How to Order Take-Out in Japan (お持ち帰り) – Japanese Essentials

Looking to order takeout in Japan? In Japan, many chain restaurants offer a takeout option on their menu. When almost everyone’s busy working, ordering takeout can be pretty convenient for the vast majority who’d like to grab a quick meal.

Still, ordering takeout in a foreign language can be intimidating, but with a few key phrases and some practice, it can become a breeze. In this article, we will learn how to order our food in a natural-sounding way.

Read here to learn more about how to order food at a restaurant!

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Step 1: Greeting

When you first enter the restaurant or call to place an order, the staff will politely greet you with a “いらっしゃいませ” (irasshaimase). In return, a common greeting in Japanese is “こんにちは” (konnichiwa), which means “hello” or “good afternoon.”

After that, you’ll often be asked:

Irrashaimase, kochira de omeshi agari desu ka?
Welcome. Are you eating in?)

Irrashaimase, tennai de omeshiagarimari desu ka?
Welcome. Would you like to eat in (the restaurant).

がり is a noun coming from the verb がる a very formal/honorific way to say “to eat”. Using honorifics is one of the ways staff show respect for the customer they are serving. Here again, お is added to the noun so as to sound more polite. If you are confused with the difference between お and ご, click here.

Step 2: Saying “I’d Like Take-out!” in Japanese

Takeout (please).
かえり translates to takeout. It comes from the verb かえる, meaning “to bring back” or “to carry home”.

The prefix お makes the noun sound more polite. As for the particle で, in this context, indicates a mean or a method. This particle literally translates to “by”, “with”, “by means of” or “in”. It implies that you make a choice from a series of options. Here, you’ve opted for a takeout instead of dining in at the restaurant. Adding “おねがいします” makes you sound more polite. However, this phrase is often skipped by the Japanese themselves so time’s wasted when ordering food! Click here for more phrases that make you sound more polite!

Step 3: Communicate In Japanese to Order Take-out

Now let’s continue our conversation with the staff! If you want to order a takeout you can answer the counter staff with this:

Iie, omochiaeri de (onegai shimasu).
No, takeout please.

If you’d like to eat in instead, you can say はい、ここで (Yes, here) or はい、店内てんないで (Yes, here).
At 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, would you like a takeout?
You can then answer : はい、おかえりで(おねがいします)(Yes, takeout (please)).

The waiter will follow up by asking you for your order:

Gochuumon o douzo.
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 customer is ready to order their food. They can also say:

Gochuumon o oukagai shimasu.
I would like to ask your oder.

The verb お伺いします (oukagaishimasu) is actually stemmed from an already humble form of ask, kiku (聞く): ukagau (伺う). As you talk with the restaurant staff, you’ll notice that they are using polite Japanese to talk to you, so it can be confusing at first when you are only learning daily Japanese vocabulary and basic verb forms.

Don’t worry, though! The more you go out to eat in Japan and order omochikaeri, the more you’ll get used to keigo (敬語).

Ordering your food is the easy part. Even if you can’t really speak or read Japanese, simply point on the menu to indicate what you want.

If you have any questions about the menu items, you can ask the staff “これはなんですか?” (kore wa nan desu ka?), which means “What is this?” or “What is it?”

If you can’t read the menu but know your order through the pictures, you can use phrases such as “これをください” (kore o kudasai),

You can use the counter つ (ひとつ (one of…)、ふたつ (two of…) etc.) to indicate the amount you want. You can learn how to count in Japanese through this article. For exampe, if you are ordering a two hamburgers, you can say:

Hanbaagaa o futatsu kudasai.
Two hamburger, please.

Step 4: Customizing Your Takeout in Japan

Food Portion Sizes

Sizes in Japan can also be 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:

Big Sizes: 大盛おおもり (oomori)
Regular Sizes:  普通ふつう (futsuu) or 並盛(なみも)り (namimori)
Small Sizes: すくなめ (sukuname) or ミニ (Mini)

Check out this blog for more food sizes in Japanese!

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Combining what we learned so far, let’s see how a typical takeout order in Japan usually goes!


You: こんにちは、ビッグマックを一つと、フレンチフライをLサイズでお願いします。
Konnichiha, biggu makku o hitotsu to, furenchi furai o eru saizu de onegai shimasu.
Good afternoon. I’d like one Big Mac and an L-size french fires.

Saff: 店内(てんない)でお召(め)し上(あ)がりですか。
Tennai de omeshiagarimari desu ka?
Welcome. Would you like to eat in (the restaurant)?

You: いいえ、お持(も)ち帰(かえ)りで(お願(ねが)いします).
Iie, omochiaeri de (onegai shimasu).
No, takeout please.

Staff: はい、ビッグマック一つ、フレンチフライLサイズ、注文いたします。何か追加でいかがですか?
Hai, biggu makku hitotsu, furenchi furai eru saizu, chuumon itashimasu. Nanika tsuika de ikaga desuka?
One Big Mac and L-size french fries. Would you like to add anything else?

You: いいえ、それだけです。
Iie, sore dake desu.
No, just that.

Staff: かしこまりました。お会計は1300円になります。
Kashikomarimashita. Okaikei wa sen-sanhyaku en ni narimasu.
Noted. The total is 1,300 yen.

You: 現金でお願いします。
Genkin de onegaishimasu.
(I’d like to pay) with cash, please.

Staff: はい、お預かりいたします。
Hai, oazukari itashimasu.
Alright, I’ll take care of it

Ordering takeout in Japanese may seem daunting at first, but with practice and the right phrases, it can become a comfortable and rewarding experience. Remember to take your time to choose your order, make any special requests, confirm your order, and pay for your order in a courteous manner. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to confidently order takeout in Japanese in no time.

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If you would like to find out more about how you can make a purchase in Japanese, check out this blog!


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What is takeout in Japanese?

Takeout in Japanese is テイクアウト (teikuauto) or お持ち帰り (omochikaeri)

How do you request for a takeout in Japanese?

お持ち帰りでお願いします(omochikaeri de onegaishimasu).

What are some good restaurants to get takeout in Japan?

There are many great restaurants in Japan that offer takeout options. Some popular chains include McDonald’s, KFC, and Yoshinoya. You can also find local restaurants and cafes that offer delicious takeout meals.

How can I find takeout options near me in Japan?

You can use apps like Google Maps or Tabelog to search for restaurants and cafes near your location that offer takeout. You can also look for signs that say “omochikaeri” (お持ち帰り) outside of restaurants and cafes.

Do you tip in Japan?

Tipping is not a common practice in Japan and it is not expected in most situations. In fact, tipping can sometimes be seen as impolite and can create awkward situations in Japan as it is not the norm.

Can I request utensils or condiments for my takeout order in Japan?

Yes, you can request utensils and condiments for your takeout order in Japan. You can say “oshibori” to request wet towels, “hashi” for chopsticks, and “soosu” for condiments like ketchup (kechaapu).

What do you say when ordering food in Japanese?

Say the the name of the item you wish to order, followed by “kudasai”, or “onegaishimasu”.

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