Dining is an integral part of travel and indulging in food is also an opportunity to learn about other cultures. Japanese dining manners are amongst the richest around the world. Check the following dining etiquette and table manners in Japan.
1) Some Japanese restaurants and bars serve a hot steamed towel called “oshibori”. It is to be used to clean your hands so never use it to wipe your face or for any other purpose.
2) Some restaurants have low tables and cushions on tatami floor rather than or in addition to chairs and tables.
You should take off your shoes before stepping on tatami and avoid stepping on somebody else’s cushion.
3) Rubbing chopsticks together –as seen on TV- is neither necessary nor polite.
4) If you aren’t familiar with eating using chopsticks, feel free to ask for a knife and fork.
5) When eating from shared dishes, it is polite to use the opposite end of your chopsticks or serving chopsticks to move food.
6) Do not lift food by stabbing it with your chopsticks. You are not also supposed to put chopsticks in your mouth or suck or lick them like a spoon or fork. You should not also use them to pass food to someone else’s waiting chopsticks.
7) Never point your chopsticks at someone while talking or wave them around over food on the table.
8) You should never pass food with your chopsticks as it is a reminder of the ritual of passing cremated bones between chopsticks at funerals. Putting you chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice has the same effect.
9) Do not add soy sauce directly on food. Pour a small amount of into a small bowl to dip your food in. keep adding sauce as much as you can but avoid wasting any.
10) Ramen or soup are free to be sipped directly from bowls but avoid holding chopsticks and a small bowl in the same hand.
11) If you ate with disposable chopsticks, place them neatly back inside of the small bag and fold the end after you finish your meal. Putting sticks next to your bowl indicates that you aren’t finished eating yet.
12) It’s also considered polite to return everything to its original position once you’ve finished eating – that includes putting the lids back on dishes where necessary.