Guide: How to Say Dessert in Japan

If you’re planning to travel to Japan or simply want to impress your Japanese friends with your language skills, knowing how to say “dessert” in Japanese can come in handy. In this guide, we will explore both formal and informal ways to express this term, without forgetting to provide some useful tips and examples along the way. So, let’s satisfy your curiosity and dive into the world of Japanese desserts!

Formal Ways to Say “Dessert” in Japanese

In formal situations, it is important to use polite language. To convey “dessert” in a formal manner, you can use the word “dezāto” (デザート). This loanword from English is widely recognized and understood throughout Japan. Whether you’re dining at a high-end restaurant or discussing desserts in a formal setting, using “dezāto” is appropriate.

Informal Ways to Say “Dessert” in Japanese

In casual conversations or among friends, you have a few more options to express “dessert” informally. Here are three common expressions you can use:

1. “Okashi” (お菓子)

“Okashi” is a general term for sweets or snacks in Japanese. While it doesn’t specifically translate to “dessert,” it is frequently used to refer to various sweet treats, including desserts. So, if you’re chatting with friends or searching for dessert options in a casual setting, using “okashi” is a safe and commonly understood choice.

2. “Suītsu” (スイーツ)

“Suītsu” is a loanword derived from the English word “sweets.” This term specifically refers to sweet desserts, such as cakes, pastries, and other confections. When you’re looking for a sweet and indulgent treat, using “suītsu” will make your intentions clear and will surely bring a smile to your fellow dessert enthusiasts.

3. “Hanmēru” (ハンメール)

“Hanmēru” is another Japanese term used informally to refer to dessert. This word originated from the English pronunciation of “hammer,” which phonetically resembles “hanmēru.” It might sound unusual, but among certain younger generations and fans of Japanese pop culture, using “hanmēru” to talk about desserts has become trendy and fun.

Tips and Examples


  • When in doubt, “dezāto” is your safest bet for any occasion.
  • Using polite language is crucial when addressing unfamiliar people or in formal settings.
  • Informal expressions like “okashi,” “suītsu,” or “hanmēru” work well with friends and peers.
  • Non-verbal communication, such as pointing or gestures, can also be useful in certain situations.


Formal: Excuse me, could you recommend a dessert? (すみません、デザートをおすすめしていただけますか?)

Informal: Let’s go get some dessert! (お菓子を食べに行こう!)

Now that you are equipped with various ways to express “dessert” in Japanese, you can confidently navigate menus, engage in sweet conversations, or simply enjoy a delightful treat while in Japan. Remember to adapt your choice of word depending on the situation, keeping in mind the formality and the relationship with the person you are speaking to.

Whether it’s the elegant “dezāto” for formal occasions or the casual and versatile “okashi,” “suītsu,” or even “hanmēru” for informal settings, Japanese dessert culture offers a wide range of delicious options to explore. So go ahead, indulge your taste buds, and savor the sweetness of Japan!

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