Oishii: Japanese Meaning, English Translation, How to Use

Oishii - Japanese Meaning English Translation and How to Use 美味しい おいしい

In today’s blog post, I’m going to cover the detailed meaning and translation of the Japanese word “oishii” (美味しい). It is one of the most commonly used words to describe the tasty food and drinks in Japan. So let’s find out what oishii (美味しい) means in English and how you can use it in a Japanese sentence.

The Japanese word “oishii” (美味しい) can mean “delicious”, “tasty”, and “sweet”. It is most commonly used to say that something to eat or something to drink has a pleasant or good taste. In formal situations, it is more appropriate to use the politer expression “oishii desu” (美味しいです).

If you want to know more about the word “oishii” (美味しい) and learn a bunch of common and useful phrases that you can use when you are visiting Japan or eating at a Japanese restaurant, read on. You will also get to know the difference betweenumai” and “oishii” and learn a couple of other ways how you can say “delicious” in Japanese.

The Meaning “Oishii” in Japanese & English

When you look up the word “oishii” (美味しい, おいしい) in a Japanese-English dictionary you will see that it has two definitions and meanings. The first one is “delicious” or “tasty“, the other less common one is “desirable” or “convenient“.

delicious, tasty
desirable, convenient

So let’s take a closer look at each of the meanings!

Generally speaking, the word “oishii” (美味しい, おいしい) is used in Japanese to say that something to eat or something to drink tastes good or great. However, while it is the most basic word used to saydeliciousin Japanese, it is so frequently used that it rather means “This tastes good” than “This tastes awesome“.

Furthermore, since in Japanese it is common to omit parts of a sentence that are clear to the listener just the word “oishii” (美味しい, おいしい) can also be translated into a full English sentence. It can either mean “It’s delicious” or “This is delicious“.

Good (taste)!
Great (taste)!
Sweet (taste)!
It’s delicious!
This tastes great!

Most of the time when you hear the word “oishii” (美味しい, おいしい) in Japanese, this is what it means.

However, occasionally, you might come across its other meaning. The word “oishii” (美味しい, おいしい) can also meanconvenient“, “desirable“, “favorable“, or “appealing” in Japanese. So you can use the word whenever a situation, a deal, or something else looks attractive or seems to be convenient for you.


Here are all the possible English translations and meaning according to this online dictionary and my own experience.

  • delicious, tasty, sweet, good (taste), great (taste)
  • convenient, desirable, favorable, appealing, attractive
  • It’s delicious/tasty/good/great!
  • This tastes great!
  • This is so good!

The Meaning & Translation of “Oishii Desu”

Oishii desu” (美味しいです, おいしいです) is the more formal and politer version of “oishii” and means “delicious“, “tasty“, “sweet“, or “It’s delicious“. In business situations or whenever you have to use formal language, you should use the longer version and add the word “desu” (です) at the end.

Oishii desu
Delicious (polite)
It’s delicious (polite)
It’s tasty (polite)

Now let’s look into some more examples of how to useoishiiin Japanese and in longer sentences.

How to Use “Oishii” in a Japanese Sentence

We have already covered how you can say “delicious” or “It’s delicious” in Japanese by using the word “oishii” (美味しい, おいしい) or its politer version “oishii desu” (美味しいです, おいしいです).

So now, I want to show you a few simple sentence structures that you can use to say things such as “This chocolate is delicious” or “This restaurant is great“. The basic sentence structure is “Kono … wa oishii” (この〇〇は美味しい) or politer “Kono … wa oishii desu” (この〇〇は美味しいです).

Kono choko wa oishii.
This chocolate is delicious.

Kono purin wa oishii desu.
This pudding is delicious. (polite)

Kono osushiya-san wa oishii.
This sushi shop is great.

Kono resutoran wa oishii desu.
This restaurant is great. (polite)

When speaking more casually you can omit the particle “wa” (は) and just say Kono .. oishii” (この〇〇美味しい) or the politer “Kono … oishii desu” (この〇〇美味しいです).

Kono choko oishii.
This chocolate is delicious.

Kono resutoran oishii desu.
This restaurant is great. (polite)

When you want to say that something “was good“, “was tasty“, or “was delicious“, you can use “oshikatta” (美味しかった, おいしかった) or the more polite form “oishikatta desu” (美味しかったです, おいしかったです).

This was good!
This was delicious!

Oishikatta desu.
This was good. (polite)
This was delicious. (polite)

Kono wain oishikatta desu.
This wine was delicious. (polite)

Just like in English you can also put the word “oishii” (美味しい, おいしい) before another noun to say things like “delicious …” or “tasty …“. Please note that in this case, you can not adddesuafteroishii” to make the sentence politer. Instead, you have to put it at the end of the sentence.

oishii keeki
delicious cake

oishii gohan
delicious meal

Kono oishii keeki tabetai.
I want to eat this delicious cake.

Kono oishii aisu tabetai desu.
I want to eat this delicious icecream. (polite)

Why Do Japanese Say “Oishii”?

Japanese people sayoishii” (美味しい, おいしい) when something tastes good or delicious. It is most commonly used when they see or eat something appetizing, talk about delicious food, or a great restaurant. However, occasionally, it is also used to talk about a convenient or favorable situation.

  • stating that something looks delicious or appetizing
  • saying that food, drinks or a restaurant is great
  • when talking about something convenient, favorable, or attractive

What’s the Difference Between Umai and Oishii?

Oishii” (美味しい) and umai” (うまい, 旨い, 甘い) both mean “delicious” or “It tastes great“, but “oishii” is the more common and politer phrase and should be used in formal situations. “Umai” is the more casual phrase and should only be used when talking to friends and it has a few other meanings, too.

delicious, tasty
good food, taste, or restaurant
convenient, favorable, attractive (situation, deal, etc.)
(formal expression)

delicious, tasty
skilled, skillful, clever
good at doing something
(casual expression)

How to Say “Delicious” in Japanese

Oishii” (美味しい, おいしい), the more casual umai” (うまい), and the extremely casual “umee” (うめー, うめぇ) are most commonly used words to say “deliciousin Japanese. Other words like, for example, “bimi” (美味) and “zeppin” (絶品) are often used in TV commercials and ads for delicacies with an exquisite taste.

  • oishii (美味しい, おいしい)
  • umai (うまい)
  • umee (うめー, うめぇ)
  • bimi (美味)
  • zeppin (絶品)

If you want to know all the other common words you can use to say that something tastes good in Japanese, check out my linked blog post. It covers the 12 best ways to say “delicious” in Japanese.

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Alex (No war please!)

おはよう. I'm Alex. I have started studying Japanese when I was still a high school student and I have been living and working in Japan since 2015. I'm still learning new Japanese phrases and words every day and I thought that publishing them online will be useful for you, too. Hopefully, my study notes and free Japanese lessons will help you to reach the Japanese level you want to have! If you want to practice your Japanese for free follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram.

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