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
What Japanese usually say before eating? ›
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 do Japanese say when leaving a restaurant? ›
Mata ne (see you later), ja ne (well then), or the even more casual bai bai (yes, the Japanification of bye bye) are your best bet. If you do know when you'll meet again, go for mata plus a date (ashita for tomorrow, or raishu for next week, etc).What will you say when you want to get the attention of the waiter in Japanese? ›
- Ordering drinks. Once you are at your table with a menu, the waiter or waitress might ask “お飲み物は?” (onomi mono wa? ...
- Getting your server's attention. If you ever need your server's attention, you can always just raise your hand and say “すみません” (sumimasen – Excuse me). ...
- Ordering your meal.
What do you have to say in response to Irasshaimase?
- Ohayo gozaimasu. ( It means Good morning)
- Konnichiwa (it means Hello in the daytime)
- Konbanwa (it means Good evening).
- Alternatively, you might simply nod as a casual bow.
At shops and restaurants, customers are typically welcomed by the staff with the greeting "irasshaimase". No response from the customer is required, and a smile and a nod with the head would suffice for those who want to reciprocate the greeting.Why do Japanese say let's eat? ›
As a way to say “let's eat”
For the younger generation, they keep saying “itadakimasu” to say “let's eat”. They just want to thank others for the delicious meal. Although they kind of lost the essence, they still do it anyway.
3) Hirugohan (lunch)
Lunch in Japan just as asa means morning, hiru means noon. So hirugohan literally means “noontime meal.”
Itadakimasu, the Japanese way to say Bon Appetit. Saying Itadakimasu before a meal is a significant piece. of Japanese etiquette, try saying it before your meal.What Japanese say before and after eating? ›
Greetings Used Before and After Meals: “Itadakimasu” and “Gochisosama” Before eating meals, Japanese people join their hands in front of their chests and say, “itadakimasu.” After finishing, they perform the same gesture and say, “gochisosama.” These greetings are part of a day-to-day manner.What do Japanese chefs yell? ›
"Irasshaimase!" the chefs are all yelling in unison the moment you enter their restaurant. It's a surprise the first time it happens but get used to it, it's standard practice throughout Japan.
What is Onegaishimasu? ›
Both kudasai (ください）and onegaishimasu（お願いします) are Japanese words used when making a request for items. In many cases, these two Japanese words, which translate roughly as "please" or "please give me," are interchangeable.How do you ask for the bill in Japanese restaurant? ›
Asking for the bill in Japanese
Literally, “kaikei” means “account”, and an “o” is added to the front to make it more polite. “Onegaishimasu” is a polite word used when asking for something, much like the word “kudasai”.
Sumimasen / Excuse me
If the [sumimasen] pronunciation is difficult, you can also say [suimasen]. At Japanese restaurants, it's okay to call out for a waiter/waitress. Slightly raise your hand and call out "sumimasen".
Arigatou / Arigatou Gozaimasu
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.
Ie ie / No no (Not at all/No problem) A phrase that you will often hear as a reply to "arigato gozaimasu" is "ie ie".What do Japanese cashiers say? ›
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”.What is Itadakimasu? ›
The short answer: While it's often translated before meals as something similar to the French, “Bon appétit!”, itadakimasu is actually the polite and humble form of the verb “to receive”, so in a literal sense, it means, “I humbly receive”.What do waiters say in Japan? ›
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 are 5 table manners in Japan? ›
- Only Use Wet Towels to Wipe Your Hands. ...
- Say Thanks Before and After Your Meal. ...
- Use Chopsticks the Right Way. ...
- Hold Your Rice Bowl While Eating. ...
- Don't Eat with Elbows on the Table. ...
- Slurp While Eating Noodles and Drinking Tea. ...
- No Leftovers is Basic Etiquette.
1. Deny it politely - This is considered quite polite in japan, and is what most Japanese would do if you complimented them. 2. Thank them - This is also quite polite, especially when it your the compliment is quite obviously true.
What does NOMU mean in Japanese? ›
Conjugation of Japanese verb nomu - to drink 飲むWhat is Taberu? ›
Conjugation of Japanese verb taberu - to eat 食べるWhat is Tabemashita? ›
As you can see above, ” tabemashita ” means , “I ate” in Japanese. “I ate ~ ” is simply said, ” ~ o tabemashita” in Japanese. Let's try making some sentences using the words below.What do Japanese eat every day? ›
The diet is rich in steamed rice, noodles, fish, tofu, natto, seaweed, and fresh, cooked, or pickled fruits and vegetables but low in added sugars and fats. It may also contain some eggs, dairy, or meat, although these typically make up a small part of the diet.What is Japanese breakfast? ›
Typically, a traditional Japanese breakfast consists of steamed rice, miso soup, a protein such as grilled fish, and various side dishes.What is a famous Japanese saying? ›
Don't give up.” 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.” It's another phrase that means “don't give up!”What is Yosh in Japanese? ›
This phrase means something like, “OK, I'm going for it,” or “I'll do my best.” A Japanese would say “Ganbarimasu” before taking a test or leaving the house for a job interview.
Japan's most internationally famous dish, sushi is also internationally misunderstood. Most people are mistaken in believing that sushi is simply raw fish. Rather, good sushi is a vigilant combination of vinegared rice, raw fish and vegetables and comes in many different forms.What does Gochisousamadeshita mean? ›
When a question that goes “What is gochisou?” is posed to a Japanese, he/she would answer “a good meal”. When Japanese people truly enjoyed the meal and loved to express their heartfelt thanks, they would use “Gochisousamadeshita!”. Clapping hands together again. “Gochisousamadeshita!”What do Japanese say before drinking? ›
The easiest way to say cheers in Japanese is with an enthusiastic kanpai! (sounds like "gahn-pie"). You may hear banzai! shouted at some point, but leave that for some frenzied moment later.
