japanese green grocer

How do you say Gluten in Japanese?

Gluten is guruten in Japanese. However, most people only know the native word komugi which means wheat flour. I’m here to teach how to say what you need to so you can eat your fill in Japan!

how do you say gluten in japanese?

I know that if you’re asking this question, it’s about your health. I also know that you’ve been dealing this with already — many of you, for all of your lives. So, I’m going to be brutally honest. But I also promise you that traveling gluten-free in Japan is not impossible. I’ve traveled across the country with hundreds of people with many different dietary restrictions. It’s challenging, but absolutely possible.

Also, I’ve created a free PDF you can download and print out (or just open it up on your mobile device). Show it to hotel staff and restaurant staff and rest assured you’ll be safe. The link is at the end of the article, or just skip to it in the Table of Contents if you’re in a hurry.

eat healthy in japan - travel

The Reality About Gluten-Free Diets in Japan

First of all, if you have celiac disease or some other gluten intolerance and you’re planning a trip to Japan, there are a few things you absolutely must know. Gluten-free options in the west are becoming increasingly available, especially in restaurants. In Japan, this is not the case.

Just think about it. One of the main seasonings in Japanese cuisine is soy sauce which is made from wheat flour. That means the bulk of traditional Japanese dishes are completely off the table for you. If you’re also vegan and cannot eat dashi (a kind of soup stock often made from fish or meat), you’ll be even more limited. In fact, I call this gluten-free/vegan/no dashi combination the Trifecta. If that’s the case… wow, basically, 90% of Japanese food is a no go for you and your options outside of big cities will be even more difficult.

how do you say gluten in japanese?

Challenging, But Doable

As a tourism professional who’s lived in Japan 16 years, the best advice I can give you is booking a professional guide (or, at least for the beginning of your trip). I’d love it to be me (JapanThis.Tours), but any experienced, competent guide who regularly handles clients with dietary restrictions can also help you out. A pro can take you into supermarkets, convenience stores, and teach you the ins and outs of eating healthy in Japan. You’re on vacation. The last thing we want is for you to get sick! I’ve often purchased personal travel-sized bottles of gluten-free soy sauce for clients that they can take with them. Some mom and pop restaurants have even agreed to use it for special dishes.

Apps like Happy Cow can be a lifesaver when your stomach starts growling. But a lot of delicious restaurants have perfectly acceptable items on the menu. Problem is, the owners don’t know there’s a medical reason people might be searching for that particular dish. In short, a lot of places fly under the radar.

Gluten-free tourism is absolutely possible in #Japan!

How do you say gluten in Japanese?

how do you say gluten in japanese?

Komugi futaishō desu – I’m gluten intolerant

watashi wa, komugi futaishō desu
I’m wheat flour intolerant.

This is, hands down, the best phrase you can use as a tourist in Japan who can’t do gluten.

I translated this as “intolerant,” but the Japanese word I used implies “I will get sick if I eat gluten” as opposed to a less serious reaction. This should ensure the staff and cooks take your condition seriously.

Pro-Tip: Drop watashi wa and point at yourself instead.

I’ve included two full sentences in this article. Each of them begin with watashi wa which means something like “I am/I have.” If these sentences are too long to remember, you can drop watashi wa and just point at your face to mean “me!” If you do that, you only have to memorize the second half of the sentence.

Pronunciation Tip: The final u in desu is very weak. So, if you pronounce it like komugi futaishō des’, you’ll sound more natural.

eat in japan - JapanThis.Tours

Arerugii – allergy


You don’t need this word by itself, but I’d like to talk about the pronunciation. Many medical words in Japanese come from German and Dutch, not English. Arerugii is the Japanese pronunciation of the German word Allergie. The last sound is not a soft g (gee) like English, but a hard g (ghee) as in “geezer.”

Pronunciation Tip: I speak fluent Japanese. But even for me, this word is hard to say.
The u in arerugii is weak. So, it sounds most natural if you say it like arergii.

If that’s still tricky, just say English “allergy” with a hard g. People should understand that.

Some common allergies:

  • komugi arergii – gluten allergy
  • piinattsu arergii – peanut allergy
  • neko arergii – cat allergy

Komugi arerugii ga arimasu – I have a gluten allergy

watashi wa
, komugi arerugii ga arimasu
I have a wheat flour allergy.

