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月: 2021年2月

15 Tips you Should Know about JAPANESE RESTAURANTS Part. 2

15 Tips you Should Know about JAPANESE RESTAURANTS Part. 2


If you haven’t checked the 1st part yet, please read 15 Tips you Should Know about JAPANESE RESTAURANTS Part. 1 first, and come back to this article.


9. We have “Otoushi”, which is particular to Japanese culture.

In Japanese izakayas and bars, there is a charge named “Otoushi”. When you sit at a table and order a drink, a small vegetable or seafood appetizer will be served at the same time with your drink. You may be surprised because you didn’t order it, but this is what “Otoushi” is.


Solution 1: Take it as a table charge

When you go to bars in your country, some of them charge you a table charge or service fee, right? Otoushi is a Japanese table charge. It is a small appetizer and usually costs 200 to 600 yen, which is 2 to 6USD, so it’s much more reasonable than a table charge. The content of otoushi varies depending on the house and the day. So why don’t you enjoy each izakaya’s original one?


Solution 2: You might be able to refuse it

I have never done it, but if you say “I don’t want otoushi”, then they won’t serve and charge you otoushi fee. In that case, you can simply say “No otoushi please.” If you have a certain ingredient that you can’t eat, I recommend you to tell them before they serve it to you.


10. Your check will be left on the table while you are eating

This is the biggest surprise for people from other countries. In Japan, when food servers have served all the dishes you ordered, they ask you “Anything else?” and you say “No”, then they put your check on the table. Every time you have an additional order, the number of check will increase. People who don’t know this culture wonder and misunderstand “We are still eating but they put the check already. They want us to leave?” but that’s totally wrong.


Solution: This is Japanese culture

The reason they do this is probably so that you don’t have to call them when you want to pay. For the restaurant, additional order is always welcomed. So when it happens, please take it positively as a unique experience.


11. You have to call a food server each time vol. 2

I used to work as a waitress at a casino hotel in Nevada, the United States. What I have learned there is, when my guests have 2 to 3 bites of their main dishes, I’m supposed to go to their table and ask “Is everything OK?” to check the taste and if they have got everything. Also, asking them “Would you like another drink?” before their glasses become empty is one of the conditions of being a good food server. However in Japan, we don’t have that culture.


Solution: call out “Sumimasen!”

When you want to order more, when you want to see a menu, when you haven’t got your dish yet, or anytime, you can call out “Sumimasen!” If you want to know their recommendations, ask them “Osusumewa?” “O SU SU ME WA?” To enjoy Japanese restaurant as much as possible, you should make the first step. That’s what I usually do when I go to a restaurant in Japan.


12. Your friend is still eating, but they will take away your empty plate

This is also one of the most shocking things for people from other countries. In Western cultures, a food server won’t clear your empty plate as long as someone in your company is still eating. However in Japan, they do. Because Japanese traditional cuisine is like French, a dish comes one by one. So they clear a plate each time guests have finished. Also, Japanese tables are not big, so they take away your unnecessary plates to provide you a wider space. So, even if your friend is still eating, they will ask you “May I clear your plate?” and take your empty plate away.


Solution: This is Japanese culture

It doesn’t mean they want you to leave. This is normal for us. So, please take it like “I have more space now”. If necessary, it’s a good timing to order another drink or dessert.


13. Where to pay depends on the house

In Western countries, you usually pay at your table except for fast food, but in Japan, it all depends on the house. Some restaurants have cashiers but some don’t. I’m Japanese but even I often get confused.


Solution: Ask them

I usually ask them “Excuse me, where should I pay?” So, you can ask them as well. Hold your check and ask “Dokode?” “DO KO DE?”, which means “Where?”, then they will tell you where to pay.


14. Many restaurants don’t accept credit cards

They have begun to accept credit cards little by little, but still, we can’t use them at many restaurants especially in the countryside. Some of them set a minimum fee of usage for credit cards like “We have a 5,000 yen minimum for credit cards.” Even for a Japanese like me, I get worried if I can’t use my credit card.


Solution 1: Ask them before they take you to a table

Some restaurants have VISA or Master card stickers at the entrance, but many of them don’t, even if they accept them. So, making sure when you enter the house is best. Show them your credit card and ask “VISA OK?” or “American Express OK?” It may sound repetitive, but please speak slowly and simply.


Solution 2: Tell the truth and run to ATM

You were so ready to pay by credit card but it was cash only. What was worse, you didn’t have enough cash in your wallet. I hope it never happens but if it does, tell them the truth honestly. If you say “ATM, and come back, OK?” I’m sure they’ll say “OK”. Then, find the closest International ATM. You can withdraw with your foreign card at most of Japanese major convenience stores, Seven Eleven, Family Mart, and Lawson.