How do you thank a Japanese chef? ›
Domo arigato gozaimasta: Similar to “domo sumimasen” or “domo arigato gozaimasu”, but said after the completion of a meal or activity, rather than during such activity. Oishikatta desu: This is the Japanese way to say “it was delicious”, commonly said to a chef following a meal.How do you say thank you in Japanese restaurant? ›
Saying Thank You in Japanese
Arigato: A standard “thank you”. Domo: A less polite, more informal way to say “thank you”. Domo arigato: A more polite alternative to “arigato”, the equivalent of saying “thank you very much”. Domo sumimasen: A very polite “thank you”.
' I must shout, 'Irashaimasu' (Japanese for welcome).What do Japanese people say when you walk into a store? ›
Within minutes of entering Japan, virtually all tourists encounter the phrase “Irasshaimase!” (いらっしゃいませ！), meaning “Welcome to the store!” or “Come on in!.”What is Ganbatte? ›
Ganbare/ganbatte is often translated as 'good luck', 'do your best' or 'break a leg', but as will be discussed in this article, there's more to it than that.Is Kudasai rude? ›
Kudasai is not rude in any sense but one does have to be careful with the type of Japanese you use in different situations. You just need to know how to use the Japanese you knoe correctly, who to use them with, and when the appropriate time to use it is.Are U OK Japanese? ›
大丈夫ですか？ (daijōbu desu ka?) is probably the most natural way to ask, “are you okay?” in Japanese.What is Gojuon in Japanese? ›
In the Japanese language, the gojūon (五十音, Japanese pronunciation: [ɡo(d)ʑɯꜜːoɴ], lit. "fifty sounds") is a traditional system ordering kana characters by their component phonemes, roughly analogous to alphabetical order. The "fifty" (gojū) in its name refers to the 5×10 grid in which the characters are displayed.What does hitotsu mean in English? ›
The Japanese word hitotsu (written 一つ or 1つ) means one or one of something. Japanese people often use hitotsu to order a single item at a restaurant or bar.How do you signal a check in Japan? ›
Also in a restaurant or cafe context, it can be a little confusing at times when using Western hand signals indicating that you want the check. The easiest approach in Japan: simply make eye contact with your server and make a small "X" with your fingers - the check will come along soon!
How do you greet a Japanese name? ›
The most common honorific in Japanese is '-san', which can be used to address both females and males with either the given name or surname. For example, someone with the name Riku TANAKA may be addressed as Riku-san or TANAKA-san. The honorific '-sama' is a more polite and formal version of '-san'.What is it called when you sit on the floor in a Japanese restaurant? ›
Tatami Seating (Zashiki)
Zashiki is a traditional Japanese restaurant seating arrangement featuring a low table set on tatami flooring. It's found in more traditional Japanese restaurants, izakaya, and kaiseki restaurants.
Meshiagare: “bon appétit”
In Japan, the equivalent phrase is meshiagare, which would be said by the chef or host to show that the food has been served and is ready to eat.
DOMO means "very". It's especially helpful when stressing appreciation or making an apology. When you buy something at a store, store clerk would say "DOMO ARIGATOU", meaning thank you "very much". You can also use DOMO as a greeting like "hello".What do you say after eating in Japanese? ›
After eating, people once again express their thanks for the meal by saying "gochiso sama deshita," which literally means "it was quite a feast."What is the meaning of irasshaimase? ›
'Irasshaimase' means 'Welcome to my shop/restaurant' and is just one of the many formal Japanese ways of politely welcoming new customers.How do you address a waiter in Japan? ›
If the [sumimasen] pronunciation is difficult, you can also say [suimasen]. At Japanese restaurants, it's okay to call out for a waiter/waitress. Slightly raise your hand and call out "sumimasen".How do you use Itadakimasu in Japanese? ›
In its simplest form, Itadakimasu 頂きます いただ is used before receiving something. That's why the most common itadakimasu translation is: 頂きます（いただきます） to receive; to get; to accept; to take (humble).What is Domo arigato? ›
When you buy something at a store, store clerk would say "DOMO ARIGATOU", meaning thank you "very much". You can also use DOMO as a greeting like "hello". And just saying DOMO can mean a casual way of "thank you" like thanks. The name of NHK WORLD's mascot comes from this word, DOMO.What is yokoso? ›
Yokoso (ようこそ) means welcome or welcome to in Japanese. You might hear this word when visiting someone's home or school. Yokoso also features on those signs at the airport welcoming you to Japan!
What is Hajimemashite? ›
1. Hajimemashite! (Pronunciation: ha-jee-may-mashtay) Meaning: Nice to meet you!How do you greet a Japanese name? ›
The most common honorific in Japanese is '-san', which can be used to address both females and males with either the given name or surname. For example, someone with the name Riku TANAKA may be addressed as Riku-san or TANAKA-san. The honorific '-sama' is a more polite and formal version of '-san'.What is considered rude in Japanese restaurant? ›
It is considered rude to pass food from one set of chopsticks to another. Family-style dishes and sharing is common with Asian food. Just make sure to take your portion without offending anyone. If no serving utensil is provided, use your chopsticks to move food to your plate.What do Japanese say after a meal? ›
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 is Doitashimashite? ›
- Dou itashimashite. ...is the standard phrase meaning "You are welcome." However, saying "dou itashimashite" means you've accepted the thanks, and this can sound like you deserve the thanks. So some people go humble and say: - Iie, tondemo arimasen.What does ya mero mean in Japanese? ›
What is the meaning of “Yamero”? Yamero literally means “stop it!”. It is often used in the sense of telling someone to stop doing something, so perhaps “cut it out” or “quit it!” are better translations. やめろ