How to Say Thank You for a Meal in Japanese – A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to expressing gratitude for a delicious meal in Japanese, there are various ways to convey your appreciation. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover both formal and informal ways to say thank you after a meal. So, whether you’re dining with friends, family, or colleagues, you’ll be equipped with the right phrases and customs to express your gratitude. Let’s dive in!

Formal Expressions of Gratitude:

If you want to show respect and formality, here are some phrases you can use to express your gratitude for a meal:

  1. Arigatou gozaimasu – This is the most common and widely used way to say thank you in a formal context. It’s a polite expression that can be used in most situations.
  2. Gochisousama deshita – This phrase is specifically used to convey thanks for a meal. It is commonly said after finishing a meal and carries a sense of appreciation for the effort put into preparing and serving the food.
  3. Kansha shimasu – This expression literally means “I am grateful” and is often used to express appreciation before a meal is served. It shows respect and gratitude for the food you are about to eat.

Informal Ways to Show Gratitude:

When it comes to informal situations, such as dining with close friends or family, you can use these less formal expressions to say thank you:

  1. Arigatou – This is the shorter and more casual version of “Arigatou gozaimasu.” It is commonly used among friends and acquaintances.
  2. Gochisousama – Similar to the formal expression, “Gochisousama deshita,” this phrase is used to express gratitude for a meal. It is commonly used among friends and family after finishing a meal you enjoyed together.
  3. Okage sama de – This phrase roughly translates to “Thanks to you.” It is a friendly and casual way to express gratitude for a meal or any other kind gesture.

Additional Tips and Cultural Considerations:

While knowing how to say thank you in Japanese is important, here are some additional tips and cultural considerations to enhance your dining experience:

1. Bowing:

Bowing is a common gesture of respect in Japanese culture. It’s customary to bow slightly when saying thank you after a meal to show your appreciation.

2. Expressing Specific Appreciation:

When expressing your gratitude, it’s always appreciated to be specific and mention what you enjoyed about the meal. For example, you can say “The sushi was absolutely delicious!” or “I loved the tempura.”

3. Paying Compliments to the Chef:

If you have the opportunity, it’s considered respectful to directly compliment the chef or host for their culinary skills. You can say something like “The meal was superb! Thank you for your culinary artistry.”

Pro Tip: Adding a specific compliment or praise will make your thank you even more heartfelt and appreciated.

4. Gratitude Towards the Company:

In Japanese culture, showing gratitude extends beyond the meal itself. It is common to express appreciation for the company and enjoyable conversation during the meal. For example, you can say “Thank you for the wonderful meal and delightful conversation.”

Examples of Thank You Expressions:

To give you a better idea of how to incorporate these phrases into your conversations, here are a few examples:

  1. Formal:

Host: “Gochisousama deshita.”

Guest: “Arigatou gozaimasu. The meal was exceptional, and I truly appreciate your hospitality.”


Friend: “Gochisousama!”

You: “Arigatou! The sushi was amazing. Let’s do this again soon!”

Expressing Gratitude to a Chef:

You: “Wow, that was the best tempura I’ve ever had! Thank you for the incredible meal and sharing your talent.”

Chef: “Arigatou! I’m glad you enjoyed it.”

Remember, expressing gratitude after a meal is an important part of Japanese culture, and these phrases will help you convey your appreciation appropriately. The warmth and respect you show will be greatly appreciated by your hosts, friends, or family members.

Next time you enjoy a delicious meal in Japan or with Japanese friends, remember to say “Arigatou gozaimasu” or “Gochisousama deshita” to show your heartfelt thanks. Happy dining!

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