Customary traditions can be traced to all aspects of everyday life in Japan, including mealtime. People connect through their love of food and within Japanese food culture, particular phrases are used to communicate the gratitude and satisfaction involved in eating. Whether you are enjoying some supercute sushi, a yummy bento, or any delicious meal, politeness is a key part of the dining experience.

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Pronunciation: E-tah-dah-key-mah-ss

Itadakimasu "Let's eat!"

Meals in Japan traditionally begin with the word “itadakimasu” to express gratitude for all who played a role in providing the food. Saying “itadakimasu” before a meal is a significant piece of Japanese etiquette to give thanks and show gratefulness for the food you are about to eat.

Pronunciation: moat-tie-nigh

Mottainai "Don't be wasteful"

A respect for natural resources, the environment and the food it yields lay at the heart of traditional Japanese culture. The expression “mottainai” can be used as an exclamation when something useful, such as food is wasted.

Pronunciation: go-chee-so-sah-mah

Gochisousama Deshita
"Thank you for this delicious meal!"

When the meal is over, the phrase “gochisousama deshita” or “gochisousama” is said to give thanks again. Like “itadakimasu,” it gives thanks to everyone and everything associated with the meal, including the food itself.


Treat yourself to three homemade simple sushi-inspired recipes that are sure to please everyone at the dinner table whether they like raw fish or not.

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We hope you enjoyed learning about Japanese food culture with Sanrio and are able to incorporate these customary greetings when you enjoy your next meal!