Arts & Design Culture Travel Guide

Japanese Chopsticks Etiquette | Learn the Golden Rules

What do you know about Japanese chopsticks etiquette? You need to know Chopsticks (ohashi) etiquette when you decide to travel to Japan as well as at the time you want to have your breakfast, lunch and dinner at Japanese restaurants.

Japanese chopsticks are widely used by many people not only in Japan but also in other parts of the world. Suppose, if you go to a Japanese restaurant which is located in New York City you would find these eating utensil. Nothing is better than having Japanese food with its traditional chopsticks.

Japanese Chopsticks Etiquette
You should not place your chopsticks this way. Photo credit: Clare Bell at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

I am versatile, I could use spoon as well as chopsticks when eating something with a bowl. What about you? I actually have two pair of beautiful crafted chopsticks at home. Indeed, they are great to look at.

I also prefer a chopstick set as a gift idea for my friends. It is a unique Japanese gift idea for those who live outside Japan. Now, let me tell you the rules for Japanese chopsticks manners. So, let’s go explore together.

Cherry Blossom (sakura) themed red and black color Chopstick set. It is a handcrafted chopsticks set that is what you need to enjoy your meal. Get this chopsticks set here.

1) Chopsticks must be placed right to left direction, with the tips on the left. Don’t place them diagonally, vertically, please don’t forget this. It is one of the most important Japanese chopsticks etiquette.

2) Never use your chopsticks to take food from a serving plate.

3) Japanese don’t spear food with chopsticks, so keep it in mind seriously.

4) Passing food from chopsticks to chopsticks is impolite. You must not try to do it.

5) Japanese don’t use unmatched chopsticks while eating with them. They always eat with same size of chopsticks.

6) Don’t pull any dishes with chopsticks.

7) Don’t make sound hitting a bowl using your chopsticks.

Chopstick Rest in Japan
Beautiful Chopsticks Rests! Photo credit: Jessica Spengler at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing

8) If you are not using your chopsticks yet just let them stay in front of you, I mean lay them in front of you or use a chopsticks rest.

9) Don’t lay down your chopsticks over a bowl.

10) Never try to suck your chopsticks after eating a delicious food.

11) It is always impolite pointing chopsticks to someone.

12) If you have got a rice bowl then never stick your chopsticks upright in your rice bowl.

13) When you are finished eating using chopsticks then just don’t leave them crossed on your bowl or table.

14) Don’t poke at every dish when you don’t know exactly which one to take.

15) Don’t lift your chopsticks above with foods and then drop them to your mouth.

16) When you hold a bowl, just don’t hold it with the same hand you are holding your chopsticks.

17) Don’t grip your chopsticks tightly in one hand. If you do so, it would seem like you are holding a knife.

18) Never try to play with chopsticks; they are not supposed to be playing stuff.

19) You are not supposed to move plates or bowls around with your chopsticks.

20) Before or after having your meal don’t rub chopsticks after splitting them apart.

21) Finally, don’t tear food apart holding chopstick with each hand.

Japanese people value chopsticks very much since it is a part of their culture and tradition. Comparing to other chopsticks such as Korean, Chinese, I think Japanese ones are great and beautiful to look at. If you don’t know how to hold the chopsticks yet then you must learn it. It is really great to have food with them.

Here I have highlighted a few beautiful Japanese style chopsticks for you so that you could collect them and use them in the future. I hope now you have the idea how to use chopsticks properly in Japan, so be careful and try to remember all these etiquette.


  1. I enjoyed reading this post very much. Domo Aregato.

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