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English speaking restaurants (or menus) outside of Tokyo

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English speaking restaurants (or menus) outside of Tokyo

Hello,

I know Tokyo is the best place for a not too much good in Japanese speaker, but I was thinking if there might be any English speaking staff or English menus outside of Tokyo area? I was thinking of Osaka, Sapporo, Fukuoka and perhaps Okayama. I know there is (or has been) a good Okonomiyaki restaurant in Hiroshima with English menus.

(I can make myself understood to a limit if needed, but if there are any English friendly places you know then it would be an ease to my brain.)

Tokyo, Japan
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1. Re: English speaking restaurants (or menus) outside of Tokyo

>>I know Tokyo is the best place for a not too much good in Japanese speaker<<

Perhaps not. Wherever you go in Japan there is a limited number of eateries with English menus. Many visitors won't find it a big issue though, as they'll improvise a bit by pointing to the one ordered by a person next to them, or the one in the showcase, or in the picture of a menu.

Instead of having to bother with finding restaurants with English menu (which you can search on Gurunavi English site), I suggest buying a small guide book on Japanese food at the airport. But then you'd have to try out in order to know whether you prefer kitsune udon over tanuki soba, or sashimi of lightly roasted bonito over that of soused mackerel.

Edited: 03 May 2013, 19:38
Illinois
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2. Re: English speaking restaurants (or menus) outside of Tokyo

Please look at - http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e2040.html

Toronto
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3. Re: English speaking restaurants (or menus) outside of Tokyo

Osaka, Fukuoka and Sapporo have tons of foreign tourists, especially from neighbouring countries. These days, there are lots of students from China working at restaurants/shops who speak English.

As mentioned, it's rather difficult to try to locate restaurants with English menus. The Japanese address system means you will spend hours looking for those specific restaurants during your entire trip.

The majority of okonomiyaki restaurants in okonomi-mura(Hiroshima) have English menus. It's a sort of tourist trap, after all.

Philadelphia...
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4. Re: English speaking restaurants (or menus) outside of Tokyo

Even in Tokyo, it's easier to look for plastic food displays or picture menus than to try to find English-language menus.

Something that I've suggested, but never actually tried, is to take a picture of the what you want from the plastic food display, then show the picture to the waiter. If you try this, let us know how it goes.

There's a nice little book called "Eating Cheap in Japan." amazon.com/Eating-Cheap-Japan-Non-Tourist-Re… I think it's been out of print for years, but it has photos of the popular dishes, with names in English and Japanese writing, and descriptions.

Amsterdam, The...
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5. Re: English speaking restaurants (or menus) outside of Tokyo

In Oskaka we went to this place, which had excellent Korean BBQ and a fluent English speaking owner:

http://www.yakiniku-rokko.jp/

For Okonomiyaki it's quite easy. You order either okonomiyaki, or modanyaki, where modanyaki has extra noodles in it. And you ask for meat, or seafood (octopus = tako).

They usually make it at your table, with the final steps being: adding sauce, adding mayonaise, and then some fish shavings and seaweed/nori (they usually ask you if you want this and show it to you before they put it on, though the sauce is kinda what defines the taste, so you need those two).

Hong Kong, China
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6. Re: English speaking restaurants (or menus) outside of Tokyo

Even if they don't have an English menu, many restaurants have plastic food displays or picture menus. Ordering is usually not difficult unless you go to a very small eatery or very traditional shop. Remember to just point and use simply English. If you want one of something, just point to the plastic display or the picture and say "one" with your finger raised instead of using a complete sentence. This simple style of English speaking will get you point across much easier in most cases.

Melbourne,Australia
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7. Re: English speaking restaurants (or menus) outside of Tokyo

We found that the point at the picture or plastic food worked fíne but you would need to be careful if you have any food allergies. Many foods that look familiar are not quite what they seem (eg pork that was actually stomach etc) You could find someone at your hotel and ask them to write a simple request in Japanese to carry with you. We did this when we wanted to buy milk to make cups of coffee, just to make sure that the "milk"was noyt in fact something else.

Coolum Beach...
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8. Re: English speaking restaurants (or menus) outside of Tokyo

Our experience has been that few small eating places away from the main tourist areas have had any English but we have Enjoyed lovely meals provided by hospitable and friendly hosts every time. Maybe you could arm yourselves with the kanji for economoyaki and just walk around. Most small cafes base their menus on local specialities. While we have had a few surprises we have always enjoyed what we had to eat.

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9. Re: English speaking restaurants (or menus) outside of Tokyo

That's a brilliant idea with the plastic food outside on display. More countries should adopt this idea really.

Anyway, now I know how to handle this situation, thank you :)

Hong Kong, China
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10. Re: English speaking restaurants (or menus) outside of Tokyo

Chances of you getting served organ meat aren't very high unless you are hitting yakitori places or izakayas.