Japanese Conversation at Convenience Stores

Useful phrases to use at Konbini

konbini from the outside

When you come to Japan, whether it is living or just visiting, it is most probable that you will be shopping several times at a convenience store.

Japanese convenience stores, or as they call it in Japan, “Konbini” (コンビニ), can be found pretty much anywhere within the city and has become an essential part of the city life.

Although most of the time, you won’t need to understand any Japanese when buying an item, there are some cases where the cashier will ask you some questions regarding your purchase.

To avoid any sort of panic due to an unexpected Japanese question, I have listed the main things a cashier may ask you when you go shopping at a convenience store.

Knowing basic Japanese conversation will make your Konbini experience a much enjoyable one.

I also included how you could answer these questions so that your transaction can go smoothly.

I hope this helps you.


Phrases the employee might say (and how to respond)

cash register at konbini1. “Irasshaimase!” (いらっしゃいませ!): Welcome!

This is the first thing you will hear when you enter a convenience store. You don’t need to answer or say anything. If you notice the employee is smiling at you, you may slightly nod.

2. “Otsugi no kata douzo!” (お次の方どうぞ!): Next in line, please!

After you have picked the items to purchase, and you’re waiting in line to pay, you will hear the cashier say this while raising his/her arm high to let the next person in line know they can come forward.

3. “Pointo ka-do wa omochi desuka?” (ポイントカードはお持ちですか? ): Do you have a point card? 

In most cases, this is the first thing they will ask you at the cash register.

Another way they could ask this same question is “Pointo ko-do wa yoroshii desuka?” (ポイントカードは宜しいですか?).

If you’re just traveling, I’d imagine you don’t have a point card. In that case you can just answer “Nai desu” (ないです) which means “No, I don’t.”.

Or, if you live in Japan and happen to have a point card, then your answer would be “Hai, mottemasu” (はい、持ってます) which means “Yes, I do have”, and you can give the employee the point card in that moment.

4. “Botan wo oshite kudasai” (ボタンを押してください): Please press the button.

If you are buying alcoholic beverages or cigarettes, They will ask you to press a button to confirm that you are over 20 years old.

Another way they could ask this question is “Nenrei kakunin botan wo oshite kudasai” (年齢確認ボタンを押してください).

Here, you don’t need to answer. You can just press the button (of course, that is if you are actually over 20 years old).

※Note: Please don’t feel insulted if they ask you this even if you clearly look over 20 years old. This is just protocol.

konbini bento5. “Obento atatamemasu ka?” (お弁当温めますか?) : Would you like for your bento box to be warmed? 

If you are buying a bento box, they will ask you this. They will also ask you the same question if you buy pasta (just replace “bento box” with “pasta” in the phrase above).

Another way they could ask this is “Kochira atatamemasu ka?” (こちらあたためますか?).

To answer yes, then say “Hai, onegaishimasu” (はい、おねがいします) Which means “Yes, please”. And to answer no, then say “Daijobu desu” (大丈夫です) which means “No, thank you”.

6. “Sho sho omachi kudasai” (少々お待ちください): Please wait.

If you answered “yes” in the previous question, then they will say this to you. If there is someone next in line for paying, they might attend that next person while you’re waiting for your bento. This is completely normal, so don’t worry.

7. “Omatase itashimasita.” (お待たせいたしました): Thank you for waiting.

After you have waited for the bento to be warmed up, you will hear the cashier say this as they’ll hand you the bento in a plastic bag.

To answer, a simple “Arigatou gozaimasu” (ありがとうございます) which means “thank you” will suffice.

plastic forks and spoons8. “〇〇 wa otsukai ni narimasu ka?” (〇〇はお使いになりますか?): Would you like a 〇〇? 

If you buy a bento box, pasta, salad, sweats, or drinks, this is how they will ask you if you need a fork, spoon, chopsticks, or straw.

Just replace the following with the “〇〇” in the phrase above.

  • Supu-n (スプーン): Spoon
  • fo-ku (フォーク): Fork
  • ohashi (お箸): Chopsticks
  • Sutoro- (ストロー): Straw

To answer yes, then say “Hai, onegaishimasu” (はい、おねがいします) Which means “Yes, please”. And to answer no, then say “Daijobu desu” (大丈夫です) which means “No, thank you”.

9. “Fukuro wo owake shimasu ka?” (袋はお分けしますか?): Would you like these items bagged separately?

They will ask you this if you’re buying both cold items and warm items. Some cashiers will separate bags without even asking, but if they happen to ask you, then answer the same way as you would in the previous question.

To answer yes, then say “Hai, onegaishimasu” (はい、おねがいします) Which means “Yes, please”. And to answer no, then say “Daijobu desu” (大丈夫です) which means “No, thank you”.

carryingshopping bag10. “Fukuro ni oireshimasu ka?” (袋にお入れしますか?): Would you like a bag?

They will ask you this if you are buying only one or two items.

