What Do Japanese People Say After Eating? (2023)

Eating is a fundamental part of life, and it holds great significance in Japanese culture. When dining in Japan, there are certain etiquette rules and customs that should be followed. One of the most important customs is expressing gratitude after eating. In this article, we will explore what Japanese people say after eating, the etiquette rules of dining in Japan, common phrases used to express gratitude, and other expressions of appreciation in Japanese culture.

Etiquette in Japan

When dining in Japan, it is important to adhere to certain etiquette rules to show respect and appreciation. Here are some key etiquette rules to keep in mind:

  1. Wait for everyone to be served: It is considered polite to wait for everyone to be served before beginning to eat. This shows consideration for others and allows everyone to start the meal together.

  2. Finish all the food on your plate: In Japanese culture, it is customary to finish all the food on your plate as a sign of appreciation for the meal that was prepared for you. Leaving food uneaten may be seen as wasteful or disrespectful.

  3. Pour drinks for others before yourself: When drinking alcohol with others, it is customary to pour drinks for others before pouring your own drink. This gesture shows respect and consideration for others.

  4. Thank the host before leaving: At the end of the meal, it is polite to thank the host for their hospitality before leaving their home or establishment. This shows gratitude for the meal and the effort put into preparing it.

Expressions of Gratitude

Expressing gratitude after eating is an important part of Japanese culture. There are various ways to express gratitude, both verbally and through gestures. Here are some common expressions of gratitude used in Japan:

  1. Gochisousama deshita: This phrase translates to "thank you for the meal" and is commonly used to express gratitude after eating. It is a polite way to show appreciation for the food that has been prepared by someone else.

  2. Itadakimasu: This phrase means "I humbly receive" and is typically said before beginning a meal as a gesture of gratitude. It is a way to acknowledge the effort and care that went into preparing the food.

  3. Arigatou gozaimashita: This phrase translates to "thank you very much" and is a more formal way to express gratitude after a meal. It conveys a deeper level of appreciation for the meal that was served.

  4. Doumo arigatou gozaimashita: This phrase is an even more formal way to express gratitude and translates to "thank you very much indeed." It is used to show deep appreciation and respect for the meal and the person who prepared it.

Common Phrases After Eating

In addition to the above expressions, there are other common phrases used in Japan to express gratitude for the food that has been served. These phrases can be used among friends, family, or even when dining out at restaurants. Here are some examples:

  • Gochisousama desu: This phrase means "thank you for the delicious meal" and is a simple way to express gratitude for the tasty food that was served.

  • Oishii desu: This phrase translates to "that was delicious" and is a way to compliment the chef or the person who prepared the meal.

  • Oishii desu ne: This phrase means "that was really delicious" and is used to emphasize how much you enjoyed the meal.

  • Douzo meshiagare: This phrase translates to "please enjoy your meal" and is often said before someone starts eating. It is a way to wish others a good meal.

  • Meshiagare: This phrase simply means "enjoy your meal" and is a more casual way to express the same sentiment.

These phrases can be used interchangeably depending on the situation and the level of formality required.

Other Expressions of Gratitude in Japan

Apart from using verbal expressions, there are other gestures and actions that can convey appreciation in Japanese culture. Here are some examples:

  1. Bowing: Many Japanese people will bow slightly when expressing thanks after a meal. Bowing is a gesture of respect and gratitude towards those who prepared or served the meal.

  2. Compliments: Offering compliments about how delicious the food was is another way to express gratitude. By acknowledging the taste and quality of the meal, you show appreciation for the effort that went into preparing it.

  3. Gifts: Some people may even offer gifts, such as flowers or small tokens of appreciation, when visiting someone's home for dinner. This is another way of showing gratitude towards those who have cooked a special meal.


Expressing gratitude after eating a meal is deeply rooted in Japanese culture. It is a way to show appreciation for the food, the effort put into preparing it, and the hospitality of the host. Whether through verbal expressions, gestures, or compliments, Japanese people have various ways to express their gratitude after a meal. By understanding and embracing these customs, visitors to Japan can show respect and appreciation while enjoying the rich culinary traditions of the country.

Note: This article is intended to provide information about Japanese dining etiquette and expressions of gratitude after eating. It is important to be mindful of cultural differences and customs when dining in Japan or interacting with Japanese individuals.

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