15. Tip is unnecessary

We don’t have tip culture in Japan. Not only in restaurants, but even in taxis or hotels, you don’t have to pay it. We have many delicious and reasonable restaurants. Especially for lunch, you can find tons of lunch sets including a drink or dessert within 1,000yen, which is about 10USD. And no tip. Great deal! This is a suggestion from me. Because you don’t have to pay tips, why don’t you ask them “Osusumewa?”, which means “What do you recommend?” and try their best dish or drink. You invested a lot of money and came to Japan, so I really want you to enjoy something you can’t ever have in your own country. And, if the dish or drink was amazing, please give them a thumb up and tell them “Delicious!” They are very shy, but if you like what they recommended, they would be very happy and confident.


I have interviewed more than 1,600 people who have been to Japan about Japanese restaurants’ hospitality, but most of them told me “Their service was amazing”. “It is true that they didn’t speak good English, but they made an effort and tried to speak broken English with lots of gestures. That was very impressive.” When I heard that, I was very proud of being Japanese.

This is your first time visiting Japan. You may have some difficulties because language and culture are not the same at all, but if you say “I need your help”, someone would definitely help you. We are very shy, so we are not good at making the first step, but if you come, we would be happy to support you. So please do not hesitate to ask for help, and enjoy Japan. And, please come back. I really hope you have a wonderful experience in Japan.

Thank you for watching. See you in the next video.


15 Tips you Should Know about JAPANESE RESTAURANTS Part. 1

15 Tips you Should Know about

Hi, my name is Miki. I’m a Japanese restaurant inbound specialist, and a writer.

I have interviewed more than 1,600 people who have been to Japan about Japanese restaurants’ hospitality. Then, I found out that due to the culture differences, there are many misunderstandings between Japanese restaurants and the tourists. For example, the people from other countries said “I wanted to order more, but I couldn’t”, and the Japanese restaurants said, “They came in but left without ordering at all.” It’s a shame for those who came all the way to Japan and was so ready to eat lots of delicious food, and for the restaurants, too. So, in this video, I would like to show you in which part the tourists got confused, and how to solve the problems based on more than 1,600 people’s feedbacks.


1. A restaurant is not easy to find

People often say “Japanese restaurants are hard to find.” This is because small buildings are densely packed in Japanese cities, and restaurants are not always on the 1st floor like Western countries. They may be on the 3rd, or basement floor. Also, I sometimes get into a situation where a restaurant’s sign faces a main street, but its entrance faces a back street. Even we Japanese often get confused and lost.


Solution 1: Google the store on the 1st floor beforehand

You can see the outside of the building that you want to go on Google My Business and Tripadvisor. How to find the building is not by the name of the building, but what store is on the 1st floor. Is the 1st floor Seven Eleven, a bank, or a flower store? If you know it beforehand, the building will be easy to find.


Solution 2: Google the floor beforehand

If you google, you can see what floor the restaurant you want to go is on. Find not only the address and phone number, but also the floor. By the way, how to read the floor is the same as the States, so 1F is on the first floor, 2F is on the 2nd floor, and B1F is the 1st basement floor.


2. Lack of employees

We don’t have hostesses and hosts in Japanese restaurants. An employee who notices new guests will take them to a table. But, restaurant industry is always lacking people. So, it may often happen that they won’t notice that you are at the entrance and waiting, or even though they have noticed you, they are too busy to welcome you.


Solution: call out “Sumimasen!”

You should wait for a while, but if they still won’t come to you, you can call out “Sumimasen!”, which means “Excuse me.” It’s “SU MI MA SE N”. Calling out to food servers like that is definitely not good idea in Western countries, but in Japan, it’s OK and everyone does that. You are not used to it and it may make you feel uncomfortable, but just think this is Japanese culture. Welcome to Japan!


3. There are many smoking restaurants

One of the most shocking things about Japanese restaurants for the tourists is, we still have many smoking restaurants in Japan. The number is decreasing little by little, but we still can smoke in small restaurants and restaurants where they provide alcohols like bars, izakayas, and clubs.


Solution 1: Google beforehand

If you don’t want to go in to a smoking restaurant, or you are not sure the restaurant you want to go is smoking or not, you better google. If you check “Tabelog” which is Japanese original restaurant website, it specifies if the restaurant is smoking or not.


Solution 2. find stickers

If you can’t find it on the Internet, it may have stickers at the entrance. But unfortunately, not even half of restaurants have these kind of stickers yet.


Solution 3. ask the employee

If you can’t find it on the Internet, or at the entrance, go inside the restaurant and ask the employee. Not many people speak English, but they will mostly understand if you ask “Smoking here?” with a smoking gesture. The employee will say “Yes” if they have smoking tables or smoking area, and “No” if they don’t.


4. Not many restaurants have English menus, especially in coutryside

Many restaurants which are in a big city but not franchised, or restaurants in countryside still don’t have English menus yet. You may be able to order if there are pictures on the menus, but some restaurants don’t even have photos.


Solution: Use Google Translate

If you are in that situation, Google translate can be your Superman. It’s a free app. When you aim your camera at the menu you want to read, it can show you all in English. In Japan, English city signs or menus are not wide-spread. So I strongly recommend you to download it before you come to Japan.


