Japanese Manners: Dos and Don’ts Chopstick Manners in Japan | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan
Do’s and Don’ts of using Chopsticks (Japanese Manners)

Japanese Manners: Dos and Don’ts Chopstick Manners in Japan

By Guidable Writers Jun 30, 2017

This post is also available in: Chinese (Simplified) Spanish Chinese (Traditional)


Chopsticks or ohashi in Japanese are used to eat most kinds of food or cuisine. Have you ever tried or enjoyed eating Japanese dishes using chopsticks? Do you know that there are rules in using this utensil? Okay, so if you aren’t well-versed in using them, we will give you some of the most important guidelines for chopstick manners.

Chopstick Manners, What to do!

  1. Hold your chopsticks towards their end, not in the middle nor the front third.
  2. When you are done eating, or not using your chopsticks, lay them down in front of you with the tips to the left.
  3. If you have already eaten with your chopsticks, use the opposite end to take food from a shared plate.
  4. You can share your chopsticks with someone you know (not with strangers) just as long as you ask for their permission before taking them.


Do’s and Don’ts of using Chopsticks (Japanese Manners)

Chopstick Manners, What Not to Do Chopstick Manners

  1. Saguri-bashi – Sorting or choosing the content of a dish should not be done using your chopstick
  2. Mayoi-bashi – Wandering your chopsticks to choose which food you will eat is a No-no to Japanese. I’m sure you don’t want to be tagged as a greedy person, so avoid doing this.
  3. Sashi-bashi – Regardless of how tricky or hard it is to get the food using chopsticks, do not use it as a fork to stick or stab your food in.
  4. Neburi-bashi – Placing inside the mouth or licking your chopsticks is an impolite gesture by the Japanese. Avoid doing this too.
  5. Yose-bashi – Remember that chopsticks are made to pick-up food. Do not use it to pull plates or bowls.
  6. Tate-bashi or Hotoke-bashi – Do not place your chopsticks vertically on the rice if you want to stop for a while from eating. Doing so reminds them off of a beloved one that passed away and could offend them.
  7. Hiroi-bashi or Utsushi-bashi – Sharing your food from chopsticks to chopsticks is also a no-no for Japanese. It is believed that once a loved one that passed away got cremated, the family and friends will pick the bones of the remain using chopsticks and place them into the urn.
  8. Watashi-bashi – This is also considered offensive to Japanese if you cross your chopsticks and leaving them on the bowl when there is still food inside the bowl.
  9. Mochi-bashi – Do not hold your bowl and chopsticks in the same hand. It is considered a bad manner for the locals, especially when you’re eating with elders.
  10. Namida-bashi – Do not dip your food using your chopsticks in a sauce. That’s a no-no to them too.
  11. Orori-bashi – Moving or pointing your chopsticks while talking is considered a rude manner to them as well.

Do’s and Don’ts of using Chopsticks (Japanese Manners)

If you are dining with Japanese people, they will probably understand that you don’t know all the rules in eating using chopsticks. That’s fine with them. However, knowing a little about their ways goes a long way. Also, a piece of additional information, although there are many other countries which use chopsticks as their main utensil when eating; like the Chinese people but there are many differences in customs and etiquettes when it comes to using them.

Enjoy eating with your chopsticks!

RCDayang / PH