A Gourmet Tour: Restaurant Etiquette in Tokyo


Dining in another country can be a curious experience. From the food to the form knowing what’s acceptable and what’s not can be a tricky experience especially in a city like Tokyo.

If you’re ready to enjoy the captivating culinary experience that awaits on a gourmet tour of Tokyo we’ve got you covered with the restaurant etiquette.

Japanese Restaurant Rules 

  • Wait to be invited into the restaurant. You may need to remove your shoes.
  • Wet towels are offered on arrival – for your hands, not your face.
  • Use one end of the chopsticks for eating, the other for dishing up.
  • Eat the last grain of rice (challenging when using chopsticks!).
  • No double-dipping!
  • Miso soup is drunk out of the bowl, with both hands.
  • Noodles are eaten with chopsticks, slurping is acceptable, and either drink the soup holding the bowl with both hands or use a spoon if provided.
  • Big pieces of food need to be “cut” with chopsticks (almost impossible), or bite and put back onto your plate before attempting a second bite.

A bowl of ramen

Sushi Rules 

  • Sushi: eat in one bite, do not add wasabi into soy sauce, and be frugal in your use of soy sauce as wastage is frowned upon.
  • Use your chopsticks or hands.
  • With nigari sushi, dip the fish-side of the sushi into the soy sauce; with gunkan sushi, pour a small amount of soy sauce over instead of dipping.
  • With sashimi, put some wasabi onto the piece, then dip into soy.

We hope these basics will help you make the most of your gourmet tour of Tokyo.

Getting There

FLY SAA flies to Hong Kong daily from Johannesburg. From there, catch a connecting flight to Tokyo with codeshare partner Japan Airlines.

For an idea of what to expect be sure to read about Jenny Handley’s experience in the article Tokyo: A Gourmet Tour.



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