If you’re traveling to Japan, be sure to brush up on your sushi etiquette before you go. Sushi is an important part of Japanese culture and the way you eat it can say a lot about you. Knowing the proper etiquette can help you make a good impression when you visit sushi restaurants in Japan.

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Why there is Sushi Manners in Japan?

Nigiri Sushi

Sushi manners are an important part of Japanese culture because sushi is not just a meal, it is a representation of the country’s history, traditions, and way of life. The preparation of sushi requires years of training and dedication to the craft, and it is considered an art form in Japan.

Japanese culture places a significant emphasis on respect and manners. Showing respect for the chef, the restaurant, and the other patrons is seen as essential when dining out in Japan. This is why it’s important to follow the proper etiquette when dining out at a sushi restaurant. By doing so, you demonstrate respect for the culture and show that you understand the significance of the dish.



Sushi Manners in Japan

Wasabi and Soy Sauce

Try not to mix wasabi and soy sauce together. (Photo by Victor Miyata)

When enjoying sushi, it’s important not to mix wasabi and soy sauce together in one dish. Instead, mix the two separately on your own plate or dish. This is because mixing them together can alter the flavors and overpower the taste of the sushi. You should also be careful not to overdo it with the wasabi, as it can be quite strong and overpower the flavor of the sushi. Also, be mindful of the amount of soy sauce you use. It’s not polite to waste the sauce, so only pour as much as you need.


The Order of Eating Sushi

(Photo by Leonardo Luz)

In Japan, sushi is served in a specific order. The traditional order is Nigiri (rice with slice of fish) first, followed by sashimi and then maki sushi. Nigiri is the simplest and oldest form of sushi, so it’s best to eat it first to savor the flavor. Nigiri is a small ball of rice with a slice of fish on top, whereas sashimi is a slice of raw fish without the rice. Maki sushi are made up of a combination of ingredients rolled in seaweed and rice.

When eating nigiri, you can dip the fish side into the soy sauce, but be careful not to let the rice soak up too much sauce. With sashimi, the fish should be eaten without any soy sauce or wasabi. For maki sushi, you can dip them into the soy sauce, but only lightly. Eating sushi in this order shows respect for the traditional Japanese culture and is considered good sushi manners.


Eating Sushi with Your Hands

Try eating sushi with your hand! (Photo by cottonbro studio)

When it comes to eating the sushi, it’s important to use your hands and not chopsticks. Sushi is traditionally eaten with your hands and this is seen as part of the experience.

If you do need to use chopsticks, make sure you hold them correctly and don’t use them to mix the wasabi and soy sauce. When using chopsticks, it’s important to not point them at anyone, as this is considered impolite in Japanese culture.


Saying Thank You to the Chef

At the end of your meal, it’s important to show appreciation for the hard work and dedication of the sushi chef. This can be done by saying “A-ri-ga-tou go-za-i-ma-shi-ta” (thank you very much) to the chef as you leave the restaurant. You can also give a slight bow as a sign of respect.


Bottom Line

Learning the proper sushi etiquette is an important part of the experience when visiting Japan. It’s also a great way to show your respect and appreciation for the culture. Be sure to keep these tips in mind the next time you’re enjoying some delicious sushi in Japan!


FAQ

Why is sushi etiquette important in Japan?

Sushi etiquette is important in Japan because it shows respect for the chef, the restaurant, and the other patrons. By following proper sushi etiquette, you demonstrate appreciation for the country’s culture and traditions.

Should I mix wasabi and soy sauce together when eating sushi?

No, you better not mix wasabi and soy sauce together in one dish when eating sushi. It is best to mix them separately on your own plate or dish to avoid overpowering the taste of the sushi.

In what order should we eat sushi in Japan?

In Japan, sushi is served in a specific order. The traditional order is Nigiri (rice with slice of fish) first, followed by sashimi and then maki sushi (sushi roll). Nigiri is the simplest and oldest form of sushi, so it’s best to eat it first to savor the flavor.

Is it appropriate to eat sushi with hands?

Yes, it is appropriate to eat sushi with your hands in Japan as it is part of the experience and tradition. If you prefer using chopsticks, it is also acceptable, but it is essential to use them correctly.

How to say thank you in Japanese?

To show appreciation to the sushi chef in Japan, say “A-ri-ga-tou go-za-i-ma-shi-ta” (thank you very much) as you leave the restaurant. You can also give a slight bow to show respect for their dedication and hard work in preparing your meal.

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