This is really the phrase you want if you want to convey that you have gluten allergy. You can use this if you’re sure that if a tiny bit of wheat flour accidentally finds its way into your food, you won’t suffer from a horrible, vacation-ruining reaction.

Pro-Tip: The middle u in arerugii and the last u in arimasu are very weak. If you pronounce the phrase komugi arergii ga arimas’ it will sound more natural.


free stuff

Free PDF Download to Print Out

Worried you can’t remember all this? No problem. I have a free PDF that you can download or print out. It describes various dietary restrictions, including things like “gluten-free vegan.”


I’d like to expand it, so if you have some requests about your own requirements, you can make suggestions anonymously!

how do you say gluten in japanese?

Want to know more?

If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to ask in the comments section down below. Also, I believe health and safety are extremely important when traveling abroad, so please share this with any friends or loved ones who could use it.

I have more Japanese Survival Phrases for Tourists articles coming soon, so be sure to subscribe to JapanThis.Tours for my latest tourism content. It’s free and I try to update it every month.

Also, during the New Year’s holiday, I plan to begin adding audio clips to this and all Japanese Survival Phrases articles. I will be using native speakers so you can get the perfect pronunciation. Stay tuned!

bamboo bamboo whisk board bowls

How do you say Delicious in Japanese?

In Japanese, delicious is oishii. And yes, while there are lots of beautiful and delicious foods in Japan, the reason I want to teach you this word is cultural. The Japanese take great pride in their high quality, fresh ingredients and its delicate arrangement. They also comment on food non-stop while eating. If you stay in a family-owned ryokan (Japanese style inn) or eat in a small mom and pop restaurant, they will think you don’t enjoy the food if you don’t comment on it.

No matter what language you speak, talking about cuisine requires a lot of specific vocabulary. And Japanese is no different. That said, I think we can cover a few basic food words you can use throughout your trip. Also, I’ll teach you a few related phrases you can use in other situations.

Ready? Great. Let’s get into it!

Complimenting Food in Japanese

how do you say delicious in japanese?

Oishii desu – it’s delicious

oishii desu
It’s delicious!

The Japanese take cuisines very seriously. And if something tastes good, they don’t hold back the compliments. If you’re enjoying the food, especially a home cooked meal at a traditional Japanese inn, definitely say oishii desu to the wait staff and chef. They’ll really appreciate the compliment.

Pro-Tip: The final u is barely perceptible to the ear, so if you pronounce it oishii des’ it sounds more natural.

how do you say delicious in japanese?

Kirei desu – it’s lovely

kirei desu
It’s beautiful!
It’s lovely!

In Japan, food presentation is extremely important. So all of your food will look amazing. Praise the staff for serving lovely food and you’ll endear yourself for sure.

Compliment the chef in Japanese with these easy phrases!

Pro-Tip: The final u is barely perceptible to the ear, so if you pronounce it kirei des’ it sounds more natural.

General Compliments

how do you say beautiful in japanese?

Suteki desu – it’s fabulous

suteki desu
It’s dreamy!
It’s wonderful!

Suteki desu is best used to describe classy things. An elegant dinner. A luxurious kimono. Beautiful hair, nails, and makeup. If you see a stunning geiko (a Kyoto geisha) like the one above, you can use suteki to describe her hair, her makeup, or her kimono. Even her style is suteki.

Men can use this word, just like “fabulous.” But overusing it sounds a bit effeminate.

Pro-Tip: The u in suteki and desu is very light. So it sounds more natural if you say steki des’.

Iki ja nō – it’s cool (old samurai expression)

iki ja nō
It’s refined and sophisticated

Iki means cool, but it refers to the style popularized in Edo (modern Tokyo) during the samurai period. Today it means traditional and cool. It has a masculine connotation.

This tour guide is teaching people how to say “that’s cool” in 18th century Japanese. WTF?

Pro-Tip: Stretch out the final o to sound like a feudal lord talking to himself. I mean, if you’re gonna bust out a cool phrase like this, you have to play the part.

how do you say cute in japanese?

Kawaii desu – it’s cute (“Japanese cute”)

kawaii desu
It’s cute!

You can use this when shopping and you see cute local goods. If you’re an animal lover and you spot someone with a cute pet. This is perfect for that too.

