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Editor’s Notes

Hello, this is Pocket Concierge editing team.
It’s quite common to feel nervous about how to behave and eat sushi the right way, especially when you’re visiting a high-class sushi restaurant in Japan. Needless to say, if the occasion has you going with an important business partner or guest, knowing the right manners is critical in making you look like a trustworthy partner.
Today, we are going to teach you all the tips you need to know when visiting a high-end sushi restaurant.


1. Sushi Manners 101: General Manners

2. How To Eat Sushi, The Right Way

1. Sushi Manners 101: General Manners

Kioi cho Mitani|Pocket Concierge

First, let me explain the general manners and behaviors expected of guests at sushi restaurants.

Reservations are a must

Be sure to make reservations when visiting a high-class sushi restaurant. When you do so, inform the resultant the number of guests, number of men and women, your budge, any allergies people might have.

Avoid strong perfumes and tobacco!

This is a common rule among restraints, but people who have a strong smell will be forewarned upon. Don’t wear perfumes if possible. It’s also better to avoid smoking before you go to a sushi restaurant. This will show that you care about other people around you.

Take off watches and bracelets

High-class sushi restraints often have a table made of a expensive single-piece wood. Take off watches and bracelets or other jewelry that could damage the table.

Don’t’ take photos without permission

It’s completely understandable that you would want to post photos on Instagram or Facebook to show off the amazing food and restaurant. However, taking photos without permission could cause trouble to the staff or other customers. It’s better if you can ask if you can take photos when you make reservations or when you arrive to the restaurant. If they so no, just be cool with it.

Don’t use the Japanese word, “oaiso” (Check, please!)

“Oaiso” is a word that means, “Check, please!” Although a lot of people use it, it started as a word the restaurant used to apologize to the customer with the meaning, “I’m sorry we don’t have aiso (charms).”
Although other people might be using it, it’s still impolite to use this word. This is especially true for high-class sushi restaurant that value tradition.

Don’t leave chopsticks on the plate

If there are no hashioki (chopstick rest), what do you do? It’s considered to be bad manners to place chopsticks on a bowl or a plate. This is still true for small plates for soy sauce. Make sure only the tips of the chopsticks touches the small plate, and let the wider, top part that your mouth doesn’t touch on the table or the tray.

2. How To Eat Sushi, The Right Way

Now that you know the manners expected of you, let’s take a look into the how-tos of partaking in sushi. In this chapter, we explain and dismiss common misunderstandings regarding how to eat different dishes served through sushi courses.

Sushi ICHIKAWA|Pocket Concierge

When served, eat quickly!

Steak is served piping hot for a reason; it would be a shame to only partake after seeing it cool and harden, would it not? Sushi is the same; chefs prepare so the customer enjoys each piece at its peak, right when it is made. This is one of the reasons why many restaurants prefer you don’t take pictures. So, be also careful not to leave the sushi too long and forget about it while you chat.

Don’t touch the wooden board the sushi is served

Sushi restaurants use a wooden board called geta to serve the sushi. Don’t touch it, just take the sushi.

Be free to eat sushi using chopsticks or your hand, but eat gari (pickled ginger) with chopsticks

There are a lot of discussions whether you should eat sushi with your hands or chopsticks but either one is okay. Choose the way that’s easier for you. However, gari, pickled ginger should be eaten with chopsticks.

Start with kohada and end with sushi rolls

The ideal order of eating sushi, is to start with sushi that has a light taste like white fish and silver-skinned fish and fatty or rich-flavored sushi towards the end. This helps you keep your taste buds sensitive so you can fully enjoy the different sushi. However, this is not an iron rule you cannot change.
Kohada, medium‐sized gizzard shad is said to show the skills of the sushi chef, since preparing and flavoring it is difficult.. If you are accustomed to it, starting with kohada will help you judge the skill and level of the restaurant.
Ordering soup or sushi rolls at the very end is also recommended.

Those who master soy sauce master sushi

When you’re able to manage soy sauce skillfully, you suddenly are able to look like someone who is a skillful in eating sushi.
Here’re some tips to use soy sauce well. You can try it out at home or at conveyer belt sushi restaurants so please try practicing it before your important day.

Don’t’ pour too much soy sauce on the plate

Avoid overflowing you plate with soy sauce. It’s not embarrassing at all to keep adding soy sauce when you need more. It’s actually more embarrassing to have excess soy sauce on your plate after you’re done eating.

Don’t let the rice touch the soy sauce

It’s a serious taboo to let the rice touch the soy sauce. Avoid this at all cost. If it’s an ordinary sushi, make sure the topping goes to the bottom and just put a little bit of soy sauce on it before eating it.

How do you put soy sauce on ‘gunkanmaki’ rolls?

You might be thinking that it’s impossible to to put soy sauce on ‘gunkanmaki’ rolls.
When you order ‘gunkanmaki’, dip the cucumber on the ship roll or the pickled ginger and dab the sushi topping with it.

Don’t dissolve the wasabi in the soy sauce

If you dissolve the wasabi in the soy sauce, you’ll lose the fragrance of the wasabi. Top the toppings with wasabi instead.
Also, don’t hesitate to tell the sushi restaurant, “Wasabi nuki de” (Please take out the wasabi) if you don’t like it.

Gion Sushi Tadayasu|Pocket Concierge

Sushi Nakamura|Pocket Concierge


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