Translated by MATCHA
10 Things You Should Know About Eating Out In Japan
Japan's restaurants have some unique rules and manners that you won't find in other countries. We introduce some rules that will make your Japan trip smoother.
Written by Hiromasa Uematsu
7. Oshibori Are Free
At restaurants in Japan, oshibori are offered for free. An oshibori is a wet towel used to wipe your hands and around your mouth before and after your meal. Some places offer them cold while others offer warm ones; this may also depend on the season.
At izakaya, many visitors are amazed by this service as the staff hand over oshibori to each customer individually.
8. Slightly Different Fast Food Menus
Photo by Joey
World famous fast food chains like McDonald's and Subway have already made their way to Japan. After trying a lot of the local delights, even seasoned travelers long for a familiar dish from home.
But, those fast food restaurants are not quite the same as the ones back home, a point that has confused and disappointed or amazed many travelers.
For example at McDonald's, a large drink in Japan is smaller than a medium drink in the United States. And, the staff will hand you an actual drink, rather than an empty cup because there aren't any self-serve drink fountains. That also means that refills aren't free, unlike in some other countries.
9. No Outside Food or Drinks Allowed (Some Exceptions)
Food courts inside shopping malls are some of the exceptions.
This "no outside food or drinks allowed" rule could surprise visitors, especially those from other Asian countries.
But some businesses, such as food courts inside shopping malls, don't strictly enforce this rule.
10. No Shoes Allowed in Zashiki (tatami rooms)
Image courtesy of Akarimado: A Renovated Nostalgic Cafe in Akasaka
Some izakaya and Japanese restaurants have zashiki "a Japanese style room with tatami" in addition to tables and bars. Before going into zashiki, you are expected to take off your shoes and place them inside a locker or near your seat.
Even in the same restaurant, you are expected to keep your shoes on at the normal dining tables and to take them off in the zashiki place.
So, what do you think? We hope the information was helpful or at least enjoyable. Now that you have read this, you have nothing to worry about when you get hungry in Japan. You'll be ordering and eating delicious Japanese food among the locals in no time!