Planning to dive into the world of sushi during your Japanese escapade? Keep these essential sushi etiquette tips in mind. While some may seem like common sense and can be applied to other Japanese dining experiences, such as kaiseki or fine dining, there might still be a few surprises even for frequent sushi enthusiasts.

Arm yourself with this basic knowledge of proper manners so that you steer clear from any potential taboos when savoring an authentic meal. Be assured that by acting kindly and respectfully – just as we emphasize in our article on Japanese etiquette – blending seamlessly into the cultural tapestry will be a piece of cake.

Photography Etiquette



When dining at a high-end sushi restaurant, it’s important to inquire about their photography policy. While some places allow photographs, others prohibit them entirely.

If you do get permission to take pictures, remember not to excessively focus on photography during your meal as it can be considered impolite and distracting.

Most traditional sushi restaurants have limited space and aim for an intimate atmosphere. To respect your fellow diners’ experience, avoid being disruptive or intrusive. If allowed to photograph, be selective rather than capturing everything around you – this shows consideration towards both the staff and other customers.

If dining with a companion who also wants photos, prearrange who will handle taking pictures instead of snapping simultaneously throughout the meal. And when using cameras or smartphones within such venues, turn off flash features as they can be obtrusive; opting for smaller devices is less conspicuous compared to larger equipment.

How to Make Requests at a High-End Sushi Restaurant

When it comes to asking for specific dishes or ingredients at a high-end sushi restaurant, it’s important to be mindful and reasonable. Asking the chef to replicate a dish you’ve seen on a food blog or website might not always be feasible, especially if you’re opting for an omakase course.

In these top-notch establishments, the omakase menu is carefully planned ahead of time, taking into consideration factors like seasonality and other culinary considerations. It’s best to trust in the chef’s expertise when selecting premium ingredients and crafting exquisite dishes that showcase their unique talents while also considering market availability and seasonal influences.

A Quick Note On The Japan Rail Pass Price Hike
The price of the wonderful Japan Rail Pass is going up a massive 62% in October but there’s still time to lock in the old rates if you’re quick. Klook still offers the old prices so if you buy before September 30th you can travel with the old prices until December 28th, 2023.

No Strong Fragrances

Wearing scented products while dining is considered impolite. Fragrances, even if they seem subtle, can disrupt the sensory experience of other diners and affect their enjoyment of each dish. To ensure an optimal dining experience for you and your companions, it’s best to avoid using any scented items such as perfume, cologne or fragranced lotions.

Styling products that contain aromatic elements should also be avoided during meals. Similarly mild-scented substances fall into this category too—think twice before applying them when heading out for a meal in Tokyo.

How to Enjoy Sushi


When it comes to savoring the art of sushi in Tokyo, surrender yourself entirely and resist any temptation to request extra condiments like soy sauce or wasabi.

Trust the chef’s creative direction and let them guide your taste buds through their carefully crafted masterpiece. If a specific element pairs well with shoyu or any other accompaniment, the skilled chef will inform you. Otherwise, feel free to relish each piece as it is presented without hesitation.

And if you find yourself uncertain about anything, don’t hesitate to seek clarification from the master behind the counter—after all they are there for your gastronomic pleasure.

Dietary Considerations

Part of the unique sushi experience is the chef’s attention to detail. They carefully plan every ingredient in advance, ensuring utmost quality and sufficient supply for each day. To accommodate your specific dietary needs or preferences, it’s crucial to inform the sushi shop during reservation rather than on the meal day.

This etiquette applies not only to high-end sushi establishments but also extends to other restaurants and traditional Japanese ryokans. While these places will try their best, fulfilling every request may be challenging due to chefs’ meticulous preparation process.

It’s important not just for food allergies or restrictions but also unspoken personal preferences. So please respectfully express any special requests when making reservations—this way, you can enjoy a tailored dining experience while being considerate towards others.

Asking the Chef


When dining at a restaurant, it’s only natural to have questions about the food and its preparation. Asking the chef for information can greatly enhance your dining experience by providing insights into flavors, ingredients, and cooking techniques that you may not otherwise discover.

However, it is crucial to strike a balance between asking relevant queries and overwhelming the chef with an incessant barrage of questions. Remember that chefs work tirelessly to cater to all diners’ needs while keeping up with orders in a fast-paced kitchen environment.

