Want to know some important Japanese restaurant phrases?
Of course you do. That’s why you’re here.
Thats why I’m here. To teach you Japanese restaurant phrases that you can use to order yummy and unique Japanese foods with no problem.
By the way, if you want to hear REAL Japanese, check out this audio lesson by JapanesePod101. Press play below. Why? It’s one thing to read about Japanese and another to hear native speakers — you learn faster!
- “Survival Phrases S2 #1 – Thank You!”
- Lesson by by JapanesePod101 (click here for more fun audio lessons)
1. _____ mei desu. ＿＿＿名です。A table for _____ please.
If you walk into a Japanese restaurant, often they’ll ask you, “nanmei desu ka?” Or, “how many people?”
So, this phrase is useful for when you first walk into the restaurant. You can indicate to the waiter how many people you need a table for.
If you’re just one person, you can say “hitori.” But, if it’s 2 or 3 of you, you can say “ni mei desu” or “san mei desu.” Of course for that, you should also learn Japanese numbers.
2. Menyuu wa arimasu ka? メニューはありますか？ Is there a menu?
If you need to see the menu, this can be a useful phrase.
Sometimes, it’s helpful to see the menu before deciding on the restaurant. You can also use this before you decide to sit down! Keep in mind that in Japan, there are restaurants without a menu where you might buy tickets from a vending machine, or the menu is written on the walls.
By the way, if you totally forget this Japanese restaurant phrase… at least remember that “menyuu” sounds the same as the English “menu.” So, the staff will understand you if you jus say “menu.”
3. Eigo no menyuu wa arimasuka? 英語のメニューはありますか? Do you have an English menu?
In the touristic cities of Japan, there may be restaurants that can provide you with an English menu. Use this phrase to ask for one. If you can’t read Japanese, many menus in Japan will also have pictures of the food, or plastic models of the food outside of the restaurant!
4. Oomori/Sukuname de onegaishimasu. 大盛り/少なめでお願いします。I’d like to have a large/small portion, please.
In some restaurants it may be common to be able to ask for a larger or smaller portion of food, especially with rice or noodles. This comes from the culture in Japan to not waste any food! It’s considered rude to have leftover food on the plate, so it is more polite to ask for the amount of food you feel comfortable eating.
5. _____ o kudasai. ______ をください。Could I have ______?
This phrase can be used to ask for anything you might need and to also tell the waiter what you want to order.
Simply fill the blank with what you need like water, tea, or something on the menu!
So, in the case of water…
- Mizu o kudasai.
- 水 をください。
- Could I have water?
Similarly, since you that menu in Japanese is “menyuu/メニュー”, you can say…
- Menyuu o kudasai.
- メニュー をください。
- Could I have menu?
6. Sumimasen! すみません! Excuse me!
This phrase can be used to get the waiter’s attention.
You can ask any questions or requests to the waiter after saying “Sumimasen!” In some high-tech restaurants, you may not even need to call the attention of a waiter. The tables might have buttons at each table to call a waiter.
7. Higawari menyuu wa arimasu ka? 日替わりメニューはありますか？ Do you have any daily specials?
Japanese people enjoy eating a variety of foods. One way that restaurants can catch the attention of the customers, is by having a daily special menu. You can use this phrase to see if the restaurant has any daily specials.
8. _____ ga haitte imasu ka? _____が入ってますか? – Is there _____ in this dish?
If you have any dietary concerns you can use this phrase!
You can put an ingredient that you can’t eat into the blank. You can ask about milk, gluten, meat, etc…
9. _____ ga taberaremasen. ＿＿＿＿が食べられません。 – I can’t eat _____.
It’s a good idea to use this phrase to tell the waiter what you can’t eat. Also, if you’re making a reservation for a high-end restaurant where there is a set course meal, be sure to say all of your food intolerances and allergies in advance.
By the way, if you need to know Japanese vegan or vegetarian phrases, check out my other post here:
10. Fooku to naifu ga arimasu ka? フォークとナイフがありますか？ Do you have a fork and knife?
Don’t worry if you’re not completely confident using chopsticks in Japan! Most western style dining will have forks, knives, and spoons. However, if you come across a situation where you feel like you want a knife and fork, you could ask this phrase.