Pro-Tip: Drop the des’ and stretch out the final ii to sound like a really excited high school girl. Kawai——i.

how do you say cute in japanese?

Kyūto desu – it’s cute (“western cute”)

kyūto desu
It’s cute!

Kyūto is the Japanese pronunciation of the English word “cute.”

In a future article, I’ll discuss the difference between “cute” and “kawaii.” Subscribe to JapanThis.Tours down below to get the update!

Pro-Tip: The o in kyūto and the u is desu are very weak. Try pronouncing it like kyūt’ des’.

Stupid people on a mountain annoying each other with guitars at sunset

TAKE AWAY: The One Word You Must Remember!

How do you say delicious in Japanese? Oishii desu means “it’s delicious” and if you remember one phrase from this page, that’s one.

Oishii desu!

Thanks for checking out my website. If you’re interested in Japan enough to learn the language, I’d like you to know that I’m currently making a series of Japanese Survival Phrases for Tourists. If you’d like to receive upcoming articles, please follow my site, JapanThis.Tours. I have more great content coming soon!

cheerful multiethnic couple talking while walking on city street

How do you say Hello in Japanese?

How do you say hello in Japanese? This is the first question I get from 90% of my clients.

The most common way to say hello in Japan is kon’nichi wa. which is like “good day” in English. However, there are different greetings for different times of day. And you never use it on the phone. Confused? Don’t worry. I’m going to teach you all the Japanese greetings. And if you’re overwhelmed, in the final section I’ll even narrow it down to the three phrases you absolutely must know.

Alright then, let’s get started!

Basic Japanese Greetings

how do you say hello in japanese?

Ohayō gozaimasu – good morning

o-hayō gozaimasu!
Good morning!

This is the first greeting of day. You’ll hear this everywhere in your hotel until you check out. When someone says o-hayō gozaimasu to you, the correct response is… well, o-hayō gozaimasu. It’s good manners to use this with hotel staff in the morning, but if you’re staying at a family-run ryokan (Japanese style inn), you absolutely must reply to the staff. So please learn this phrase!

Many native speakers slur this phrase, especially if they’ve been saying it all morning.

Pro-Tip: The final u is very slight. So, o-hayō gozaimas’ is closer to the native pronunciation.

how do you say hello in japanese?

Kon’nichi wa – hello, good afternoon

konnichi wa
Good afternoon!

Konnichi wa is the most common casual greeting in Japan. Since the bulk of your time exploring Japan will be in the afternoon, this is a really important one.

Note that I translated it as “good afternoon.” Some people say it’s “good day,” but native speakers never use it the morning – usually from lunch time until about 5 PM. That said, you’re just a tourist, so if you use it all day, nobody’s gonna get angry and correct you. They know you’re just trying to be friendly.

Many native speakers, especially men may slur this phrase until it sounds something like chiwa-a.

how do you say hello in japanese?

Konban wa – good evening

konban wa!
Good evening!

You can use konban wa from about 5 PM until bedtime.

Pro-Tip: Remember, this is a greeting – like “hello.” It’s never used for parting.

how do you say good night in japanese?

Oyasumi nasai – good night

o-yasumi nasai!
Good night!

Remember that konban wa is a greeting, so when saying goodbye in the evening, you should use o-yasumi nasai. You can even say this to strangers as they (or you) get off the elevator when it’s late at night.

If you trudge through the hotel late at night to pass out in your room, the lobby staff will probably say o-yasumi nasai as you leave the area or hop into the elevator.

Other Useful Japanese Greetings

how do you say hello in japanese?

Mata ne – see ya; later

mata ne!
See ya later!
Peace out.

Most people already know sayōnara as “goodbye” in Japanese. But, that’s rarely the word you’re looking for.

If you’ll see the person later (or if there’s even the slightest chance of seeing them later), you should use mata ne. It literally means “again, ok?” If you leave your Japanese tour guide on your lunch break, you can use this because you’ll seem them after eating.

Women and children may even say mata ne, bai bai! Which is mata ne plus “bye bye.” It sounds cute in Japanese.

how do you say goodbye in japanese?

Sayōnara – farewell; goodbye (for a long time, possibly forever)


Yes, the famous phrase sayōnara does mean “goodbye.” However, it means it in a really final way. If a couple breaks up, they say sayōnara. At a funeral, you say sayōnara to the deceased. See what I mean?

