Japanese Table Manners: How to Use Chopsticks

Food is always a big part of a trip, isn’t it?

Japanese meals have been drawing attention from the world, and “Washoku”, traditional Japanese cuisine, has been registered as an UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.


Here let me introduce Japanese table manners so you can enjoy Japanese food properly.

This time, I’ll show you how to use chopsticks.

Basically, we use chopsticks when eating Japanese traditional dish.

Learning how to use them will help you eat Japanese food more authentically when traveling in Japan.


Step 1: Hold one of the sticks with the same way as when holding a pen.

Step 2: Place another stick on the ring finger and thread through the base of the thumb and the index finger.

The basic way to hold chopsticks is complete with these two steps.

There are a few additional points.



*As you can see from the picture above, you should place your fingers at about one third from the head of the chopsticks. It will look more beautiful in appearance and balance.

*Don’t move the lower stick, move only the upper stick with the index finger and the middle finger. The thumb stays relaxed.

Shown below are wrong ways of holding chopsticks. Sometimes even Japanese people hold them in these ways.


Bad Example 1: Grasp with five fingers

Bad Example 2: The middle finger placed on the top

Bad Example 3: Hold too close to the tip

It will be difficult to pick up food when you hold chopsticks like shown above.


That’s all of how to use chopsticks.

You might feel it difficult at first, but if you could use chopsticks properly, there is no doubt that Japanese meals will taste even more delicious.

Enjoy your dish with proper chopsticks etiquette.