To answer yes, then say “Hai, onegaishimasu” (はい、おねがいします) Which means “Yes, please”. And to answer no, then say “Daijobu desu” (大丈夫です) which means “No, thank you”.

11. “Shi-ru de yoroshii deshou ka?” (シールでよろしいでしょうか?): May I put a sticker?

This is basically asking the same thing as the previous question but in a different way. If you are buying only one or two items, instead of putting the items in a plastic bag, the cashier might ask if they put a sticker to identify that the items were already paid.

To answer yes, then say “Hai, onegaishimasu” (はい、おねがいします) Which means “Yes, please”. And in this case, if you rather put your items in a plastic bag, you can answer “Fukuro ni irete kudasai” (袋に入れてください) which means “please put it in a plastic bag”.

Another way they could ask this is “konomama de yoroshii desuka?” (このままで宜しいですか?). The answer to this question would be the same as above.

12. “Ichiman-en kara de yoroshii desuka?” (一万円からでよろしいですか?): You’re paying with a 10,000 Yen bill. Is this correct?

Say, if you buy something that costs under 1,000 Yen and you pay with a 10,000 Yen bill. Usually, there is no problem with that in Japan, but the cashier might ask you just to make sure you’re not mistaking it with a 1,000 yen bill.

To answer yes, you can just say “Hai” (はい). And if you actually made a mistake and want to pay with a 1,000 yen bill, then you can say “Suimasen, machigaemashita” (すいません、間違えました) which means “I’m sorry, I made a mistake”. The cashier will return the 10,000 yen bill.

13. “reshi-to wa yoroshidesuka?” (レシートは宜しいですか?): Do you want your receipt?

After paying, the cashier will ask you if you want your receipt. They ask this because in Japan, many people don’t take the receipt.

To answer yes, then just say “Hai, onegaishimasu” (はい、おねがいします) Which means “Yes, please”. And to answer no, then say “Daijobu desu” (大丈夫です) which means “No, thank you”.

Phrases you might want to use

inside a konbini1. How to say “May I borrow your bathroom?”

“Toire okari shitemo ii desuka?” (トイレお借りしても良いですか?)

This is a question you should know since you can use it not only at a convenient store, but pretty much anywhere.

One thing you should know is that not all convenience stores will lend you their bathroom. Conbini located in especially crowded areas such as Kabukicho (shinjuku) or Center street (Shibuya) most likely won’t let you use their bathroom.

On the other hand, there are some convenience stores that you don’t even have to ask to borrow the bathroom. It’s still better to ask just in case.

After borrowing the bathroom, it would be nice if you buy at least a bottle of water in return for them letting you use their bathroom.

2. What to say when no one is at the cash register: 

“Suimasen, reji wo onegaishimasu.” (すいません、レジをお願いします)

This means “Excuse me, can you attend me at the cash register?”.

If you go to a convenience store late at night, the employee will sometimes not be in the cash register. They might be in the back counting stock, or something. In this case, you can use this phrase to let them know that you want to pay.

3. How to say “Excuse me, may I have 〇〇?”

“Suimasen, 〇〇 itadakemasuka?” (すいません、〇〇いただけますか?)

Rarely, the cashier will forget to offer you chopsticks, forks, etc. when you buy something that requires it. If this happens to you, you can say this so that they will give you whatever they forgot to give you.

Just replace the following with the “〇〇” in the phrase above.

  • Supu-n (スプーン): Spoon
  • fo-ku (フォーク): Fork
  • ohashi (お箸): Chopsticks
  • Sutoro- (ストロー): Straw

4. How to say “Thank you”:

“Arigatou gozaimasu” (ありがとうございます)

this is not necessary, but it feels good to say thank you after you have finished shopping.

“Yes” and “No”

konbini cashier

There are many ways you can answer to the konbini employee, but these are the most common and safe ways to say either “yes” or “no”.

“Hai, onegai shimasu” (はい、お願いします): Yes, please.

You could only say “Hai” or you could only say “Onegai shimasu”, but it just sounds better to say “Hai, onegai shimasu”.

“Daijobu desu” (大丈夫です): No, thank you.

There are other ways to say “no” such as “Iie” (いいえ) or “Kekkou desu” (結構です), but depending on the way or tone you say it it might sound rude to some people. Therefore, it is just safer to say “Daijobu desu”. You can add a small wave gesture with it and you’ll seem more Japanese.

Konbini Vocabulary Recap

konbini inside view

  • “Obento” (お弁当): Japanese lunchbox
  • “Kappu Ramen” (カップラーメン): instant noodles
  • “Ohashi” (お箸): Chopsticks
  • “Supu-n” (スプーン): Spoon
  • “Fo-ku” (フォーク): Fork
  • “Sutoro-” (ストロー): Straw
  • “Fukuro” (袋): Bag (referring to plastic bag.) They might also say “Bini-ru Bukuro” (ビニール袋).
  • “miseinen” (未成年): a minor (under 20 years old)

I hope this article helps you when you come to visit Japan or if you are planning on living in Japan in the near future.

Want to know more tips for living in Japan? Check out the following articles!

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