"Etiquette in restaurants" Japan Local Custom Tip by ClareyD

Japan Local Customs: 477 reviews and 616 photos


Some general pointers that are sure to come in handy on your trip to Japan:
1. In a traditional restaurant you will need to take your shoes off before you sit down to eat and toilet slippers will usually be provided (but do not wear these outside the toilet).
2. Do not put your chopsticks upright in the rice bowl as this is considered as an offering to the dead.
3. You are provided with a hot towel once seated this is to wash your hands before the meal.
4. The Japanese tend to say itadakimas (thank you for the food) before eating and gotchisosama (the food was good) after eating. If the food was exceptional you can always say gotchisosama desita which means the food was delicious (literal meaning - the food was a feast).
5. You are usually provided with the bill automatically however otherwise you can either indicate you want the bill by making a cross with your two index fingers or say "okanjo o onegai shimas" (can i have the bill please).
6. You pay the bill at the cashier's desk when leaving and not at the table. A tray is provided to put the money in and almost always you can only pay by cash. In Japan you will probably be pleased to know people don't tip
7. You are not supposed to fill your own glass as this is an indication that you are an alcoholic, put hand over glass if you don't want any more poured. 'Kampai' means cheers in Japanese
8. You are not supposed to pass food with chopsticks
9. Don't pour soya sauce over the food (especially the rice) as this considered an insult to the chef

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  • Updated Apr 11, 2005
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