Most of the time, you should just say mata ne, or more properly arigatō gozaimasu. You can read more about arigatō gozaimasu in my article How do you say thank you in Japanese?

Japan This! Tours telephone chick

Moshi moshi – hello (telephone only)

moshi moshi
Can you hear me?

OK, if you’re taking phone calls in Japanese, then your proficiency is way beyond this lesson. But in order to be comprehensive, I have to include moshi moshi. If you get a call from the front desk, you can use use this. I can’t think of any other situation where a tourist would use moshi moshi, though.

Pro-Tip: The final i is very weak. Native speakers, especially men, stretch out the final o. So if you say it moshi mo-osh it sounds more natural. Keep your ears perked up in Japan, you’ll hear it soon!

How do you get COVID in Japan?
Oh, I forgot to mention! The Japanese NEVER shake hands.
You should bow when using these greetings.

Conclusion: The 3 Must Know Japanese Greetings!

Ohayō gozaimas’!Good morning!
Kon’nichi wa!Hello! Good afternoon!
(11:30 to dusk)
Mata ne!See ya!

I wanted to include all the Japanese greetings, so you can learn as much as you want. If you think you only have a limited amount of hard drive space in your head, then these three will serve you well as a tourist in Japan. A little Japanese goes a long way here, so using these greetings will definitely score you points during your adventures.

If you’d like to learn more Japanese Survival Phrases, I’m putting together an ongoing series. You can print these out to study during the long flight or when you have down time in your room. If you’d like future content delivered to your inbox, be sure to sign up for JapanThis.Tours!

photo of houses

Kanji for Tourists

Your trip to Europe or South America was a breeze. Even if you didn’t speak the local language, for the most part you could read the alphabet. However, things a different in Japan.

In researching your trip to Japan, you’ve probably encountered someone somewhere claiming that Japanese is the most difficult language to learn and that Japanese has the most complicated writing system on earth.

the japanese flag

I don’t want to scare you off by giving my opinion on those claims, but I do want to reassure you that if you come to Japan — now more than ever before — you’re not going to have a hard time with the language. In the build up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (which may or may not happen at this point), Tokyo and other major cities have made great efforts to make signage accessible to tourists.

That said, the best parts of Japan are off the beaten track. If you want to enjoy a really nice onsen (natural hot spring), you’re gonna have to go to the countryside. The farther you get away from the big cities, the more tradition things get. Actually, if you go to a traditional restaurant in downtown Tokyo, sometimes you may find the bathrooms don’t have English or non-alphabetic ideograms.

To ensure you use the correct restroom and the correct public bath, you gonna have to learn the kanji (Chinese characters) for “men” and “women.” But don’t worry. I’ll have you memorizing these characters in no time. And just to prove how simple it is, I’ll teach one full Japanese that you’ll see everywhere and can even use in your travels when you meet locals.

kanji for tourists - otoko - men


man, men

Now, you may be saying “How the heck am I going to remember that? It doesn’t look like a man!” Well, if you break down into parts, the top part 田 is a rice paddy. Rice paddies take time to build and cultivate. They represent a stable food source and income. The bottom part is 力power, but it also looks a little bit like 刀 katana (sword). Think of it as a powerful samurai running with his swords to protect his rice paddies. The paddy is a big square head. The running legs/sword is the power. This is “man.

kanji for tourists - onna - woman


woman, women

Again, you’re probably like “I’ll never remember this.” But if you print out my flashcards and look at this character a lot, you’ll become familiar with it soon. And, it does look like a woman. Trust me. Imagine that it’s a woman sitting cross-legged holding a baby in her arms. The top line is her thin head. The middle section is the baby in the arms. The crossed legs make up the bottom part.

OK, let’s try an actual Japanese word spelled out in full. Ready?

kanji for tourists - nihon - japan

日本 Japan


Again, I’m sure you’re thinking “that’s impossible to remember!” But it’s not. Let’s look at the origin of each character, shall we?

First we have the character ni:

Second, we have the character hon:

Together the characters 日本 Nihon mean “sun origin,” or more poetically, “the land of the rising sun.” Easy, right?

So while you’re in Nihon, you’ll meet a lot of Nihon-jin — Japanese people.
They will be speaking Nihon-go — the Japanese language.
And if you travel with me, you’ll definitely drink some Nihon-shu — Japanese alcohol (sake).

