Useful Tips and Tools for Restaurant Reservation in Japan | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Useful Tips and Tools for Restaurant Reservation in Japan

By Alice Jun 25, 2018

This post is also available in: Spanish

Japanese food attracts food lovers from all over the world, and you can always find what you like to eat within countless restaurants dotting on the streets or neighborhoods you walk pass by. But, wait! Look at the long queues outside those famous or popular Japanese restaurants. You’d better book seats in advance to guarantee that you can enjoy the delicious food you want.

However, making restaurant reservation in Japan is not as easy as you expect, especially when you are a new comer here and speak poor Japanese. Don’t know how to start reservation? Worried about what to say when booking seats? Want to find easier ways of making reservation? Here are some useful tools and tips for making restaurant reservation in Japan!

Telephone Reservation

Find the restaurant you want to go, check its phone number and call directly—this is the most common way to make restaurant reservation in Japan, but it is not friendly to foreigners. Although more and more restaurants, in recent years, provide English reservation service, there are still many restaurants that offer only Japanese language for reservation, and Japanese mobile phone number is usually a must. And due to the increasing issues of no-show and double booking, many restaurants in Japan become very cautious about reservation made by foreigners.

If you are confident in your Japanese, you can try booking seats via phone call. It is also a good way to help you practice and improve your Japanese. But be sure to prepare the following key information for reservation:

1) the time you will arrive at the restaurant;

2) how many people will come with you;

3) your name and phone number.

Online reservation

As we are adapting to an Internet society, there are nowadays many websites and mobile phone applications providing foreign language services in helping people who don’t speak Japanese to make reservation in Japan. Such websites or applications usually require your mobile phone number in Japan and credit card information at registration as a guarantee. And with the Internet service, you can easily check what day and time is still available for you to make reservation.

Some websites or application are catered for Michelin-starred restaurants. They cooperate with those restaurants which are extremely difficult to book and offer seats to their specific users.

Here are some popular websites for online restaurant reservation:

ぐるなび Gurunavi

They offer English reservation support to help non-Japanese speakers make restaurant reservation.

食べログ Tabelog

This website has multilingual versions for searching restaurants, but its reservation services is only offered in Japanese version.



Savor Japan

Press the reservation button on the right hand and it will guide you into English reservation service.

How to Make Reservation

  1. search for the restaurant you want to go through the Internet (probably the easiest way), magazines, commercials, etc.
  2. check if the restaurant accept reservation, and in what way it can be reserved.
  3. book your seats, telling the restaurant what time and how many people will go.
  4. get feedback from the restaurant, whether your reservation is successful or not.
  5. confirm again with the restaurant
  6. bring your stomach and enjoy your feast on the day you’ve booked!!!

When to Make Reservation

Some famous restaurants are very popular and quite difficult to make reservation. You may have to book one or two or several months in advance. For ordinary restaurants, you can make reservation a week or two or three days before. Weekends and holidays are usually most people’s choices to eat outside. Book early or try other times.

Rules to Obey After Reservation

Once you make a reservation, it means you are 100% confirmed to go to that restaurant. Many restaurants prepare every day’s ingredients according to the number of people who come to the restaurant. If you have booked seats but do not show-up in the end, it will bring huge trouble to the restaurant. Therefore, if you want to cancel your reservation, you should do it as soon as possible. You have to be ready for being charged for your last-minute cancellation based on the different booking policies of restaurants.

Also, if you are not able to arrive at the restaurant on your booking time, you’d better call the restaurant and let the staff know. Otherwise, it may cancel your reservation.