Eating at Japanese Restaurants: What You Need to Know


When you visit Japanese restaurants, you should know that you will be greeted warmly with a loud “Irashaimase” when you enter.

Many of the restaurants are in traditional buildings and look a little dated from the outside, but inside you will find many Western-style establishments. Of course, there are still classic Japanese restaurants with tatami mats and low dining tables. If you want to dine in such a restaurant, please take off your shoes and rest on a pillow. Then you can fully focus on the delicious Japanese dishes.

And you don’t necessarily have to sit on your knees while eating Japanese food. This is what many people think, but even in Japan It has become more comfortable and convenient. Men like to squat down and women put both legs to one side.

If sitting freely without a backrest causes you problems, there are often small cushions with an extra backrest.

Many traditional Japanese restaurants now have hollow tables so that you can eat more comfortably. So don’t worry, you can relax and enjoy the food because it’s what’s best for you.

By the way, you can easily order Japanese food in restaurants without even knowing the language. Many stores have bilingual menus or display dishes recycled from plastic in the window. Just ask the waiter to come up and point to the dish you want – it works!

Many travelers fear that eating out in Japan must be expensive, but this is not necessarily true. Of course there are gourmet restaurants of the highest standard however There are also very tasty and affordable daily options that taste good.

Related reading: Supermarkets in Japan: Common Items Explained

Should you eat with chopsticks in Japanese restaurants?

Yes, people eat with chopsticks in Japan – but don’t panic, it’s easy to master even for a beginner. To some extent. 🙂

The only thing you have to keep in mind is not to violently move your chopsticks around, use them as a pointing finger or stick them in your food. This is considered rude and disrespectful. When you don’t need it, just put it on the elegant hashiyuki (chopsticks holder).

By the way, In Japan it is customary to eat everything and try every morsel of delicious food at least once.

Related reading: Japanese Etiquette: How to act like you’re Japanese

How to choose a Japanese restaurant

If you like to enjoy the classics Japanese cuisine In all its variety and at the highest level, be sure to include an overnight stay in the traditional ryokan during your trip to Japan.

Here, meals are often included in the price of the bed and the delicious Japanese food, often served at star level, more than makes up for the higher prices.

at a ryokan hotel, You will have a personal dinner served either in your own room or in one of the traditional dining rooms overlooking the ornate Japanese gardens.

Such pure Japan and an unforgettable experience!

Japan is famous for sushi places, also called sushi-ya, which you will find in Japan and around the world. More and more people are discovering and becoming fans of light and varied Japanese food.

Kaiten sushi The places are particularly comfortable, as the appetizers pass on a conveyor belt and you simply choose what and how much you want to eat.

If you want to save money on your trip to Japan, you can find a cheap option at ChokudoOrdinary restaurant. This is where the locals like to go on their lunch break or for a quick dinner.

For a perfect Japanese lunch at a fraction of the price, it is also recommended to visit one of the cozy places izakayasJapanese pubs that offer different daily menus.

Street food in Japan

In Japan, there are small food stalls called yatai. The food is freshly prepared there and can be eaten on the spot by guests. Yatai often belongs to a larger store or restaurant.

When it comes to street food, many people are hesitant at first – especially when it comes to exotic and unfamiliar dishes. But in Japan, it’s really worth it to dare! Not only are the huge dishes tasty and affordable, but they also provide a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture of the country.

Yatai stall in Fukuoka, Japan.
Yatai stall in Fukuoka, Japan.


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