I just learned 3 Japanese words and 4 #Japanese characters. So ready for my trip!

A Piece of Cake, Right?

If you book a guide, 90% of this is taken care of for you. And sure, you can just ignore all of this if you want to. But I think intellectually curious travelers really want to know more about the Japanese language and Japanese culture. I hope you see that there’s no need to be intimidated by the language barrier or the writing system in Japan.

This article is part of an ongoing series teaching Japanese Survival Phrases for Tourists. If you’d like to alerted when I publish new articles, now you can follow JapanThis.Tours. Updates only come once a month.

thank you in japanese

How do you say Thank You in Japanese?

Thank you in Japanese is arigatō gozaimasu. But there are other ways to say thank you Japanese. Let’s look at three of them!

Arigatō gozaimasu (polite, all-purpose)

arigatō  gozaimasu
Thank you

If you only learn one phrase in Japanese, this is it. It’s probably the most important word in the language. People say thank you a lot in Japanese. Way more than we do in English.

As the famous quote goes:

Learn it.
Love it.
Live it.

When you say arigatō gozaimasu, you should bow your head. Don’t put your hands together like you’re praying. That’s a Thai custom. In Japan, you bow your head when saying thank you.

A note about formality in Japanese. Most of my clients have heard arigatō before. And yes, this is usually translated as “thanks.” However, this is strictly for friends and family. It can be condescending if you use it to other people. For shop clerks and other strangers, always use arigatō gozaimasu.

Also, you’ll probably hear native speakers slur this phrase, especially in busy service jobs, like in convenience stores – often reducing it to something like aza-as’.

Pro-Tip: The final u is very slight. So arigatō gozaimas’ is closer to the native pronunciation.

Sumimasen (polite apologetic)

Excuse me.
I’m sorry.
Thank you.

If you need to cut in front of someone to get off the bus or get your waiter’s attention, you’re going to need this word. In this case, it is exactly like “excuse me.” Also, if you hold up a line or make some silly mistake, sumimasen is your go-to apology. But you can use this apologetic phrase as a casual “thank you.” It literally means “my shame will never end.”

Learn the bow on the left. You only need the middle and right one if you really get into trouble.

Sumimasen, arigatō gozaimasu (apologetic & grateful)

Let’s take your Japanese thank you to the next level.

If someone has gone out of their way to help you. You can say thank you by saying sumimasen. In this case, it means something like “sorry for the trouble.” If you want to be extra polite, I recommend combining these phrases to say sumimsen, arigatō gozaimsu! “Sorry for the trouble, thank you so much!”

Arigatō gozaimasu and sumimasen are the words you most need to say thank you in Japanese. And now that you can use sumimasen, you can also say excuse me and call waiters and shop staff, too.

Now, let’s look at some silly ways to say thank you in Japanese.

Arigataki shiawase ni zonji-masuru (polite samurai to lord)

arigataki shiawase ni zonji-masuru
I humbly thank thee for granting me this kindness

If that English translation sounds ridiculous, it’s because it is. This is an archaic, medieval expression used by samurai and I guarantee that unless you’re visiting Edo Wonderland, you will never hear it.

This tour guide is teaching tourists how to say “thank you” like a samurai!

Arigataki shiawase (casual samurai)

Because it’s a mouthful, you can shorten it to arigataki shiawase. Again, this is a ridiculous phrase, but if you make some Japanese friends while drinking, I guarantee you’ll make them laugh if you use this.

Suman, arigataki shiawase (apologetic, casual samurai)

Just as you can combine sumimasen and arigatō gozaimasu in a situation where someone has gone out of their way to help you. You can use suman, arigataki shiawase. This is actually casual Japanese, but it’s from the 1600s. People will let it slide.


Alright, those last ones were extremely silly and I suspect you’ll forget them right away. However, those first two phrases arigatō gozimasu and sumimasen are the most important two words you need to know when traveling to Japan. Please learn them. The Japanese don’t expect foreigners to understand their language, but you’ll bring many smiles to their faces if you can master a few polite phrases like thank you.

I’ll be posting more Japanese Survival Phrases for Travelers in the coming months, so please subscribe to JapanThis.Tours for future updates. I want to help you participate in Japanese culture on your trip, not just observe it.