The Etiquette for Business Meals in Japan

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Hi, my name is Taisei Koshida, and I am a certified public accountant and tax accountant.


I aim to assist non-Japanese business owners who struggle with reading or writing in Japanese. If you find the Japanese tax return system challenging, I can help you with your tax filings.


If you are unclear about the etiquette for business meals in Japan, you might find this blog helpful.





Arriving Early

The etiquette is to arrive at the venue about five minutes ahead of the scheduled time, rather than precisely on time.


Considering Seating Arrangement

If you’re the seller, you generally should sit in the ‘Shimoza’, the seat furthest from the entrance of the room. If you’re the buyer, it is typical to sit in the ‘Kamiza’, which is opposite the ‘Shimoza’. However, if you wish to convey a more modest impression, choosing to sit in the ‘Shimoza’ is not a bad idea.


Pouring Drinks for Others

When ordering drinks in a bottle, it is customary to pour drinks into others’ glasses. However, a growing trend among younger people is to drink at their own pace.


Not Just Ordering for Yourself

When you want something else, whether it’s food or drink, you should suggest that others order something instead of just ordering for yourself.


Selecting an Appropriate Venue

If the business meal is casual, it’s appropriate to choose a casual venue such as a pub. For more formal business meals, such as when expressing appreciation for major transactions, a formal dining venue such as a Japanese restaurant would be more suitable. Expressing


Gratitude When Treated

Splitting the bill is common in casual business meals, while in formal settings, it is typically covered by the person who arranged the meal. If you are treated, it is polite to express gratitude, with phrases like “ご馳走様でした”.



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