A Look at Dining Etiquette in Japan

When you visit Japan, there are many different customs you will get to experience. Japanese dining etiquette can often be confusing for Westerners visiting the country for the first time. Although everyone is understanding of how different the dining experience is for people visiting the country and are patient as you learn new etiquette rules, it can helpful to learn as much as you can about the norms before you go. Here is a closer look at some basic Japanese dining etiquette rules, so feel more relaxed in Japanese restaurants.

Chopstick Basics

Using chopsticks can take practice, so use them whenever you get a chance before your visit. In Japan, don’t point chopsticks at people or dishes or wave them around while you’re talking. You shouldn’t suck any sauces off your chopsticks or stab foods that are hard to pick up. Never place your chopsticks upright in rice, which is symbolic of death, as is passing food with chopsticks. Don’t lay your chopsticks next to your plate when you’re done eating, as this indicates that you haven’t finished.

Tipping

Tipping is not common in Japan. In fact, it is often considered to be insulting. In restaurants, wait staff will often accept tips from Westerners in order to avoid embarrassing them. However, it’s best to avoid the practice completely—in restaurants, hotels, cabs, and anywhere else you would normally leave a tip in a Western country.

Eating

Something that may feel strange to Westerners but is expected in Japan is sipping directly from a soup bowl. Slurping is also encouraged, as it demonstrates that you are enjoying the food. Always clean your plate completely. Leaving anything behind, even a small amount of rice or sauce, is considered rude.

At House of Genji, you’ll enjoy traditional Japanese teppanyaki dining and get plenty of chances to practice with your chopsticks. Contact us today at (408) 453-8120 to find our more about our cocktail lounge and menu of Japanese food in San Jose.

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