Mastering the Basics: How to Say ‘Menu’ in Japanese

Are you planning a trip to Japan and want to immerse yourself in their culinary culture? Knowing how to say ‘menu’ in Japanese is the first step to enhancing your dining experience. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with the necessary vocabulary and phrases to confidently navigate Japanese menus and communicate effectively with restaurant staff.

First and foremost, let’s explore the different ways to say ‘menu’ in Japanese. The most common word for menu is ‘メニュー’ (menyuu), which is a direct transliteration of the English word. However, there are other ways to express the term, such as ‘料理メニュー’ (ryouri menyuu), which means ‘food menu’, or ‘飲み物メニュー’ (nomimono menyuu), which means ‘drink menu’.

To properly pronounce ‘menu’ in Japanese, remember to elongate the vowel sounds. In this case, you would say ‘me-nyuu’ with a longer ‘e’ and ‘uu’ sound. It may take some practice, but once you master the pronunciation, you’ll be able to order confidently from any Japanese menu.

Now that you know how to say ‘menu’ in Japanese, let’s delve into the translation aspect. The Japanese language is known for its complex writing system, but when it comes to menu items, the translations are relatively straightforward. You’ll often see the Japanese word followed by the English translation in parentheses.

Expanding your Japanese vocabulary related to menu items will also prove helpful. Some common words you’ll encounter on Japanese menus include ‘魚’ (sakana) for fish, ‘肉’ (niku) for meat, ‘野菜’ (yasai) for vegetables, and ‘ご飯’ (gohan) for rice. Knowing these words will go a long way in helping you decipher Japanese menus and order food that suits your taste buds.

Finally, familiarize yourself with useful Japanese phrases and expressions involving ‘menu’. For instance, ‘何がおすすめですか?’ (Nani ga osusume desu ka?) means ‘What do you recommend?’, while ‘これをお願いします’ (Kore o onegaishimasu) translates to ‘I’ll have this, please’.

In conclusion, knowing how to say ‘menu’ in Japanese and understanding the related vocabulary and phrases will significantly enhance your dining experience in Japan. With this guide, you’re equipped with all the necessary knowledge to confidently explore Japanese cuisine and appreciate its rich culture.

How to Say ‘Menu’ in Japanese

Learning how to say ‘menu’ in Japanese can greatly enhance your dining experience in Japan. The Japanese language offers various ways to express the word ‘menu’, each with its own nuance and usage. Here’s a breakdown of the most common ways to say ‘menu’ in Japanese.

Japanese Word for Menu

The most straightforward way to say ‘menu’ in Japanese is メニュー (menyuu). This is the borrowed English word for menu, and it is commonly used in formal settings such as restaurants and cafes. The word is pronounced meh-nyuu with a slight emphasis on the first syllable.

How to Pronounce Menu in Japanese

Pronouncing メニュー (menyuu) in Japanese may take a bit of practice. Remember to pronounce the first syllable with a bit more emphasis and elongate the second syllable. Here’s a guide to help:

Romaji Japanese English Equivalent
meh me
nyuu ニュー new

Putting it together, you get meh-nyuu for menu in Japanese.

Now that you know how to say ‘menu’ in Japanese, let’s move on to the different ways to express this word in the Japanese language!

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Translating ‘Menu’ in Japanese

If you want to enhance your dining experience in Japan, it is important to understand the translation of ‘menu’ in Japanese. Here are some common menu translations and phrases used in the Japanese language:

English Japanese Pronunciation
Menu メニュー men-yuu
Menu book メニュー表 men-yuu hyou
Menu board メニュー板 men-yuu ita
Course menu コースメニュー koh-su men-yuu

In addition to these translations, you may also come across the phrase “osusume no men-yuu,” meaning “recommended menu” or “chef’s special.” This phrase can be especially useful when asking for recommendations at a restaurant.

It is worth noting that some restaurants may use specialized or unique terminology for their menus, especially for traditional or regional cuisine. Therefore, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific vocabulary used at the restaurant you are visiting.

Building Your Japanese Vocabulary for Menu

Expanding your Japanese vocabulary related to menu items can greatly enhance your dining experiences in Japan. Here are some common words, phrases, and expressions used in Japanese menus that you should know:

Japanese Vocabulary English Translation
メニュー (menyuu) Menu
前菜 (zensai) Appetizer
主菜 (shusai) Main dish
デザート (dezāto) Dessert
飲み物 (nomimono) Beverage
日替わり (higawari) Daily special
お勧め (osusume) Recommended

Using these words and phrases can make it easier to navigate a Japanese menu and help you order exactly what you want. Keep in mind that some Japanese restaurants may have their own unique terms for certain menu items, so don’t be afraid to ask your server for clarification.