To ensure you make the most out of asking for information from chefs without becoming burdensome, consider these tips:

  • Be Mindful: Being cognizant of both your own time constraints as well as those around you is key when interacting with culinary experts during mealtime. While seeking knowledge enriches our understanding of what we’re eating, be mindful that other patrons are also awaiting their meals or wish for quiet enjoyment during their dining experience.
  •  Show Appreciation: Expressing gratitude towards the chef before inquiring about specific details conveys respect and acknowledges their expertise on matters related to cuisine creation.
  • Choose Relevance over Quantity: Rather than bombarding them with numerous general inquiries unrelated to your dish or visit overall; aim instead for one or two insightful questions pertaining directly

Don’t Name Drop


In the midst of enjoying a divine sushi extravaganza, you may catch yourself contemplating past encounters. Whether engaged in casual chitchat or playful banter with your dining companions, mentioning other sushi joints and skilled chefs is generally considered taboo.

Even if your current chef doesn’t understand a word of English, it’s highly likely that allusions to famous culinary experts or prestigious eateries will still be conveyed somehow—prompting your present chef to indulge their imagination as they try to decipher which possible comparisons you’re making.

Why Sushi Restaurants Have Strict Cancellation Policies

Compact sushi spots excel at creating intimate dining experiences with limited seating. Consequently, they enforce a 100% fee for last-minute cancellations—going beyond financial implications alone.

Late cancellations and no-shows disappoint chefs who invest in fresh ingredients and have high expectations for their creations. Japan’s gastronomic landscape strictly upholds this policy to avoid wasted provisions and unfulfilled expectations.

How to Pay at Sushi Restaurants in Japan

When it comes to money matters, many high-end sushi places in Japan still don’t accept credit cards. Cash is king here, so before you book a table, make sure your chosen restaurant takes plastic or be prepared with enough yen.

It’s also good to know that splitting the bill is not common practice in Japanese culture. Instead of each person paying for their own meal separately, pooling funds together is seen as considerate and polite. If you do need to settle the bill individually with your dining companions, remember that it’s customary to wait until after finishing your delicious sushi feast.

Reading The Air


Understanding the concept of ‘reading the air’ is crucial when navigating social situations in Japan, especially while dining at sushi restaurants. This means being extra attentive to your surroundings and adapting your behavior accordingly to maintain a harmonious atmosphere with those around you.

In order to show respect towards other patrons and create an enjoyable experience for everyone, it’s important to keep these aspects in mind:

1. Soft Spoken Conversations: As most sushi establishments have a cozy ambiance, speaking softly is advisable. By doing so, you avoid disturbing others who are trying to fully immerse themselves into their own unique culinary journeys.

2. Attentive Awareness: Pay close attention not only to your own actions but also observe how others behave around you. Adjusting yourself based on the unspoken cues from fellow diners can help maintain a pleasant environment for all involved.

3. Modest Interaction: While engaging with chefs or staff members is encouraged if seeking guidance about menu choices or expressing appreciation for their artistry—staying mindful of timing will ensure that they can properly attend every customer without disruptions.

4.Brisk Eating Pace : Many Japanese people prefer consuming sushi soon after it’s served since freshness plays such an essential role – keeping this rhythm helps facilitate smooth service flow

The Sum Up

By following these guidelines—and embracing proper “reading-the-air” attitudes—you’ll find yourself seamlessly blending into the authentic local scene while enjoying delicious bites of fresh sushi at traditional eateries throughout Tokyo.

If you’re crazy about all things related to sushi, delve into intriguing myths and misconceptions or explore our handpicked selection of amazing Tokyo sushi spots.

Tokyo Trip Checklist

  • To book hotels in Tokyo consistently returns the best prices. Remember to book early, especially for your weekend dates.
  • The Much loved Japan Rail Pass will Surge in Price by a massive 70% in October. You can still buy at the old prices here.
  • We recommend a 1,2 or 3-day Tokyo Unlimited Subway Pass to get around Tokyo cheaply and easily. Get one here.
  • If you plan on visiting Mt Fuji check out our list of the best Mt Fuji group or private tours from Tokyo
  • You’ll need a prepaid sim or Portable WIFI to stay connected in Japan: Japan Wireless has the best deals
  • Here’s a list of the best things to do in Tokyo this month (August)
  • To ensure you have all the important things covered see our Tokyo travel guide.
  • For more hotel booking help check out the following popular articles:
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  • 8 Top Luxury Hotels In Tokyo
  • 11 Best Ryokans in Tokyo
  • 13 Best Hotels Near Shibuya Crossing: Where To Stay Near Shibuya Scramble

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