Reading the meaning of chopsticks

22 Nov 2017 in Food Culture

Discover the mind-boggling shapes, sizes and varieties of Japanese chopsticks – and then try to win your own in our contest!


Most Westerners are happy just to master the art of using chopsticks. But there’s much more to Japan’s ubiquitous eating utensils!

How to make chopsticks

Ever noticed chopsticks come in different shapes? Those with rounded tips are called marubashi, while sticks with just one tapered end are katakuchibashi.

And if both ends are tapered, you’re looking at ryoguchibashi.

Typical Japanese menu

One of the most distinctive chopsticks is the rikyubashi, named after Sen no Rikyu who shaped the modern tea ceremony. Both ends are carefully shaved, representing the connection between God and the person using the chopsticks.

Cornered chopsticks (kakubashi), meanwhile, come in a variety of shapes, with their profile ranging from square to pentagonal and octagonal.

Asiatic meals

Chopsticks made from wood

On top of that, there are special long chopsticks for cooking (saibashi) and serving food (toribashi). Children have their own pared-down version and couples have his-and-hers meotobashi!

Asiatic cuisine with french inspirations

Design hotel in Tokyo

At HOSHINOYA Tokyo’s boutique, you’ll find a wide range of chopsticks available for purchase. And we’re giving away a stylish set of cedar rikyubashi and kakubashi to one lucky reader.

Try to win chopsticks!

Chopsticks giveaway

Contest to win Japanese objects

Update: contest is now closed, results available below.

The contest is now over. Thank you to everyone who entered!

We are pleased to announce that the winner of the contest is Mathilde Taboureau (from France). Congratulations!

If you are not the lucky winner this time, please keep reading our webzine to discover two new articles every week about Japanese lifestyle experiences. And follow us on social media to take part in our next contest!

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