Hashi-oki (ha-she-oh-key) are Japanese tableware used to keep the chopsticks tips from touching the table and to prevent the chopsticks from rolling. In my house, we use the Hashi-oki for every meal. Preparing the chopsticks and Hashi-oki is typically my kids’ job as we set the table. Thinking about which Hashi-oki to use is the fun part for them. Also understanding the season and showing it on the table is a very important part of Japanese food culture so selecting the correct Hashi-oki helps them to learn this.
I have quite a collection of Hashi-oki. Here are some of the highlights of my collection…
These Hashi-oki are for spring. The pink one is shaped and colored like the peddle of a cherry blossom. The green one is for “verdure season” which happens after the cherry blossoms are fully bloomed. Spring is just around the corner and I can’t wait to use these spring themed Hashi-oki.
These white and blue porcelain Hashi-oki are perfect for the summer. The colors look cool and refreshing, they take us away from the heat of summer.
These earthy heavy looking pottery Hashi-oki are best to use in the fall or winter.
These lemon Hashi-oki can be used both in the summer with lemonade or in winter with hotpot, since winter is the season for lemons and I use my homemade meyer lemon ponzu.
These small mallet shaped Hashi-oki is for bringing luck to our table so I usually use them for New Year’s.
For fall, I love to use these Japanese maple leaf shaped Hashi-oki.
And, real Japanese lantern
More of my collection.
From Kyoto, vegetable shaped Hashi-oki made from Bamboo
Pretty pastel colored bowtie Hashi-oki
Tomatoes and grapes
Lovely flower Hashi-oki, I think it is the dahlia flower
These Hashi-oki have a European look. It fits well with foreign dishes.
My favorite spring and summer Hashi-oki are shown in these two pictures. The flowers encased in glass are gorgeous. I love them a lot.
See if you can find a set of Hashi-oki at your Japanese, Asian market, or kitchen, dining, and homegoods store. Make it a point to try using your Hashi-oki the next time you eat a Japanese dish!
The process of putting your chopsticks on the Hashi-oki is said to slow down our eating and help us relax and enjoy our food. It might even help us eat less, at least this is what they say.