When dining at a fine Japanese restaurant, after the raw, fried, vinegared, steamed and simmered courses, if you still have room, the final savory course of rice — gohanmono — appears. It might also be called o-shokuji, or simply meshi, the colloquial word for rice.

No matter what you call it, gohanmono is a category that includes simple dishes, such as white rice or the understated rice gruel, as well as more complicated rice dishes, such as rice mixed with other grains and mounded rice with a dry or wet topping. Shaped rice creations such as musubi, or even one of the many kinds of sushi, may be served in this final course as well. The general rule for this last course is to keep it simple: The gohanmono should wind up the meal not on a high hanging note, but on a solid, perhaps even minor note, like the Japanese national anthem, "Kimigayo."

Even if the customer is too full to accept a rice dish, the digestif of seasonal tsukemono pickles and belly-warming tea will nevertheless be presented. Small bites of salty-strong pickles should complement the plain goodness of the hot rice. Tea is there just to warm the soul and signal the finale.