Introduction (2023)

In Japanese culture, expressing gratitude after a meal holds deep spiritual and cultural significance. The phrases "itadakimasu" and "gochisousama" are commonly used to convey appreciation and respect for the food, as well as for those involved in its preparation. In this article, we will delve into the meaning behind these phrases, explore common ways to express gratitude in Japan, and discuss the proper pronunciation and usage of "itadakimasu" and "gochisousama" in various contexts.

The Meaning Behind the Phrase

"Itadakimasu" is derived from the verb "itadaku," which translates to "to receive humbly" or "to accept with gratitude." By uttering this phrase before a meal, individuals express their gratitude to those who have contributed to the creation of the food, from the farmers who cultivated it to the chefs who skillfully prepared it. It is a way of acknowledging the interconnectedness of all beings and the collective effort required to sustain nourishment.

On the other hand, "gochisousama" originates from the verb "gochisou," meaning "a feast or banquet." This phrase is used to express gratitude towards everyone involved in providing the meal after it has been consumed. It serves as a recognition of the time, effort, and skill invested in creating a satisfying dining experience.

Common Ways to Express Gratitude After Eating in Japan

In Japan, there are several customary expressions used to show gratitude after a meal. The most prevalent are "itadakimasu" and "gochisousama," which are spoken before and after the meal, respectively. Additionally, individuals may use other phrases such as:

  1. Osaki ni gochisousama deshita – This phrase is used to thank the host or chef for preparing a delicious meal as one is leaving the table.

  2. Gochisousama desu – This expression is employed at the end of the meal to convey appreciation for the enjoyable dining experience.

  3. Oishii desu – This phrase is used during or after a meal to express delight in the deliciousness of the food.

  4. Gochisou sama desu ne – This expression is utilized at the end of the meal to express admiration for the wonderful feast.

  5. Domo arigatou gozaimashita – This phrase is a formal way to express profound gratitude for everything related to the meal.

How to Say "Itadakimasu" and "Gochisousama" Correctly

When using these phrases, it is important to adhere to certain rules of pronunciation and usage:

  1. Itadakimasu should always be spoken before starting the meal, regardless of the number of individuals present. This demonstrates respect for all those involved in the food's provision.

  2. Gochisousama should always be uttered after completing the meal, even if only one person is present. This expresses gratitude to all those who contributed to the meal.

  3. Both phrases should be pronounced clearly and at an appropriate pace, ensuring that everyone understands their meaning. This conveys respect for all those involved in the food's creation.

Other Related Phrases to Show Gratitude After a Meal in Japan

In addition to "itadakimasu" and "gochisousama," there are other expressions that can be used to demonstrate appreciation after eating in Japan:

  1. Domo arigato gozaimashita – This phrase expresses profound gratitude for everything related to the meal.

  2. Oishii desu ne – This phrase is used to convey delight in the deliciousness of the food during or after a meal.

  3. Gochisou sama desu ne – This expression is employed at the end of the meal to express admiration for the amazing feast.

  4. Osaki ni gochisou sama deshita – This phrase is spoken before leaving the table as a way to thank the host or chef for preparing an extraordinary feast.

Saying Itadakimasu & Gochisousama Before Eating Sushi in Japan

Sushi has gained immense popularity worldwide in recent years. However, when enjoying sushi in Japan, it is still essential to say "itadakimasu" before beginning the sushi experience and "gochisousama" once it is finished. These expressions of gratitude are directed towards the fishermen, farmers, and chefs who work diligently to bring the delicacy to our tables, ensuring we can relish the flavors of sushi worldwide.

Benefits of Saying Itadakimasu & Gochisousama After Eating a Meal in Japan

Uttering these two phrases not only demonstrates respect but also brings about a multitude of benefits, including:

  1. Improved digestion due to mindfulness while eating.

  2. Enhanced mental well-being through the expression of gratitude.

  3. A sense of connection with others through shared experiences.

  4. Deeper appreciation for life itself by showing respect to those who provide our daily sustenance.

  5. Strengthened relationships with family members through shared meals.


In conclusion, expressing gratitude through the phrases "itadakimasu" and "gochisousama" before and after meals in Japan is a long-standing tradition that encompasses respect for those responsible for providing nourishment. By adhering to this practice, individuals not only show appreciation but also reap physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social benefits. So, the next time you dine out or enjoy a meal with loved ones, remember to express your gratitude by saying these two important words – "itadakimasu" and "gochisousama"!

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