Manners in Japan


Part 1 – Chopstick manners

In all the years I have lived here, I have read many articles written by fellow foreigners about manners in Japan. Some of the things I have read do have some truth to them, but some things are a little exaggerated and dated. I have decided to write about the top five things, choosing one topic at a time.

So, without further ado:

Chopsticks AKA – ハシ

Here is a list of things you should not do while using chopsticks! Even now in 2019 many Japanese will stare at you in a restaurant just to see if you can use them correctly or not!! Also, if you are on a date, the Japanese lady will rate you on your chopstick skills and etiquette.

  • Don’t play with your chopsticks (ハシ)
  • You shouldn’t cross the back end of them while using
  • You shouldn’t stab your food with them and leave them standing upright
  • You should use a chopstick holder when you place them down
  • Never just place them on the table
  • Don’t use them as toothpicks!
  • Don’t use them like drumsticks!
  • Don’t dig around your bowl of food with them
  • Don’t drag a bowl or alike towards you by using your chopsticks
  • You shouldn’t scoop food from the bowl into your mouth using your chopsticks
  • Don’t hold one in on hand and the other in the other hand to “cut” your food. This is VERY BAD!
  • Don’t lick your chopsticks
  • Don’t use the other end of them to pick up food from a share plate of food.
  • If the meal has a lot of juice, don’t let the liquid drip of the end of the chopstick
  • Don’t pass food to each other’s chopsticks
  • Do not place them on top of your rice bowl while you are in the middle of eating a meal. Use a chopstick holder.
  • Don’t suck along the chopstick
  • Don’t wave them around while talking or point with them
  • Never mix and match chopsticks. For example, one wooden and one plastic or different designs etc.
  • Don’t scratch yourself with them!
  • Don’t pick food up and put it back if you change your mind
  • Don’t touch bits of food while choosing. Choose visually before picking it up
  • If you are using the wooden chopsticks that are slightly stuck together at restaurants, do not open them sideways, open them upwards.
  • After you eat, place them on the holder or if at a restaurant, you should place them in the wrap they came in.

I hope you enjoyed this article and learnt chopstick etiquette:) you don’t even need to be in Japan to learn this which is a top bonus!

Do you really need to do all these things? Well, yes actually. But if you don’t care how you look in a foreign country ask for a spoon!

Article written by David
Photos by David


Welcome to We strive to bring you top tips and helpful information on this odd country. Having lived here for 12 years I have come to realize I will never truly understand this strange, beautiful country and it’s many odd things. But I do hope to benefit you from my experience. Every week I will write an article on different strange things about life in Japan as well as information on how to get to places easily. I don’t want to bore you with the usual type of tourist information available on the web. I want to give you real information. We would very much appreciate it if you shared this site.