Sample Phrases for Ordering from a Japanese Menu

Here are some phrases you can use when ordering from a Japanese menu:

  • これをください (kore o kudasai) – Please give me this
  • これでお願いします (kore de onegaishimasu) – I’ll have this, please
  • 何がおすすめですか? (nani ga osusume desu ka?) – What do you recommend?
  • 辛いものが好きです (karai mono ga suki desu) – I like spicy food

Learning these phrases can help you communicate effectively when discussing menu options in restaurants and make your dining experience in Japan even more enjoyable.

Expressing Menu in Japanese Phrases

Now that you know how to say ‘menu’ in Japanese and the different translations for it, it’s time to explore some useful Japanese phrases that involve the word ‘menu’. These phrases will come in handy when asking for recommendations, inquiring about specific dishes, or expressing your preferences.

Asking for Recommendations

If you want to ask for recommendations from the waiter or waitress, you can use the following phrases:

English Japanese Transliteration
What is recommended? おすすめは何ですか? Osusume wa nan desu ka?
What do you recommend? 何がおすすめですか? Nani ga osusume desu ka?

You can add the phrase “kudasai” at the end of the sentence to make it more polite. It means “please”. Here are the polite versions:

English Japanese Transliteration
What is recommended, please? おすすめは何ですか、お願いします。 Osusume wa nan desu ka, onegaishimasu.
What do you recommend, please? 何がおすすめですか、お願いします。 Nani ga osusume desu ka, onegaishimasu.

Ordering from the Menu

If you want to order a specific dish from the menu, you can use the following phrases:

English Japanese Transliteration
I would like to order… …を注文したいです。 …wo chuumon shitai desu.
May I have… …をください。 …wo kudasai.

You can replace the dots with the name of the dish you want to order. For example:

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English Japanese Transliteration
I would like to order sushi. 寿司を注文したいです。 Sushi wo chuumon shitai desu.
May I have ramen, please? ラーメンをください。 Ramen wo kudasai.

Expressing Your Preferences

If you have specific dietary restrictions or preferences, you can use the following phrases:

English Japanese Transliteration
I am a vegetarian. 私はベジタリアンです。 Watashi wa bejitarian desu.
I don’t eat meat. 私は肉を食べません。 Watashi wa niku wo tabemasen.
I am allergic to peanuts. 私は落花生アレルギーです。 Watashi wa rakka-shou arerugii desu.

Remember to be polite when using these phrases, especially when expressing your dietary restrictions. This will help the staff understand your needs and provide you with suitable options.

Summary and Takeaways

Now that you’ve learned the various ways to say ‘menu’ in Japanese, as well as some useful vocabulary and phrases that will enhance your dining experience, you are well on your way to mastering the basics of Japanese dining culture. Remember to practice pronouncing the words and phrases, and don’t hesitate to ask for help if needed.

Before you go, here are some final takeaways to keep in mind:

Be Respectful

Like any culture, Japan has its own customs and mannerisms when it comes to dining. Be sure to show respect by using polite language and bowing when appropriate. Also, try to avoid wasting food as it is considered impolite.

Embrace the Adventure

Japanese cuisine is known for its unique flavors and presentation, so don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things. You never know, you might discover your new favorite dish.

Learn More

If you’re interested in learning more about Japanese cuisine and culture, there are plenty of resources available online and in-person. Consider taking a cooking class or visiting a Japanese restaurant to continue your culinary journey.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and wish you an enjoyable and fulfilling dining experience in Japan. Kampai! (Cheers!)


Q: How do I say ‘menu’ in Japanese?

A: The word for ‘menu’ in Japanese is pronounced as “menyu” (メニュー) in English letters.

Q: Are there alternative ways to express ‘menu’ in Japanese?

A: Yes, besides “menyu,” you can also use the word “morokoshi” (メニュー), which is a transliteration of the English word ‘menu’ into Japanese. However, “menyu” is more commonly used.

Q: How can I properly pronounce ‘menu’ in Japanese?

A: To pronounce ‘menu’ in Japanese, you would say “menyu” or “menyuu” with a short ‘e’ sound as in “bed” and a long ‘u’ sound as in “loo.”

Q: How do I translate ‘menu’ into Japanese?

A: The translation for ‘menu’ in Japanese is “メニュー” (menyu).

Q: Can you provide examples of Japanese vocabulary related to menu items?

A: Sure! Here are some common Japanese words related to menu items: “ramen” (ラーメン) for noodle soup, “sushi” (すし) for sushi, “kare raisu” (カレーライス) for curry rice, and “sashimi” (さしみ) for sliced raw fish.

Q: What are some useful Japanese phrases involving the word ‘menu’?

A: Here are a few examples: “Menyu wa arimasu ka?” (メニューはありますか?) meaning “Do you have a menu?”, “Menyu o misete kudasai” (メニューを見せてください) meaning “Please show me the menu,” and “Osusume no menyu wa nan desu ka?” (おすすめのメニューは何ですか?) meaning “What is your recommended menu?”.

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