Written by Miki Takeshita
100 Phrases To Memorize Before Traveling To Japan
Want to help you trip to Japan go smoothly? Here are 100 useful expressions covering major topics like shopping, restaurants and emergencies to help you along in most situations.
これください KORE KUDASAI (Ko-re ku-da-sigh)
I want this.
お願いします ONEGAISHIMASU (O-ne-guy-she-mas)
When you are offered something by the staff and you would like to have it, say this phrase.
大丈夫です DAIJOUBUDESU (Die-joe-bu-des)
No, thank you.
If you want to decline that offer, then this is what you should say.
いくら？ IKURA? (E-ku-ra)
How much is this?
おすすめ OSUSUME (O-sue-sue-may)
試食/試飲 SHISHOKU/SHIIN (She-sho-ku/She-n)
Food tasting, Drink Tasting
牛丼 GYUDON (Gyu-don)
A bowl of rice with sliced beef on top.
たこ焼き TAKOYAKI (Tah-ko-yah-ki)
Fried octopus dumplings.
お好み焼き OKONOMIYAKI (O-ko-no-mi-yah-ki)
Meat (or seafood) and vegetable pancakes.
和風 WAFUU (Wa-fu)
無料 MURYOU (Mu-ryoh)
大盛り OOMORI (Oh-moh-ri)
You sometimes might find this word in combination with "無料", which means you can eat more for the same price!
食べ放題/飲み放題 TABEHOUDAI/NOMIHOUDAI (Tah-beh-hoh-die/Noh-mi-hoh-die)
Quite a number of restaurants and bars offer such food and drink plans.
トイレ/お手洗い/化粧室 TOIRE/OTEARAI/KESHOSHITSU (Toy-re/O-teh-ah-rai/Keh-show-she-tsu)
OTEARAI and KESHOSHITSU are formal expressions for the bathroom used in restaurants or hotels.
ベジタリアン/菜食 VEGETARIAN/SAISHOKU (Beh-ji-tah-ri-an/Sigh-sho-ku)
Vegetarian and organic dining is gaining in popularity in Japan, but can be hard to find at standard restaurants. Ask the staff just in case.
いただきます ITADAKIMASU (I-tah-da-ki-mas)
A phrase showing gratitude to the people who made the ingredients and cooked the dish. It is a basic manner to say this before eating the food.
おいしい OISHII (O-e-she)
おかわり OKAWARI (O-ka-wa-ri)
ごちそうさまでした GOCHISOSAMADESHITA (Go-chi-so-u-sah-mah-de-she-tah)
Phrase similar to ITADAKIMASU, but you say this after your food is done. Don't forget to say it otherwise that is considered as rude to the cooks.
居酒屋 IZAKAYA (I-za-ka-ya)
日本酒 NIHONSHU (Ni-ho-n-shoe)
地酒 ZIZAKE (Zi-za-ke)
焼酎 SHOUCHUU (Show-chu-u)
Distilled liquor made mainly from rice, barley, or potatoes.
Strong Okinawa liquor
枝豆 EDAMAME (E-da-ma-me)
Green boiled and salted soybeans
乾杯 KANPAI (Kan-pai)
ホステル HOSTEL (Ho-sue-te-lu)
カプセルホテル CAPSULE HOTEL (Ca-pu-seh-lu-ho-te-lu)
A typical hotel in Japan that only one capsule is given for each guest, instead of rooms.
旅館 RYOKAN (Ryo-kan)
A Japanese-style hotel
民宿 MINSHUKU (Min-shoe-ku)
A Japanese-style private guesthouse
素泊まり SUDOMARI (Sue-do-ma-ri)
Bed without meals (just a place to stay the night)