11. Nanpun machimasuka? 何分待ちますか？ – How many minutes will we wait?
In Japan, many popular restaurants will have lines outside the door during peak hours. With foods like ramen and other quick meals, these lines can go relatively fast. However, if you’re wondering how long you might wait, you can ask this phrase.
12. Okawari dekimasu ka? お変わりできますか? – Can I have a refill/seconds?
In most cases, drinks or beverages are non-refillable unless it says something on the menu. If you need to ask if you can get a refill, use this phrase.
You can also use this phrase to get extra Japanese rice if you’re still hungry.
13. Osusume no ____ wa nandesuka? オススメの＿＿＿＿はなんですか？ What is the recommended _____?
If you’re wondering what the waiter recommends, ask this phrase and fill in the blank with the type of food you’re looking for. For example, you could ask for a recommended dessert, drink, or side dish.
Or even easier, you can just directly ask for a general recommendation:
- Osusume wa nan desu ka?
- What’s recommended?
14. __ nuki de onegaishimasu. ___抜きでお願いします。 Without ___ please.
Don’t like wasabi? Or mayonnaise? Don’t want ice in your drink? Well, remember the word, “nuki.” Kind of rhymes like “cookie.”
You can say “wasabi nuki de onegaishimasu” and basically you’re telling them to leave out the wasabi. Or just say whatever other thing you don’t like in front of the “nuki de onegaishimasu” so they can omit it from your order.
15. Otearai wa doko desu ka? お手洗いはどこですか? Where is the bathroom?
This is a polite way to ask about the bathroom.
If you need to use the bathroom in the restaurant, this is a useful phrase.
16. _____ ni yoyaku ga arimasu. ＿＿＿＿に予約があります。I have a reservation for _____.
If you made an advanced reservation, you can tell the waiter this phrase with what time you have the reservation. They’ll also ask your name to confirm!
Or, you can also simply say…
- Yoyaku ga arimasu
- I have a reservation.
At which point, they’ll ask for your name afterwards. But, you can use either phrase.
17. O-kaikei onegaishimasu. お会計お願いします。Check please.
“Kaikei” means check. The “O” makes it more polite. So, when you’re done with a meal and are ready to pay, you can look for a waiter and tell them, “Okaikei onegaishimasu.”
18. Betsu betsu de onegai shimasu. 別々でお願いします。I’d like to pay separately.
This is useful if you want to pay separately. In Japan, there is more of a culture of paying for other people, especially if you are older or of a higher social hierarchy. It’s good to use this phrase to make it clear to the waiter that you wish to pay separately.
19. Genkin nomi desu ka? 現金のみですか？ – Is it cash only?
Many places in Japan are still cash only, and there is not as much credit/debit cards being used as in other countries. You can ask this phrase to check if it is cash only.
20. Totemo oishikatta desu! とても美味しかったです！ – It was very delicious!
You can express your appreciation for the food with this phrase. It can be nice to say this to the waiter or the chef if you enjoyed your meal!
21. Gochisou sama deshita! ごちそうさまでした！Thank you for the meal!
Now, this phrase does not literally mean “thank you for the meal.” This is a Japanese set phrase. Set phrases are time/culture-specific phrases you’d automatically say on specific occasions. Kind of like “bless you” when someone sneezes. Japanese has a lot of them and while it’s hard to translate them literally, they do carry certain meanings.
What it literally means is, “you were a feast giver.”
However, Japanese people say this after a meal to the cook to thank them for the feast. So, when you’re done with a meal, you can say that. For example, when you’re leaving a sushi restaurant, the chefs will all loudly thank you and you can use this phrase out loud as you get up.
Now you know a whole bunch of Japanese restaurant phrases.
If you’re looking for a phrasebook to learn even more, check out my other article here: Japanese Phrasebook Collection: Top 10 Books for Learners.
Do you know any other Japanese restaurant phrases?
Leave a comment below.
The Main Lingua Junkie
Upon entering a restaurant, customers are greeted with the expression "irasshaimase" meaning "welcome, please come in". The waiter or waitress will ask you how many people are in your party and then lead you to your table.What do Japanese say before every meal? ›
Before eating, Japanese people say "itadakimasu," a polite phrase meaning "I receive this food." This expresses thanks to whoever worked to prepare the food in the meal.What is the most popular Japanese phrase? ›
#1 Konnichiwa (こんにちは) – Hello. #2 Ohayou gozaimasu (おはようございます) – Good morning. #3 Konbanwa (こんばんは) – Good evening. #4 Moshi moshi (もしもし) – Hello (but only if you're on the phone or something like Skype)What are 4 phrases commonly spoken in Japanese? ›
- Ohayou-gozaimasu (おはようございます): Good morning.