5. Many food servers are part timers and so they might not be able to explain the dishes

Some of you must think “If I have hard time reading Japanese menu, why don’t I call a food server”. However, like I mentioned the earlier, Japanese restaurant industry is always lacking employees, and many food servers are part-timers. Some of them work at a restaurant only on that day, which means, a daily part-timer. So, even if you ask them “What is this dish?” or “What’s in it?”, most of them can’t answer it immediately.


Solution: Enjoy something you don’t know

It s an exception if you have a food allergy, or you are vegetarian, or you can’t eat certain ingredient due to a religion, but if you can eat anything, don’t think about it deeply and try to order like “I’m not sure what it is, but it looks good so let’s order it”. You came to a country which has different language and culture from yours. So please enjoy the “unknown” and “challenge” which you can’t experience when you are back home.


6. You have to call a food server each time vol. 1

In Western countries, you have your food server and he/she will come and take your order, so you don’t have to call them each time. But in Japan, you have to call a food server. Some people whom I interviewed didn’t know that culture differences and just waited for a food server to come, but finally left the restaurant because noone came to take their orders. It’s a shame that they entered the restaurant but left without ordering anything.


Solution: call out “Sumimasen!”

When you want to order in a Japanese restaurant, there are 3 ways to do this.

  • 1. Order with the tablet
  • 2. Press the call button on your table
  • 3. Call out “Sumimasen”

In a restaurant without tablets or call buttons, you have to call out to the employees. Otherwise, they won’t come to you. If you call out to them but they are still busy, just try again. Don’t worry, calling out to food servers is not rude in Japan.


7. English level is low, but they can understand if you speak slowly

Japan is the 3rd largest world economy, but we have learned English grammer mainly at schools, so not many people including young people can speak English. But many of them wish to speak and communicate in English with you.
Japanese people are basically shy, so they may not come and talk to you, but if you start talking with them, they will make efforts to communicate with you using gestures and as many English words as they know.


Solution: Speak slowly and simply

When you talk with Japanese food servers, please don’t forget to speak slowly and simply. Don’t say “Could we have 2 more small plates, please?” but just simply say “2 small plates, please”. You can delete “Could we have” or “May I get”. Perhaps, most of questions and demands can be established by using “please” and “OK?” Also, don’t forget to use gestures. If you do that, you might hit it off and they’ll be more friendly to you.


8. Not many people know about “vegetarian”, “vegan”, “gluten-free”, and “Muslim”

Even though McDonald and Burger King have vegetarian menus in Western countries, we don’t have in Japan yet. Generally speaking, “vegetarian” or “vegan” are not well-known, even people working in the food industry are not sure what these are. And, some food servers know the word “Muslim”, but they don’t know what the Muslim can’t eat, or they have heard of “gluten-free”, but they have no idea what it is specifically.


Solution: Show an image

So, if you have a certain ingredient that you can’t eat, show that image to the food servers. And tell them “I can’t eat this.” slowly with gestures. Then, they might tell you which dish you can or you can’t eat.


外国人114人へのオンライン個別インタビュー結果 〜東京2020今夏開催「難しい」31%、「条件付きで可能」55%〜






そこで弊社では、2020年10月~2021年2月にかけて、114人の外国人に Cambly 上で1対1による個別のインタビューを行い、以下の質問を投げかけました。

  • 1.(COVID-19 は中国発祥と言われているが、)中国に程近い日本に数年以内に旅行する事に抵抗はあるか?
  • 2.(1で「いいえ」を選んだ方のみ)数年以内に訪日予定はあるか?
  • 3.2021年の夏に東京2020が予定されているが、開催は可能と思うか?


1.(COVID-19 は中国発祥と言われているが、)中国に程近い日本に数年以内に旅行する事に抵抗はあるか?


  • 「日本を含むアジア諸国の方が母国よりもウイルスを制御できている」
  • 「日本はルールを守る国だから」
  • 「旅行自体が不安なだけで、日本が特に怖いという感情はない」
  • 「ワクチンが出来て世界が海外旅行をOKとするなら、訪日旅行は怖くない」
  • 「日本は世界でも有数の安全な国だと思う」
  • 「日本人はみなマスクしてるし、街は清潔だし席同士のソーシャルディスタンスを確保していて人々が注意深い。ただ、地下鉄は躊躇するかな。」
  • 「日本が安全どうこうではなく、自分自身がコロナを恐れていない。」
  • 「今は世界中に広がっているし、日本はヘルスやテクノロジーでも先進国だから。」



  • 「日本の政府はもっと対応できる国だと思っていた」
  • 「人口の多い国だから」
  • 「怖くはないが注意深くはなる」
  • 「日本の政府がよくやっているという話を聞かない」
  • 「政府が無能すぎる」












  •  VRやオンラインでも楽しめる体制を
  •  ゲームの勝敗を賭け、賞金を日本に寄付
  •  身体的接触の多いスポーツは開催しない
  •  各国の選手が他国の選手や関係者と試合当日まで接触しない体制づくり(例:全豪オープン)
  •  NBAを成功例として同じことを行えばいい
  •  責任の所在を明確に
  •  感染者数の少ない国からのみの選手受け入れ 等



























written by 内木美樹(飲食店インバウンド専門家)