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Dining Etiquette in Japan: A guide For Tourists

This handy guide to dining etiquette in Japan will help you avoid any faux pas.

Japan like every other country has its own dining etiquette. For example, did you know that cancelling a dinner reservation is frowned upon? You did not? Read the post to find out some of the DO’s and the DONT’S that you will come across if you ever happen to find yourself in Japan. Take it as a guide to dining etiquette in Japan so as to avoid any faux pas

READ ALSO: Some of The Best Things You Can Do in Paris

  1. Don’t stick your chopsticks up in your rice – that’s only for funerals: You should check out our post regarding using chopsticks. It is considered extremely rude to stick your chopsticks into your food just because you want them to stand upright. It is said to resemble the incense burned during Buddhist funerals.
  2. You’ll be given a hot, damp towel at the start of your meal: Generally, the hot towels handed out in Japanese restaurants are used for cleaning your hands before eating. You should wipe your hands first, then your face if you like. It is called an oshibori
  3. Japanese tea and drinking water are free of charge: Tea is a part of Japanese daily life. It is often served in restaurants free of charge, accompanying, or sometimes instead of water. Water is called Ohiya in Japanese and almost all restaurants make it available at no extra cost.
  4. Bow Or Nod: Japanese people usually greet each other by bowing. Some bow a little whilst others bow deep, bending to the waist. Long and deep bows indicate respect, while a shorter bow is informal. Please do not bring your hands to the chest when you bow, as it is not a yoga exercise. Don’t bow and shake hands at the same time. It’s awkward and weird.

  5. Toilet Slippers: Most hotels, guesthouses and even homes will have toilet slippers. Yes, toilet slippers are a MUST when entering the bathroom. You should NEVER wear the toilet slippers outside of the bathroom. The place where the toilet is considered dirty in Japan and it is perfectly common practice.

  6. Slurp Away: Give your noodles a loud slurp, Feel free. This tells the chef you are enjoying your food and you actually appreciate it. In fact, as part of the Japanese manners and etiquette, it is actually not custom to bite your noodles in half.
  7. No Shouting: If you need someone’s attention, it’s either you wave at them or walk up to them. You shouldn’t shout their name on the street or in a public place. Silence, quiet and respect in Japan are crucial.


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