Useful Phrases at Restaurants (When Entering a Restaurant in Japan)

When you think of exciting things to do on a trip, sightseeing, shopping, and of course, eating gourmet food come to mind, correct? If you know some simple Japanese phrases, you’ll be able to discover some great restaurants a lot more quickly and smoothly. This time, we’d like to introduce some useful phrases that you can use when entering a restaurant in Japan.


Japanese Culture

When Entering

When you enter a store, you’ll first be asked by the staff on how many people are in your party, so be sure to tell them.


Irasshaimase. Nanmeisama desu ka?

Welcome. How many are in your party?


“Irasshaimase” is a phrase used by staff to welcome customers to the store. In casual stores, they may just say “Irasshaimase” and guide you to your seat without asking how many people are in your party.


Futari desu.

Two people.



Words to Describe How Many People Are in Your Party


One person / Two people / Three people / Four people

If No Tables Are Available

At popular restaurants or during lunch time, Friday nights, and other occasions, there may be times when the shop is so busy that there are no seats available. During those times, the staff will say the following phrase.


Moushiwake gozaimasen. Manseki desu.

I'm sorry. All the seats are taken.


“Moushiwake gozaimasen”is a word used to apologize to others.

Checking For a Non-Smoking Area

In Japan, some stores completely ban smoking while others are progressing to separated smoking and non-smoking areas. However, there are also restaurants that still don’t have separated areas. Those that don’t deal well with the smell of tobacco or smoke should take note of these phrases.


Kinenseki wa ari masu ka?

Do you have non-smoking seats?

Moushiwake gozaimasen.
Zenseki kitsuenseki desu. 

I'm sorry.
All the seats allow smoking.

Checking For Seats That Allow Smoking

On the other hand, those that smoke should remember these phrases.


Kitsuenseki wa ari masu ka?

Do you have smoking seats?



Yes, we do.


“Gozaimasu”is a more polite way to say “Arimasu”.

Being Guided to Your Seat

When the staff are guiding you to your seat, they will say this phrase.


Kochira e goannai shimasu.

Please follow me to your seat.


If the store has counter seats and table seats, prior to guiding you to your seat, they may ask you which type of seat you would prefer. In that scenario, make sure you tell them your preference.

(With the Cooperation of) STANDING BAR PARE

This store has a standing bar on the 1st floor, table seats on the 2nd floor, and actual bar seats on the 3rd floor. They have over 100 different types of drinks available, such as cocktails, whiskies, and sake. They have many dishes that go well with alcohol, so this bar is recommended to anyone looking to enjoy a drink at a reasonable price.

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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