Japanese words you must know in Izakaya

Hello, this is Junko. Do you like Japanese Izakaya?

Izakaya is a type of Japanese restaurant, which serve alcohol and small dishes. Basically, izakaya is for adult people only who can drink (over 20 years old in Japanese law) and open after 17:00.

Today, I’ll introduce some Japanese words you must know in Izakaya!

Namachu, when you want to drink beer

When you want to order a jug of beer, say “Namachu”. This is the most common word in Izakaya and it means a middle size jug of beer.

Namachu is an abbreviation of “Nama Biru Chu”. NAMA means row or fresh, BIRU is beer and CHU means middle.

In Japan, ordering Namachu first is a kind of manner. You’ll hear everyone in Izakaya shout “Namachu!” or “Namachu Hitotsu!”  HITOTSU means one and the phrase “Namachu Hitotsu” makes “I’ll have a jug of beer”.

Toriaezu, when you've made your order

When you’ve made your order, say “Toriaezu”. It means “for now”, and a kind of signal word to tell an Izakaya staff “I finish the order for now, but I’ll add some later.”

Sumimasen, when you want to call a staff

When you want to call a staff to order or ask something, say “Sumimasen”. 

SUMIMASEN is the very powerful phrase that has 3 meanings with this single word. These 3 are “Excuse me”, “I’m sorry” and “Thank you”.

 Japanese people like to use this phrase for everything and anytime.

Okawari, when you want to have a refill on drinks

When you want to order the same drink you had, say “Okawari”. Saying “Okawari kudasai” makes it more polite. OKAWARI means a refill, and KUDASAI means please. 

Ohiya, when you want to drink water

When you want to drink water, say “Ohiya kudasai”. OHIYA is the distinctive word used in Japanese restaurants which means a glass of water.

You can have a glass of icy water when you say this phrase and it’s for free.