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Whether it’s calling your hairdresser or a dental office for your yearly dental checkup, you’re going to need to make an appointment in Japanese at least a few times while living in Japan.
Talking on the phone in a foreign language can be stressful, especially if you don’t feel confident speaking the language yet. Unfortunately, while apps and websites sometimes offer online appointments, a large portion of clinics, salons, and even restaurants still only accept them over the phone. But don’t worry, we are here to help with some need-to-know words and phrases for when you need to make an appointment in Japanese.
The basics for making an appointment in Japanese
The word for “reservation” or “appointment” in Japanese is yoyaku, 予約 and “to make a reservation/appointment” is yoyaku o suru, 予約をする. This phrase can be used to make an appointment or reservation at any place in Japan, whether it be at the salon, clinic, or even restaurants.
When you call to make an appointment in Japanese, the phrase to say after the initial greeting is:
Yoyaku o onegai shitain desu ga. 予約をお願いしたいんですが。 I would like to make an appointment
The “-n desu ga” combination is used to soften a request since it sounds harsh, or rough, without it.
You can also say:
Yoyaku shitain desu ga. 予約したいんですが。
Yoyaku onegaishimasu. 予約お願いします。
However, we could recommend sticking to the first phrase to keep it as polite as possible.
Example: Make an appointment in Japanese at the dentist
This is just a basic guide for how making a reservation for a dental clinic may go. When you make an appointment in Japanese in reality, you need to actively listen to what the other person is saying and respond to them appropriately. Additionally, they may use different levels of politeness, so also be aware of how that will affect the words used.
Dental office: “Hai, goyoyaku no kakunin o itashimasu. Kinyōbi no rokuji han kara Anna-sama desu.” はい、ご予約の確認をいたします。金曜日の６時半からアンナ様です。 Sure, I’ll repeat your reservation. Friday at 6:30, for Anna.
You: “Hai, yoroshiku onegaishimasu.” はい、よろしくお願いします。 Yes, thank you very much.
Dental office: “Omachi shite orimasu. Arigatōgozaimasu.” お待ちしております。ありがとうございます。 We’ll be waiting. Thank you very much.
You may also encounter a situation where the dental office isn’t able to accommodate your appointment for your preferred day and/or time. Here’s how that conversation might go:
Dental office: “Sumimasen, kinyōbi no yoru wa yoyaku ga ippai desu. Hoka no hi wa ikaga desuka? すみません、金曜日のよるは予約がいっぱいです。他の日はいかがですか？ I’m sorry, but reservations for Friday are full. How about another day?
You: “Sōdesuka, ja, nichiyōbi wa dō desuka? そうですか、じゃ、日曜日はどうですか？ Oh really, well, how about Sunday?
If at any point you don’t understand the other person, you can ask them to repeat what they said.
“Sumimasen, mō ichido itte moraemasenka?” すみません、もう一度言ってもらえませんか？ Sorry, could you please repeat that for me?
Read our article on other useful phrases and vocabulary for when you want to make an appointment in Japanese at the dentist or a clinic. If you need help with a specific illness or need support, try checking out Japan Healthcare Info, or a similar service.
Making other types of appointments
No matter what you’re making it for, the basic vocabulary and phrases for when you want to make an appointment in Japanese remain more or less the same. However, you may get asked some specific questions depending on what type of appointment you’re making, and we would recommend studying some relevant vocabulary so you’re prepared.
For example, when you call a hairdresser, they may ask you: “Gokibōno sābisu wa nan deshouka?” ご希望のサービスはなんでしょうか? What service would you like?
Knowing basic words like torimingu トリミング (trim), katto カット (haircut), and hairaito ハイライト (highlights) would be handy.
If you have a specific hairdresser you would like to book with, you can say:
“Tanaka-san de onegaishimasu.” 田中さんでお願いします。 Tanaka-san, please.
Or if you’re already at the salon and wish to make a future appointment with your specific hairdresser, you can say: “Tsugi mo Tanakasan de onegaishimasu.” 次も田中さんでお願いします。 Tanaka-san next time too, please.
Remember that when you make an appointment in Japanese it is a two-way conversation, and while it may seem scary doing it for the first time, it’s better not to have a rehearsed dialogue already in your head. Instead, go into the phone call knowing the important information and how to convey that in Japanese and do your best to actively listen to what the other person is saying. You’ll get the hang of it once you do it a few times and as your language skills improve!
Interested in learning more Japanese? Why not sign up for our online 12-week beginner Japanese language course, taught by Akamonkai, one of Tokyo’s largest language schools? Find out more about the course here.
Read more about Japanese language and culture on our blog!