Japanese in Japan

Meal Etiquette

Two people bowing before a meal

At a Japanese meal it is courteous to say "Itadakimasu" before eating and "Gochisousama" after eating. One does not put napkins on the lap when eating, and it is best to keep elbows off the table. If chopsticks must be put down, they should be left on a dish and never inserted into rice, as it is a practice observed during Japananese funerals and thought to bring bad luck. Visitors should know that it is acceptable to make noises when eating noodles. If a guest is invited to eat in a home, it is polite to ask what to do with the dishes after eating (should they be taken to the sink, for example) and follow the cues of the host.



Click on the text to hear the spoken phrase.