Chopsticks (Hashi)

See below for credits. This web page created to help you learn how to eat with chopsticks. Kim and I learned to eat with chopsticks while stationed in Misawa Japan. We lived there for three years, and the food was fantastic. While you're here, perhaps you'd like to check out the rest of Rob's World!.

The Japanese word for chopsticks; hashi, means "bridge". Unlike Chinese chopsticks, which are squared-off and blunt at the end, these Japanese utensils are rounded and tapered to a point at the end (and much more difficult to use). It has been suggested that this is in order to facilitate the removal of bones from fish, which makes up a great part of the Japanese diet. Note that most japanese restaurants serve the Chinese style chopsticks to patrons.


Using Chopsticks

Would you eat a sandwich with a spoon? Or use a fork to eat ice cream? Certain foods require the appropriate utensil. Asian foods are no exception: they seem to taste better eaten with chopsticks. And although some of us were raised using chopsticks, it can be an awkward experience for the rest of us. Fortunately, learning to eat with chopsticks is a simple matter, as this tutorial shows.

Many of us labor under a misperception about chopsticks--that both sticks are moved together in your hand as you pick up a morsel. This is only half-true. Instead you'll be holding one chopsticks in place while pivoting the other one to meet it. Simple, eh?


Heaven forbid that the restaurant serves disposable chopsticks in this era of disappearing ancient forests. But to prepare you for that possibility, here's some advice on breaking them apart. Pull the sticks away from you on a horizontal plane, so your palms end up facing away from you. Twisting them apart vertically can cause splintering, which might hamper your dining experience..

Of course, most restraunts will serve you disposable chopsticks. Especially in Japan. Many things are individually wrapped. The culture is very conscious of personal hygiene/sanitation.


Step 1 - Position the chopsticks


Step 2 - Pivot the top chopstick

Bad Manners

(Using chopsticks)

Other tips

Handling dishes

Japanese dishes are designed to be the right size and shape for holding in the hand. It is a particularly important point of etiquette to lift the dishes to the breast when eating rice or drinking soup.

When eating tempura, sashimi(raw fish), or other food which is dipped in sauce before being eaten that you use the hand not holding the chopsticks to hold the dish containing the sauce.

The dishes or plates used for grilled fish are usually too large to pick up. Such platters may be left on the table. When eating from a large platter or pot, transfer a portion from the communal pot to your own small dish and then lift this dish to eat.

Table Manners

Use your chopsticks to cut up pieces of food too large to fit into the mouth in one bite.

When eating food served in bowl with a lid, replace the lid on the bowl when you have finished.

When you have finished your meal, replace your chopsticks on the chopstick rest (when provided/present) as they were when you started. (I usually fold the chopstick wrapper into a small rest)

Author: Robert L. Vaessen e-mail: robert robsworld org
Last updated:

This page has been accessed times since 16 Feb 2002.

  Credits: This web page contains material culled from other web sites. Most notably (primarily) from two particular sites: Copyright (c) 1995 AandE Pro. Japan, and Copyright (c) 1996-2000, Inc. All Rights Reserved. These materials are used without permission. Note that these two sources are no longer available on the web.