How to Eat Sushi – Sushi Etiquette

I have spent years studying the nuances of Japanese dining and have learned many of the rules for eating sushi in a traditional restaurant. That said, while there really are no absolute requirements, other than general politeness, there are certain behaviors that may make your dining experience more pleasant, and the staff more attentive and interested in you. Not everyone is going to know every tradition of how to eat sushi, and you are not expected to be an expert. While many of the tips that follow may be obvious to some, I hope that they may offer a bit of insight to those who love sushi, but perhaps only have it occasionally. Learning sushi etiquette is both simple and fun! Please keep in mind that while large, this is not a canonical list, and therefore should be taken as guidance rather than strict advice. You would also do well to not read this sushi guide and then worry every time you go out to eat sushi. Many Japanese do not follow all the rules to a ‘T’ (or even know them) and I would suggest that polite behavior is enough to make a good meal at any restaurant, sushi-ya or not, especially in North America. Again, I don’t mean to put forth these rules as absolutes, only to offer some insight into the depth of tradition that surrounds sushi dining experience. So please interpret this as for informational purposes and not a directive as to how you should behave when you go our for sushi.

Arriving and being seated


How to eat sushi: the dining etiquette

After the meal

I hope that his provides some insight into the sophisticated evolution of the sushi dining experience and that you now feel as though you know how to eat sushi. This is not an exhaustive list, but certainly large enough for a general guide. Again, please treat this exposition as a list of guidelines and not as hard and fast rules. I have provided this as a reference and an article of interest, not as something to worry westerners who think they ‘might be doing it wrong.’ Enjoy your meal as you normally would, and have fun. That is really the purpose of going out to eat.
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