Japanese Essentials: How to Order Take Out in Japan

Posted by on August 24, 2017 – Japanese Study
Take Out

In Japan many chain restaurants offer a take out option on their menu. In a country where every one’s busy working, this option is quite convenient. In this article we will learn how to order our food in a natural sounding way.

Sample Sentence:

Take out (please).

かえり which translates to takeout, comes from the verb かえる, meaning “to bring back” or “to carry home”.

The prefix お makes the noun sound more polite and the particle で, in this context, indicate a mean or a method. The particle translates “by”, “with”, “by means of” or “in”. It implies that you make a choice from a series of option. Here, you opt for takeout over eating in the restaurant. You should add おねがいします to sound more polite, but this phrase is often skipped by Japanese themselves. No time to waste when ordering food!

When entering a restaurant you’ll often be asked:

いらっしゃいませ、こちらでおがりですか。(Waiter: Welcome. Would you like to eat in?)


いらっしゃいませ、店内てんないでおがりですか。(Welcome. Would you like to eat in (the restaurant)).

がり is a noun coming from the verb がる a very formal way to say “to eat”, to show respect for the clients. Here again, お is added to the noun.

If you want to take out you can answer いいえ、おかえりで(おねがいします)(No, takeout please) or if you want to eat in you can say はい、ここで (Yes, here) or はい、店内てんないで (Yes, here).

If you’re in a fast food restaurant, the waiter might ask directly if you’re ordering takeout:

店員: いらっしゃいませ、おかえりですか。
Waiter: Welcome, is this for takeout?

You can then answer: はい、おかえりで(おねがいします)(Yes, take out (please)).

The waiter will follow up asking for your order: ご注文ちゅうもんをどうぞ. (May I take your order?)*

*The literal translation would be closer to “place your order”, however, the phrase here is a polite way to ask if the client is ready to order their food.

Ordering your food is the easy part. If you can’t really speak or read Japanese, simply point on the menu what you want. You can use the counter つ (ひとつ (one of…)、ふたつ (two of…) etc.) to indicate the amount you want. Size in Japan is known as エス (S for small), エム (M, medium) or エル (L, large).

Some restaurants might use the Japanese sizing system too: 大盛おおもり(big) 普通ふつう (normal) すくなめ (small).


Waiter: May I take your order?
John: I’ll have a cheeseburger and a cola, please.
Waiter: What size for the coke?
John: Medium.

As the context is very important in Japanese, sentences can often be omitted. The waiter asked the desired size for the coke, without finishing up the question because what he’s asking is obvious. In this case, the intonation is raised on the sentence’s ending: “サイズは?”.


  • ホット ー Hot (for drinks)
  • アイス ー Cold (for drinks)
  • ポテトフライ ー French fries
  • ケチャップ ー Ketchup
  • マスタード ー Mustard
  • ハンバーガー ー Hamburger

If you are interested in studying Japanese in Tokyo, find out more about our school by filling out the form below.

Coto Academy is a unique Japanese Language School in Iidabashi Tokyo, we offer relaxed and fun conversational lessons for all levels of Japanese learner. Coto Japanese Academy prides itself on its community atmosphere and fun lessons that focus on creation of opportunities to speak and learn Japanese. If you are interested in studying Japanese in Tokyo – please visit our contact page here.