What is Shime often referred to in Japanese food?


Written by aki

what is shime

There is a Japanese food culture called “Shime”.

Written in kanji, it is “締め”.
Sometimes it is written in a simplified Kanji, “〆”.


Shime generally means “close”.

Then, do you know what “Shime” used in restaurants and other eating situations refers to?

I think there are 3 distinct patterns.


The meaning of “Shime” when eating NABE

The first pattern is when eating NABE(Japanese hot pot dishes).

Senbei Soup

As mentioned in a previous blog I wrote, in Japan, after eating a nabe dish, rice or noodles are added to the remaining soup. This is called “Shime”.

When you are eating a nabe dish and someone asks you, “What would you like for shime?” When asked, think of it as if you were adding rice or noodles to the nabe and enjoying the last dish.

Shime in JAPAN


The last thing to eat after drinking alcohol

The second pattern is when you are drinking alcohol.
After having drinks at several restaurants, the word “Shime” is used as the “last dish”.

It is generally “ice cream” or “ramen”. This area is a matter of personal preference.
Ramen shops are open until late at night because people go there after drinking.


Yes, there can be special “Shime” in some areas. Hokkaido and Okinawa.


What is Shime in Hokkaido?

In Hokkaido, “Shime parfait” is considered a specialty.

Shime parfait

There is also a restaurant specializing in Shime parfait that is open until midnight.

The reason why Shime is parfait in Hokkaido is because there are many dairy cows.
There are also many delicious fruits because of the vast area. Melons, for example.

Milk and fruit parfaits made in quality locales are a blissful way to end a night of drinking.
I guess people like Shime parfait because it allows them to end the day on a happy note.


What is Shime in Okinawa?

On the other hand, in Okinawa, “steak” is eaten as Shime.

shime in okinawa

Steak after drinking and eating! I am also surprised.

The reason why steak became so popular is because in the past, the only places open until the wee hours of the morning were steak restaurants.

By the way, I also went to Okinawa this winter, but I couldn’t eat steak after eating a lot of rice….

Instead, I had steak for dinner!

Steak restaurants in Okinawa often have a lot of seasonings on the table. You can season them to your liking, so it’s fun trying to find your favorite way to eat them!

okinawa steak


This time I introduced only Hokkaido and Okinawa, but there may be original Shime in other regions as well. I will look for them again.


“Shime” meaning hand clap

Now, finally, here is a third pattern.

In Japan, when a large group of people gather to drink alcohol, they sometimes clap their hands to signal the end. This is sometimes called “Shime”.

"Shime" meaning hand clap


There are three patterns of clapping in Shime.



1. someone says, “Iyooo!” Someone calls out “Iyooo!”.

2. Everyone claps hands in the following rhythm.
Pan-pan-pan, pan-pan-pan, pan-pan-pan, pan-pan-pan, pan(Repeat this three times).



1. someone says, “Iyooo!” Someone calls out “Iyooo!”.

2. Everyone claps hands in the following rhythm.
Pan-pan-pan, pan-pan-pan, pan-pan-pan, pan-pan-pan, pan.


1. someone says, “Iyooo!” Someone calls out “Iyooo!”.

2. Everyone present claps their hands once.


These days, due to Covid-19, the culture of drinking parties with lots of people has itself disappeared, and you don’t see these anymore.


Enjoy the Japanese Shime culture!

Shime has many meanings, but if you ever have a drinking scene in Japan, please try to eat Shime food or clap Shime hands.



Hello! I live in a place called Shiga, Japan. I'm not very good at English, but I'm writing this blog in the hope that I can convey some of Japan's beautiful places and delicious food to people overseas.