Chopstick Etiquette You Must Know in Japan

Hi there. It’s Mr. Wada back on duty. I would like to introduce chopstick etiquette you must know in Japan. Just like every country has manners/etiquette, Japan does have one called Kirai-bashi (嫌い箸). To avoid unnecessary trouble you may want to check this out during your stay in Japan.


Chopstick Etiquette You Must Know in Japan [Extreme Caution]

Hashi-watashi (箸渡し) / Futari-bashi (二人箸)

Passing food chopsticks to chopsticks involves a Japanese culture where people pick up and pass bones by long chopsticks after burning bodies at funeral.


Tatebashi (たて箸)

Sticking chopsticks onto rice is supposedly for dead people. I remember I saw it my childhood-favorite movie Gyounshi! Well, yeah, they are dead, so it makes sense.


Sashi-bashi (指し箸)

Pointing something/someone out by chopsticks is considered rude. (the same reading as 刺し箸)


Sora-bashi (そら箸)

Picking and returning food would not comfort people (wouldn’t it?), so you should be aware of that.


Neburi-bashi (ねぶり箸)

Licking your chopsticks would not look good anyway.


Chopstick Etiquette You Must Know in Japan [Minor Caution]

Nigiri-bashi (にぎり箸)

You should hold chopsticks properly. Some people grab like this (though I used to…).


Kaki-bashi (かき箸)

It means scratching your body with chopsticks (if you dare).


Sashi-bashi (刺し箸)

We tend to be lazy and stick though food but it isn’t supposed to be a good manner.


Kakikomi-bashi (かきこみ箸)

Gather food in a bowl and transfer it to your mouth directly (by chopsticks) wouldn’t look so beautiful. To tell the truth, you may see this in daily life.


Kami-bashi (かみ箸)

Biting a tip of chopsticks looks rather childish.


Saguri-bashi (探り箸)

Dig and look for your favorite food. You may look like you are playing with food. Anyway that’s gross for others.


Yose-bashi (寄せ箸)

Pulling plates closer by chopsticks.


Namida-bashi (なみだ箸)

Don’t let sauce/soup drip from your chopsticks.


Kasane-bashi (重ね箸)

Continue picking the same dish. If a dish is to share, you shouldn’t do that.


Watasi-bashi (わたし箸)

Placing / leaving chopsticks on a plate/bowl means you are done. Not mean but you should place them onto a chopstick stand when you are still eating.


Chigai-bashi (違い箸)

Be aware that you are not using wrong (combination of) chopsticks.


Mayoi-bashi (迷い箸)

Hovering one’s chopsticks back and forth over dishes. You should move your chopsticks after making up your mind what to pick.


Utsuri-bashi (移り箸)

Stopping to pick a dish, and go for a different dish. Unlikely Sora-bashi you would not touch food but it still doesn’t look great for others.


Tataki-bashi (たたき箸)

Hitting rice bowls/plates by chopsticks by pirates would not be welcomed at many restaurants.



How do you find it? Most of the time it shouldn’t matter because not that all Japanese know these and follow but some religious rules would be sensitive for some people. So just keep a few things in your mind while in Japan.

Hope it helps.

See you around!

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3 Responses

  1. You shouldn’t rub the sticks together to rid bits of stick bits, I’ve heard. That’s insulting to the restaurant. And there’s a scene at the start of Blade Runner where Harrison Ford does that, so I’d been copying his antics thinking I was all cool! Just as well it was in the UK.

    • Interesting! That might apply to disposable chopsticks though I didn’t know about Blade Runner. I wonder if Harrison Ford did it intentionally.(or Ridley Scott asked him to? Heh heh) I may try it next time at a ramen place…(=v=)

  2. ᐃᓄᒃ says:

    You forgot touch-bashi: Where some rude jerk actually touches the chopsticks!

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