I still remember how nervous I was when I went to a Japanese restaurant in Tokyo for the first time and had to ask for some water in Japanese. However, I quickly noticed that ordering something to drink and asking for more water is actually very simple. Take a look at these two basic phrases you can use to order a glass of water in Japanese.
“O-mizu o kudasai” (お水をください) and “O-mizu o onegai shimasu” (お水をお願いします) are commonly used to ask for water in Japanese restaurants. They both mean “Can I have some water please?” or “I’ll have water please” but ordering something to drink or eat with “o onegai shimasu” is politer than “o kudasai”.
Simple, isn’t it? And the best thing is we can make both phrases even easier and use them to ask for other things, too! Below you will find the simplified versions as well as more polite phrases you can use to order water in Japanese. I have also listed some other useful phrases such as asking for more water or water with ice and you can learn how to order other drinks like beer or orange juice, for example.
How to Ask for Water in Japanese
Just like in English there are a lot of different phrases you can use to ask for water in Japanese. I want to show you 4 of them including the easiest and some politer ones in case you plan to go to a more expensive or upscale Japanese restaurant. Before we get started, though, let’s have a brief look at how to say water in Japanese.
The Japanese word for water is “Mizu” and the Japanese kanji for water is 水. It is pronounced as two syllables “mi” (like the English word “me”) and “zu” (like the English word “zoo” but shorter and faster). When ordering water it is common to add the polite prefix o (お) and to say “O-mizu” (お水). While you will also be understood when you ask for “mizu”, it is better to use the politer “O-mizu“.
O-Mizu o Kudasai
O-mizu o kudasai (お水をください) means “Water, please” or “Please give me water“. It is probably the easiest phrase to remember since it is simple and short and it is commonly used by Japanese people to ask for water. However, I personally don’t like using it, because it feels a bit rude.
As we have already discussed O-mizu (お水) means water and “___ o kudasai” (___をください) is an expression used to ask for something or to make a polite request. In English, it translates as “____, please” or “Please give me ___“. You can also write it in kanji as “___を下さい”, however, “kudasai” is frequently written in Hiragana.
The shorter version is “O-mizu kudasai” (お水ください), which is actually not 100% correct in written Japanese but very natural in spoken Japanese. Please don’t make it even shorter (and ruder) by dropping the “o” in “o-mizu”.
O-Mizu o Onegai Shimasu
This is my personal favorite and the phrase I tend to use most of the time. O-mizu o onegai shimasu (お水をお願いします) translates as “I’ll have water, please” or “I’d like water, please“. It is a little bit longer but as you can tell from the English translations it also sounds way politer. You can also use this phrase to respond politely when your friend asks you what you would like to drink.
“___o onegai shimasu” (___をお願いします) is another phrase that is commonly used to ask for something or to make a polite request. It means “I’ll have ___, please” or “I’d like ____, please” in English. You can use it whenever you order something to drink or to eat. Just point at what you want or say the name of the thing you want and add “o onegai shimasu”. That’s it.
Same as with the previous phrase you can drop the object particle を and just say “O-mizu onegai shimasu” (お水お願いします). Since the phrase is politer than “o kudasai”, it might be okay to just say “Mizu onegai shimasu”, but again I don’t recommend it.
O-Mizu o Itadakemasu ka?
If you want to sound really polite, you should use this phrase to ask for water in Japanese. O-mizu o itadakemasu ka (お水を頂けますか) can be translated as “Can I get water, please?” or “Can I have some water, please?“. Whenever I’m at a better restaurant with exceptional service or in a more formal situation I try to use this phrase.
Itadaku (頂く) is a verb that means “to receive” or “to get” and itadakemasu (頂けます) is the conjugated form that means “can get” or “can receive“. If you add the question particle か you can ask for something in a very polite way. “___o itadakemasu ka” (___を頂けますか) can be translated as “Can I get ___, please?“, “Can we get ____, please?” or “Could I have ___, please?“, etc.
You can make the phrase even politer by using the negative form. So you could also use the phrase “O-mizu o itadakemasen ka?” to ask for water. A detailed explanation of why might follow in another blog post in the near future.
O-Mizu o Itadaite mo ii Desu ka?
O-mizu o itadaite mo ii desu ka (お水を頂いてもいいですか) is an even politer phrase. This might actually be a little bit too polite for most restaurants, but it is a good phrase when you are invited over for lunch or dinner at your boss’s house. In English, it means “Could I get some water, please?” or “May I get some water, please?“.
Itadaite (頂いて) is another inflection of the verb itadaku (頂く). The expression “~te mo ii desu ka” (〜てもいいですか) is a phrase that is used to ask for permission. It means “May I ___, please?“, “Is it ok if ___?“, or “Do you mind if ____?“. I often used the phrase when asking my Japanese host mother for something, but I rarely use it at restaurants.
In general, it is okay to use either of the phrases. However, my personal recommendation is to stick to “O-mizu (o) onegai shimasu” most of the time and to use “O-mizu o itadakemasu ka?” in formal situations or at a more expensive restaurant to sound politer.
|O-mizu o kudasai|
|O-mizu o onegai shimasu|
I’ll have water, please.
|O-mizu o itadakemasu ka?|
Can I get some water, please?
|O-mizu o itadaite mo ii desu ka?|
Could I get some water, please?
Useful Phrases For Ordering Water at a Japanese Restaurant
Now let’s look at some more advanced but useful phrases when ordering water at a Japanese restaurant. I’ll show you how you can ask for more water, hot water or cold water, water without ice, bottled water, sparkling water, and two or more glasses of water.