- Kon'nichiwa (こんにちは): Hello (during daytime only)
- Konbanwa (こんばんは): Good evening/hello (during evening/night) ...
- Arigatou gozaimasu (ありがとうございます): Thank you. ...
- Hai (はい): Yes.
- Iie (いいえ): No.
When paying, it's common to ask if you would like to pay together or separately. If you would like to pay separately, you should reply with, “betsu betsu de (onegaishimasu)”. This means “separately (please)”.What is okyakusama? ›
Okyakusama wa kamisama, which directly translates into “the guests are god”, is the ethos of the stellar customer service in Japan. Underlying this god-like treatment, however, is the heart and soul of Japanese hospitality.What is the Japanese word for eating 80%? ›
Hara Hachi Bu: Stop Eating When You're 80% Full
If you've ever been lucky enough to eat with an Okinawan elder, you've invariably heard them intone this Confucian-inspired adage before beginning the meal: hara hachi bu — a reminder to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full.
At the start of a meal, used idiomatically to mean "I humbly receive this food", vaguely similar to how some people say grace before eating.How do you reply to Itadakimasu? ›
The standard phrase before a meal, “Itadakimasu” comes from the verb, “itadaku”, a humble way of saying, to eat and receive. The person who prepared the meal would reply, “Douzo meshiagare” which means, “Please help yourself.”How do you memorize Japanese phrases? ›
- Use repetition: reading, writing and speaking words over and over again.
- Associate words with drawings, pictures and funny scenes.
- Try to use the language routinely in the context of daily life.
- Reading as much as possible, especially the newspaper, helps you to remember words.
Hiragana is the most basic of the 3 sets of alphabet for it is the foundation of the written Japanese language. It is the first set of characters that new language learners and children learn when they start studying. Hiragana is easier to learn when compared to Katakana and Kanji.What are the easiest Japanese words? ›
- O-negai shimasu. Please. おねがいします。
- Arigatō. Thank you. ありがとう。
- Dōitashimashite. You're welcome. どういたしまして。
- Sumimasen. Excuse me. すみません。
- Gomennasai. I am sorry. ごめんなさい。
- Ohayō gozaimasu. Good morning. おはようございます。
- Konbanwa. Good evening. こんばんは。
- O-yasumi nasai. Good night. おやすみなさい。
What is a haiku? The haiku is a Japanese poetic form that consists of three lines, with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third. The haiku developed from the hokku, the opening three lines of a longer poem known as a tanka.What Japanese words should I learn first? ›
- こんにちは (Konnichiwa) - Hello.
- ありがとう (Arigatou) - Thank you.
- すみません (Sumimasen) - Excuse me / I am sorry.
- はい (Hai) - Yes.
- いいえ (Iie) - No.
- おはようございます (Ohayou gozaimasu) - Good morning.
- こんばんは (Konbanwa) - Good evening.
- さようなら (Sayonara) - Goodbye.
Yokka. the 4th of the month.What does Yokka mean in Japanese? ›
This study deals with expressions containing the adverb futsū-ni 'ordinarily/usually' in Japanese.What does Oni Baba mean in Japanese? ›
Name. Onibaba's name is a combination of the Japanese words oni (鬼), meaning "demon," and baba (婆), meaning "old woman" or "hag." Onibaba is considered to be the older variety of Kijo, a kind of female demon, thus giving it its name.What is Oremo Japanese? ›
English translation:I want to see you too. Explanation: Oremo aitai means: I want to see you too.What is moemoe in Japanese? ›
Moe (萌え, Japanese pronunciation: [mo. e] ( listen)), sometimes romanized as moé, is a Japanese word that refers to feelings of strong affection mainly towards characters in anime, manga, video games, and other media directed at the otaku market.
Originating in the Muromachi period (1336–1573) as shibushi, the term originally referred to a sour or astringent taste, such as that of an unripe persimmon. Shibui maintains that literal meaning still, and remains the antonym of amai (甘い), meaning 'sweet'.What is the Japanese rule of eating? ›
Never raise your food above your mouth.
