Whether it’s calling your hairdresser or the popular restaurant up the road, you’re probably 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 really stressful, especially if you don’t feel confident with the language. We’re here to help you with some need-to-know Japanese words and phrases for when you need to make 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.
When you call to make a reservation, the phrase to say after the initial greeting is:
Yoyaku o onegai shitain desu ga.
I would like to make a reservation
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.
However, we could recommend sticking to the first phrase to keep it as polite as possible.
Example: reserving at a restaurant
This is just a basic guide for how making a reservation for a restaurant 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 they use.
“Hai, Go! Go! Nihon Restoran desu.”
Hello, it’s Go! Go! Nihon Restaurant.
“Moshi moshi. Sumimasen, yoyaku o onegai shitain desu ga.”
Hello, I would like to make a reservation please.
“Kinyōbi no yoru ni yonin oneigashimasu.”
Friday evening for four people please.
“Nanji kara ga yoroshii desuka?”
From what time works for you?
“Rokuji han kara onegaishimasu”
From 6:30 please.
“Hai, onamae wa nan deshouka?”
Certainly, what’s your name?
“Odenwabango o onegaishimasu.”
Your phone number please.
“Hai, goyoyaku no kakunin o itashimasu. Kinyōbi no rokuji han kara Anna-sama de yonin-sama desu.”
Sure, I’ll repeat your reservation. Friday night from 6:30, Anna for four people.
“Hai, yoroshiku onegaishimasu.”
Yes, thank you very much.
“Omachi shite orimasu. Arigatōgozaimasu.”
We’ll be waiting. Thank you very much.
You may also encounter a situation where the restaurant isn’t able to accommodate your booking for your preferred day and/or time. Here’s how that conversation might go:
“Sumimasen, kinyōbi no yoru wa yoyaku ga ippai desu. Hoka no hi wa ikaga desuka?
I’m sorry, reservations for Friday evening are full. How about another day?
“Sōdesuka, ja, nichiyōbi wa dō desuka?
Oh really, well, how about Sunday?
“Hai, kekkō desu.”
Yes, that’s fine.
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?”
Sorry, could you please repeat that for me?
For more words and phrases you can use at a restaurant, read our article on Japanese to use at a restaurant.
Making other types of appointments
No matter what you’re making the reservation for, the basic vocabulary and phrases for making an appointment in Japanese remain more or less the same. 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?”
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.”
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.”
Tanaka-san next time too, please.
Similarly, if you’re making a doctor’s appointment, it would be helpful to know some relevant vocabulary. Read our article on vocab and phrases to use for when you’re sick in Japan.
Remember that making an appointment is a two-way conversation and while it may seem scary doing it for the first time, it’s better to not 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 on our blog!