How to Ask for More Water
O-mizu mou ippai onegai shimasu (お水もう一杯お願いします) means “Another glass of water, please” or “I’ll have another glass of water, please“. You can also use the politer phrase O-mizu mou ippai itadakemasu ka (お水もう一杯頂けますか) to ask “Can I get another glass of water, please?“.
You can also just point at your glass and say “Mou ippai onegai shimasu“. Since water is free in Japanese restaurants it is usually served in a specific type of glass that the waiter recognizes. From my own experience, I can tell you though that most of the time waiters will refill your glass of water before you can even think about ordering another one.
Hot Water & Cold Water
The Japanese word for warm or hot water is O-yu (お湯). So if you want to have warm water instead of the usual cold or chilled water that is served you should say “O-yu o onegai shimasu” (お湯をお願いします) or ask “Oyu o itadakemasu ka?” (お湯を頂けますか).
When you ask for “o-mizu” you will usually get cold water and in the summer months, it is almost always served with ice. You could say “Hiyashita O-mizu o onegai shimasu” (冷やしたお水をお願いします) if you want to make sure that you will get chilled water. “Hiyashita o-mizu” means cold or chilled water.
Asking for Water Without Ice
The Japanese word for ice is “Koori” and is written with this kanji 氷, which looks very similar to the Japanese kanji for water. To order something without ice use one of the phrases we learnt so far and add the sentence “Koori nashi de onegai shimasu” (氷無しでお願いします) or “Koori nuki de onegai shimasu” (氷抜きでお願いします).
If you want to ask for water without ice in one sentences you can say “Koori nashi no o-mizu o onegai shimasu” (氷無しのお水をお願いします) or “Koori nuki de o-mizu o onegai shimasu” (氷抜きのお水をお願いします).
Bottled Water & Sparkling Water
If you want a full bottle of water instead of just a glass you should ask for Mineraru Wootaa (ミネラルウォーター). Be sure to pronounce all the syllables separately. In order to get a glass or bottle of sparkling water, you have to ask for Tansansui (炭酸水) or Supaakuringu Wootaa (スパークリング・ウォーター).
Two or More Glasses of Water
Counting in Japanese is not the easiest thing to do because there are a ton of counters. So I will teach you the easiest ones which are Hitotsu (一つ, one), Futatsu (二つ, two), Mittsu (三つ, three), Yottsu (四つ, four) and Itsutsu (五つ, itsutsu).
The usual phrase is “O-mizu ____ onegai shimasu” (お水 ___お願いします). So to ask for two glasses of water you can ask for “O-mizu futatsu onegai shimasu“. If you want to get 4 glasses of water you can order them with “O-mizu yottsu onegai shimasu“.
Just in case you are interested in the more difficult counter here it is: Ippai (一杯, one), Nihai (二杯, two), Sanpai (三杯, three), Yonhai (四杯, four) , and Gohai (五杯, five).
|Another glass of water, please.|
O-mizu mou ippai onegai shimasu.
|Can I get another glass of water, please?|
O-mizu mou ippai itadakemasu ka?
|Hot water, please.|
O-yu o onegai shimasu.
|Chilled water, please.|
Hiyashita o-mizu o onegai shimasu.
|Water without ice, please.|
Koori nashi no o-mizu o onegai shimasu.
|A bottle of mineral water, please.|
Mineraru wootaa o onegai shimasu.
|Sparkling water, please.|
Tansansui o onegai shimasu.
|One glass of water, please.|
O-mizu hitotsu onegai shimasu.
|Two glasses of water, please.|
O-mizu futatsu onegai shimasu.
|Three glasses of water, please.|
O-mizu mittsu onegai shimasu.
|Four glasses of water, please.|
O-mizu yottsu onegai shimasu.
How to Order Other Drinks in a Japanese Restaurant
Last but not least let’s bring it all together so that you can not only ask for water in Japanese but all kinds of drinks in Japanese. Just as we have discussed before you can use the following phrases when you want to ask for something. You only have to exchange the “____” with what you want.
- ___ o kudasai
- ___ o onegai shimasu
I’ll have ___, please.
- ___ o itadakemasu ka?
Can I get ___, please?
The easiest way to do this is actually just pointing at the menu or the thing you want and say “Kore o kudasai” (これをください) or “Kore o onegai shimasu” (これをお願いします) which mean “This, please” or “I’ll have this, please“. Of course, you can also add the counters we have learned before “Kore o futatsu onegai shimasu (これを二つお願いします) which means “Two of these, please“.
To connect orders you can use the particle to (と):
- O-mizu hitotsu to, o-yu o hitotsu onegai shimasu.
One glass of cold water and one glass of hot water, please.
- Biiru futatsu to, orenji juuzu hitotsu to, o-mizu mittsu onegai shimasu.
Two beer, one orange juice, and three glasses of water, please.
Japanese Word & Kanji List for Common Drinks
Ringo juusu o onegai shimasu
Biiru o onegai shimasu
Koohii o onegai shimasu
Hotto koohii o onegai shimasu
Aisu koohii o onegai shimasu
Koora o onegai shimasu
Nama biiru o onegai shimasu
Esupuresso o onegai shimasu
Orenji juusu o onegai shimasu
Nihonshu o onegai shimasu
Atsukan o onegai shimasu
Ocha o onegai shimasu
Wisukii o onegai shimasu
Aka wain o onegai shimasu
Shiro wain o onegai shimasu