Your mouth is the highest point your chopsticks should ever reach. No need for a staring contest with your nigiri before you eat it. You've already won the battle, time to reap the reward.
Food models (shokuhin sampuru), also known as fake foods or food samples are a model or replica of a food item made from plastic, wax, resin or similar material. These models are commonly used in restaurant street displays in Japan to represent the dishes available inside.What does ma ma desu mean? ›
Meaning : OK, not bad. Example : まあまあです。 maa maa desu. It's normal.What do Japanese people say before drinking? ›
In Japan, an enthusiastic “kanpai!,” which translates to empty cup, isn't just a celebratory way to cheer, it's a respected pre-drinking ritual. So New Year's Eve or not, don't even think about chugging a beer (or sake) in Japan before everyone at your table has said: “Kan-pie!”What is Bon Appetit in Japanese? ›
Itadakimasu, the Japanese way to say Bon Appetit.How do you respond to Dozo? ›
The person who wipes the snow off the chairlift and then motions you to move ahead usually says, 'douzo'. You can reply, 'doumo'.Is it rude to leave food on your plate in Japan? ›
Don't leave food behind. It's considered bad manners to leave even grains of rice behind, so be sure to clean your plate! If there are some foods you cannot eat, ask to have them left out of the dish. Do use the opposite end of chopsticks to pick up food from a shared dish.What do Japanese say when you enter a store? ›
Enter any store or restaurant in Japan and you are almost certain to hear the same two words: “Irasshaimase konnichiwa!” (Literally, “Welcome hello!”) These earnest multisyllabic greetings from clerks are inescapable in virtually every retailer, both in big cities and small towns across the length of the country.What does Kudasai mean? ›
When you ask somebody to do something in Japanese, you say TE-form verbs and then KUDASAI (Please, or I would ask you to).
For starters, Japanese has three writing systems: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Kanji includes over 50,000 different characters, however, you only need to know about 2,000 of them to be considered fluent. You also only need to know about 5,000 Japanese vocabulary words to be considered fluent as well.What is the easiest Japanese dialect to learn? ›
You can speak standard Japanese (often called 標準語 ,ひょうじゅんご, hyoujungo, which is “standard Japanese,” or 共通語, きょうつうご, kyoutsuugo, the “common language”), and most people will understand you easily.What is the hardest Japanese to write? ›
The Most Difficult Japanese Kanji on Record: たいと(Taito)
たいと(taito) is the most difficult Japanese Kanji on the record with a total of 84 strokes. It is formed by combining 3 雲 (くもkumo) with 3 龍 (りゅうRyuu). 雲 means cloud and 龍 means dragon in English.
- 10 Cute Japanese Words with Meaning.
- かわいい (kawaii) — Cute. Of course, the first one of our Japanese cute words is… ...
- ときどき (tokidoki) — Sometimes. ...
- くらくら (kurakura) — Dizzy. ...
- あたらしい (atarashii) — New. ...
- にこにこ (nikoniko) — Smile. ...
- おいしい (oishii) — Delicious. ...
- もも (momo) — Peach.
七転び八起き (nana korobi ya oki) English Translation: “Fall seven times, get up eight.” This is definitely one of the most famous Japanese proverbs. You've probably heard the English version: “If at first you don't succeed, try and try again.”What is 3 eyes in Japanese? ›
Sanpaku gan (三白眼) or sanpaku (三白) is a Japanese term meaning "three whites". It was introduced into English by George Ohsawa in the mid-1960s. It is generally referred to in English as "sanpaku eyes" and refers to eyes in which either the white space above or below the iris is revealed.Do Japanese use three dots? ›
Ellipsis was adopted into Japanese from European languages. The ellipsis is often three dots or six dots (in two groups of three dots), though variations in number of dots exist.Why is 3 lucky in Japan? ›
It represents creation, time (past, present, and future), and the three elements of body, mind and spirit. When pronounced as a counting number, 3 can also be mittsu. This sounds like the word 蜜 (mitsu), meaning honey. Honey can be a metaphor for prosperity.How do you say sorry in Japanese? ›
One of the most casual and most frequently used words is "gomen" ごめん. You can make it more formal by saying "gomen-nasai" ごめんなさい or more friendly with "gomen-ne" ごめんね. "Warui warui" 悪い悪い or "my bad" is also a very casual way to say sorry.How do you say no in anime? ›
The Japanese Word for 'No'
It is the most straightforward, blunt way of doing it, while the casual way of saying “no” is いや (iya). In common parlance, most people say いえ (ie) rather than いいえ (iie) due to the awkward pause that the extra い (i) syllable adds.
