Fun Phrases You Can Use in a Japanese Restaurant

Japanese-waitressJapanese is a culture of etiquette and rituals.  You will have a lot more fun at a Japanese restaurant and get more attention and respect from your host if you can show your appreciation by using a few polite phrases in Japanese.

The following is a short list which you can master in minutes.  Use them next time you go out. You are bound to get better service and warm smiles in return!

Say “Hello” when you walk in
Konnichiwa  (kon-ni-chi-WAH)
A polite, small bow will help a lot!

Call your waiter, waitress or chef politely
Sumimasen  (Soo-mee-MAH-sen):  Literally, “Excuse me.”

Show your appreciation when served
Itadakimas  (ee-tah-DAH-kee-mas):  Literally, “I humbly receive.”  This is a very polite, invaluable phrase to use just as you are being served, and before you take the first bite (or sip.)   It is roughly the equivalent of saying grace in the west before a meal.

Say the food or drink you just tasted was delicious
Oishi! (o-EE-shee):  Delicious.  Alternatively, you can express your appreciation more by saying “Oishiiiiii…” emphatically!

Say “Cheers” when you drink beer, sake, …
Kampai! :  Cheers!

Say “Thank you”
Domo :  Thanks.
Arigato:  Thank you.
Domo arigato:  Thank you much.
Domo arigato gozaimas:  Thank you very much.

Say “I enjoyed the food” at the end
Gochiso-sama! (goh-chee-so-sah-mah):  Literally, “abundant.”
Gochiso-sama deshita! :  More polite “It was abundant.”  Say either one at the end of your meal, or to the host, cashier or chef after you have paid your bill and want to leave the restaurant.  You can make a better impression by adding a “Thank you” and say:
Gochiso-sama deshita!  Arigato

Bid farewell
Sayonara (sah-YO-na-ra): Goodbye.

Yoshi

Yoshi

Yoshi is a contributing editor for Miyazaki Whispers. She holds a 5-dan rank in Japanese Kyudo Archery, and has lived and worked in Japan, UK and US in global marketing and as an IT localization professional. Yoshi's interests are Japanese and western cuisine and kimono art.
Yoshi

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Yoshi

About Yoshi

Yoshi is a contributing editor for Miyazaki Whispers. She holds a 5-dan rank in Japanese Kyudo Archery, and has lived and worked in Japan, UK and US in global marketing and as an IT localization professional. Yoshi's interests are Japanese and western cuisine and kimono art.
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One Response to Fun Phrases You Can Use in a Japanese Restaurant

  1. Alex Trodder says:

    I’m a big fan of Japanese cuisine. I love how they focus on simplicity and aesthetics for their dishes. I know a few words and phrases in Japanese, but I’ll have to use the phrase, “Gochiso-sama deshita! Arigato!” the next time I go to a Japanese restaurant. Thanks for the list of words and phrases.

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