Ordering and paying

Specialty restaurants

At sushi restaurants customers can order by themselves or leave the choices (omakase ) up to the restaurant. For the omakase course the customer need not order but only wait for the sushi chef to make and serve the sushi. At some top-class sushi restaurants prices are not shown, so in those cases the first-time visitor should tell the chef beforehand how much he or she would like to spend.

At more common sushi or eel shops, sukiyaki restaurants, or tonkatsu restaurants, there are often clear price ranges for set courses, usually given the names matsu (pine; top course), take (bamboo; middle), and ume (plum; lower), and customers can choose according to their budget. Payment is made after the meal. Regarding credit cards, restaurants usually have stickers posted at the entrance or near the cash register showing which credit cards they accept.

Top-class restaurants

Reservations are necessary at first-class restaurants like upper scale kappo (one type of Japanese restaurant) specializing in kaiseki-ryori, ryotei (a restaurant with private Japanese-style rooms), and restaurants in ryokan (Japanese-style inns, which pay particular attention to meals). When making the reservation, the customer can order what kind of dishes his party wants. Payment is after the meal, and cash or credit card can be used. Some restaurants add a service charge of usually between 10 to 15 percent.

General restaurants

At shokudo (cheaper Japanese-food dining halls), including soba, udon, and ramen shops, and ordinary restaurants where reservations are not necessary, menus with the names of dishes and their prices from which the customer can choose are provided. Payment is usually by cash only.

Service charges

At restaurants in hotels and top-class restaurants, a service charge (10-15%) is usually added in addition to a 5% tax (consumption tax). Tipping is never required.