Hiragana: の, Romaji: no
Next, の (no) as a Japanese particle indicates possession. While the word order looks a bit different, it works like 's (apostrophe s) or of. Watashi no namae wa Naomi desu. わたし の なまえ は なおみ です。 “My name is Naomi.”
There are about 128 million native Japanese speakers worldwide. This makes Japanese the 9th most widely spoken language in the world in terms of native speakers. Japanese is the official language of Japan, and it's also most widely spoken there.Is there a word for love in Japanese? ›
愛 (ai): love. 恋 (koi): love. 恋愛 (renai): love, falling in love. 好き (suki): like, affection.What is the most used Japanese letter? ›
Hiragana is the most commonly used, standard form of Japanese writing.How do you greet customers in Japanese? ›
- This is the standard greeting you'll hear across Japan by staff of not just convenience stores, but of cafes, restaurants, shops – most places where retail and customer service are present.
- You don't need to respond or acknowledge the greeting.
When you enter restaurants and shops, you will hear all the staff say "irasshaimase" to say hello to the customer. Don't be afraid, the staff don't wait for any reply, but you can say thank you with a nod and a smile.What do staff say in Japanese restaurant? ›
“Irasshaimase” is an example of such a phrase. Most travelers encounter the phrase “Irasshaimase!” (いらっしゃいませ！), which translates as “Welcome to the business!” or “Please come in!” within minutes of arriving in any Japanese restaurant.What do waiters say to customers in Japan? ›
- Irasshaimase. ("Welcome to our store" - upon customer entering the store.) - Arigatou gozaimashita.What is a casual Japanese greeting? ›
Konnichiwa is used broadly throughout the day and is what you'll usually see translated as simply “hello” as you learn Japanese.How do you respond to Arigato? ›
FAQ: What is the reply to arigatou? If you take Japanese lessons, you'll probably learn that the proper response to arigatou is do itashimashite (どういたしまして), meaning “you're welcome.” However, that's very rarely used in modern Japanese conversation except in more formal situations.
When someone greets you in Japanese with “Konnichiwa” it is best to respond with the same phrase “Konnichiwa”.How do you say no thank you in Japanese politely? ›
だいじょうぶ (daijoubu) - “No Thanks” 違う (chigau) - “That's not right” すみません (sumimasen) - “I'm sorry/Thank you but…”Is it polite to tip in a Japanese restaurant? ›
Tipping in Japan is not expected, and attempts to leave a tip will almost certainly be turned down (a potentially awkward moment). In Japan, it's thought that by dining out or drinking at a bar, you are already paying the establishment for good service.What is considered disrespectful in Japanese restaurants? ›
When eating from shared dishes (as it is commonly done at some restaurants such as izakaya), it is polite to use the opposite end of your chopsticks or dedicated serving chopsticks for moving food to your own dish. Blowing your nose at the table, burping and audible munching are considered bad manners in Japan.What do Japanese say after eating? ›
Itadakimasu is said when you start eating but, when the meal is over, remember to give thanks again using the phrase gochisousama, which is a sign of respect towards the chef. This translates as a more formal way of saying “it was a feast,'' as the word gochiso refers to a meal of luxurious foods.What do cashiers say in Japan? ›
After paying, the cashier will ask you if you want your receipt. They ask this because in Japan, many people don't take the receipt. To answer yes, then just say “Hai, onegaishimasu” (はい、おねがいします) Which means “Yes, please”. And to answer no, then say “Daijobu desu” (大丈夫です) which means “No, thank you”.How do you ask for a fork in Japanese? ›
Fōku to spūn kudasai.
"Please give me a fork and a spoon." You can use “[object] kudasai” in almost every situation you need something.
Both “arigatou” and “arigatou gozaimasu” can be used to thank someone doing something for you, for example, to a waitress refilling your water, and “doumo arigatou gozaimasu” to thank someone for a bigger favor or when you have received a gift.