For FIRST-TIMEvisitors to Japan

23 Easy & Simple Phrases You Should Learn Before Dining-out in Japan

Master Japan's Dining Etiquette with These Common Phrases

When visiting Japan for the FIRST TIME , these phrases will help you understand menus, make specific requests and communicate with locals.

Back to ALL Japanese Phrases

6 Phrases to use in Restaurants

(or 8 if you have children)
I have allergies (useful phrases in Japanese)

1. I have allergies

A-re-ru-gii Aru

アレルギーある。 A-re-ru-gii Aru.

Much like any other country, Japan has a fair share of people with allergies. However, if you don’t communicate this to the staff, it may result in a potentially life-threatening situation. Informing the staff of your allergies will let them inquire more about what foods they should not serve you. This phrase is also useful if you have any dietary/religious restrictions, because most staff will not question the reason why you can’t eat a certain item. If you have concerns about falling ill or getting injured in Japan, read our article on getting sick while in Japan.

2. Can I have a Fork (Spoon/Knife) please?

Forku (Spoon/Knifu)  puleezu.


Forku/Spoon/Knifu puleezu.

Using chopsticks can be difficult if you aren’t used to them. Use this phrase to let the server know that you would like to use a spoon, fork, or knife instead.

3. Delicious!


うまい! Umai!

“Yummy!”. Japanese people love it when you compliment their dishes. If you ever get the chance to pass your compliments to the chef or the server, you will notice their expression of joy.

4. Is it spicy?


からい? Ka-ra-i?

If you are not use to the food sometimes you may not know wht to expect. If a dish looks hot, you can use this word to ask how hot it is.

5. Do you have Coffee?

Kou-hi- Aru?

コーヒーある? Kou-hi- Aru?

Sometimes you want a cup of coffee, but cannot find it in the menu. In that situation, just ask ‘Kou-hi- Aru?’

6. Take Away / To Go


おもちかえり Omochi-kae-ri

As a result of COVID, the number of restaurants that allow take-out has expanded dramatically. If you’re keen on just ordering food and taking it back to your hotel, say this word to the restaurant staff. However, it’s important to note that you usually aren’t able to take home food if you decide to eat-in at the restaurant.

7. Do you have a baby chair?

Bebi-che-a Aru?

ベビーチェアある。 Bebi-che-a Aru?

This is a very useful phrase if you are traveling Japan with a young child.

Most restaurant chains and hotels and some independent restaurants will have ‘Baby chairs’, so it is definitely worth asking.

8. Do you have a children's menu?

Ko-do-mo Menu Aru?

こどもメニュある? Ko-do-mo Menu Aru?

Japanese restaurants often have special menus for children. ‘This is called Ko-do-mo Menu’ or ‘O-ko-sa-ma-Menu’. They are very popular at family restaurant chains and fast food chains.

5 Phrases to use in Bars & Izakayas

1. Do you offer 'all-you-can-drink' (alcohol)?

Nomi-ho-dai Aru?

のみほうだい Nomi-ho-dai aru?
It is common for many izakayas in Japan to offer “nomihodai”, or all-you-can-drink, options. While some places require you to make a reservation for a nomihodai, some places offer it on the spot. Use this phrase to confirm if they can offer it to you. Nomihodai is usually given a time limit, and is often offered as 60 minutes, 90 minutes, 120 minutes, and 180 minutes options.

2. Non-alcoholic drink

ノンアルコール  Non-aru-kouru
Non-alcoholic drinks are usually standard at any izakaya or bar, although it may be slightly more difficult to find mocktails. If you can’t find the non-alcoholic options on the menu, say this word to the server and they will explain what nonalcoholic options are available.

3. Cheers!




The Japanese equivalent of “Cheers!”. You’ll often hear this phrase by other Japanese people at izakayas or bars. If you’re at an izakaya, don’t be surprised if your bill comes out higher than the total of items you ordered: There’s always a thing called “otoshi”. Click here to learn more about izakayas in Japan.

4. Is this drink strong?



Many drinks are offered in izakayas and bars in Japan, and each have a varying amount of alcohol. If you’re unsure if the drink you want to order is strong, you can always ask this to your server.

5. Can I smoke here?

Tabako OK?
タバコOK?  Tabako OK?
Smoking outside or while walking is often frowned upon, but smokers are allowed to smoke in designated areas and inside food/drink establishments.

10 Common Phrases to know before eating out in Japan

1. Excuse me!


To get the attention of the staff, just say this phrase while holding your hand up high. This phrase is also very common to use if say, for example, you accidentally bump into someone on the street.

2. Can I (we) come in?



As you travel across Japan, you’ll stumble across places that are jam-packed or are reservation-only. It’s not a guarantee that you’ll get seated, especially at popular restaurants or cafes, so this phrase is helpful in confirming if you can or can’t get seated. If there is no seating available, the staff will usually give you an estimated wait time or they will apologize and say that they won’t be able to seat you.

3. What is this?

Kore Nani?
Kore Nani?
English-menus are becoming more common these days, especially in city centers, but there are still many places that use only Japanese menus. You can of course use Google Translate to try to decipher the menu items, but sometimes it doesn’t pick up on certain words and nuances.

4. Can I have water?

Mizu Kuda-sai.


Mizu Kuda-sai

Most restaurants and cafes give out glasses of water when you are seated, but if you run out, just say this with your hand raised and a waiter will re-fill your cup. There are several exceptions though. The first is if you are at a family restaurant: All family restaurants have a self-serve system when it comes to water. The second is a select few restaurants or cafes that run a self-serve system. Basically, if you are seated and a glass of water isn’t brought to you, it’s safe to assume that it is self-serve! Learn more about the types of restaurants and cafes you can find in Japan.

5. Where is the toilet?

Toi-re Doko?

Toi-re Doko?

It’s happened to everyone at some point: You’re enjoying your meal or cup of coffee and then you’re suddenly hit with the need to go to the bathroom. Almost every restaurant or cafe in Japan has a bathroom, and this is a phrase you can use if you can’t seem to find it. Japan is renowned for its cleanliness, and that cleanliness extends to the bathrooms as well. Most places will have a washlet-style toilet with many buttons you can press depending on your needs. Not sure which button means what? Read our article on using Japanese bathrooms!

6. How much is it?



“How much is it/does it cost?” While Japan has its own numbering system, they also use Western-style notations and numbers, and this number will usually be displayed on the menu, on the bill, or at the cash register when you pay.

7. Last Order

Rasuto Ohdah

Rasuto Ohdah

Before closing time, most restaurant staff will drop by your table and ask if you want to make any final orders before they close up for the night.

8. Can I have the bill please?



Done eating? Just say this phrase to the server and they will either bring you the bill or ask that you go to the cash register so they can ring you up.

9. Can I pay by card?

Kah-do OK?

Kah-do OK?

While some places accept credit cards, cash is king in Japan. If they do accept credit cards, make sure to check if your type of credit card is accepted.

10. Do you have an English Menu?

Eigo menu Aru?


Many places will have English menus, so all you have to do is say this word to any staff and they will bring you an English menu!

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2. What is the Japanese Phrase for


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3. What is the Japanese Phrase for

Can I use my Credit Card?

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4. What is the Japanese Phrase for

Excuse Me!

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5. What is the Japanese Phrase for

Excuse Me!

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