chopsticks to the other person’s: this gesture is considered to bring bad luck.

Avoid holding your hashi with both hands.

Do not indicate people or things with them. 

You should not raise you hash higher than your mouth. It is considered to be incredibly rude.


Did you know that you can eat sushi with your hand?!  

Japanese etiquette certainly allows it, while when it comes to sashimi, there is no escape from the chopstick ordeal!

We had better get practising!

japan food
japan food

Nigiri-sushi should be brought to the mouth upside down. In this way  the fish, dipped in soy sauce, is the first to come in contact with your taste buds. 

Sushi should be eaten in one bite and it is considered a crime to bite into it!  If it’s too big a mouthful for you, all you have to do is ask the chef to cut it into smaller pieces.

Did you know you might be consuming your miso soup all wrong?

The right procedure is to first drink all the liquid soup from the cup and then use the chopsticks to eat the solid parts.

When eating from small bowls, especially rice bowls and noodles, it is recommended to hold the bowl with your hand and bring it closer to your mouth. This will prevent the food from falling down. 

Unlike with so many other cultures, finishing the very last grain of rice on the plate is considered to be in style. So go ahead! it is a sure sign of appreciation.


photo articles ammodo3
photo articles ammodo



When it comes to drinks never pour yourself one! On the contrary, serve the other diners first and then wait for some of them to serve you a drink and it is good manners to reciprocate the gesture. An empty glass means you would like another drink. If you think you have had your fair share of drinks, just leave the glass full.  

When you have finished, put the chopsticks back on the chopstick stand or in their paper holder and make sure the lids are placed back on the plates.  Everything should look exactly as it did before the meal commenced. That is a sign that you are done.

Japanese etiquette is quite elaborate, to say the least, so when in doubt, it is often a good idea to have a look at the host himself.