Living in Japan

50+ Essential Kitchen and Cooking Words: English-Japanese Glossary

This article is part of our series on how to live in a Japanese apartment. In this chapter we present a basic English-Japanese glossary of useful words having to do with the kitchen, cooking, and cleaning up.

Room Basics

First, let’s learn the basics of any room. The word for room is heya (へや、部屋). See the charts below for how to say floor, ceiling, wall, window, and door.

Room Basics
English Romaji Hiragana or Katakana Kanji If Applicable Notes
Floor Yuka フロア or ゆか
Ceiling Tenjō てんじょう 天井
Wall Kabe カベ
Window Mado マド
Door Doa ドア

Essential Nouns

Next, let’s go over some useful nouns for the kitchen and cooking, starting with two ways to say “kitchen”. Please see the charts below.

Useful nouns for the kitchen and cooking: Chart 1
Kitchen Kichen or Daikokoro キッチン or ダイドコロ 台所
Dining table Shoku taku しょくたく 食卓
Cabinet Kyabinetto キャビネット
Sink Shinku シンク
Counter Kauntā カウンター
Stove (Range) Sutōbu or konro ストーブ or コンロ
Fridge Reizōko れいぞうこ 冷蔵庫
Microwave oven Denshi Renji デンシレンジ 電子レンジ
Toaster Tōsutā トースター
Rice cooker Suihanki すいはんき 炊飯器
Pot Nabe なべ
Frying pan Furai pan フライパン
Cooking pot (nabe)

Useful nouns for the kitchen and cooking: Chart 2
Dishes Shokki しょっき 食器
Glass Gurasu グラス
Cup Kappu カップ
Bowl Bōru ボウル
Plate Purēto プレート
Chopsticks Hashi ハシ More commonly Ohashi (honorific form)
Fork Fōku フォーク
Knife Naifu ナイフ
Spoon Supūn スプーン
Ladle Hishyaku ひしゃく 柄杓
Dish (drying) rack MIzu kiri ミズキリ 水切り
Colander Korandā コランダー
Peeler Gawa muki-ki or Pīrā 皮むき器 or ピーラー
Grater Oroshi-ki or Gurātā おろしき or グラーター おろし器
Bottle opener Sen-nuki センヌキ 栓抜き
Aluminum foil Arumi-hoiru アルミホイル
Plastic wrap Rappu-firumu ラップフィルム

A cutting board (mizu-kiri).

Everyone likes a neat and tidy kitchen

In the charts below are useful words related to cleaning up and recycling, after you’ve cooked that delicious meal!

Cleaning up and recycling
Sponge Suponji スポンジ
Dish washing liquid Shokkiyō senzai しょっきよう せんざい 食器用洗剤
Dish washer (machine) Shokki arai ki ショッキアライキ 食器洗い機
Dish towel Fukin ふきん
Pipe Paipu パイプ
Clog Tsumari つまり 詰まり
Garbage Gomi ゴミ
Burnable garbage Moeru gomi もえるゴミ 燃えるゴミ
Non-burnable garbage Moenai gomi もえないゴミ 燃えないゴミ
Recycling Risaikuru リサクル
Leftovers Nokorimono のこりもの 残り物
Oversized garbage Sodai gomi そだいゴミ 粗大ゴミ

Safety First

Below are some important words to know related to safety and lighting.

Lighting and safety
Smoke detector Kemuri tanchi-ki けむりタンチキ 煙探知器
Fire extinguisher Shōkaki しょうかき 消火器
Electric outlet Consento コンセント
Ceiling light Tenjō-tō てんじょうとう 天井灯
Light bulb Denkyuu でんきゅう 電球
Light swtich Denki no suichi デンキのスイチ 電気のスイチ
Electric outlet Consento コンセント

Smoke detector (kemuri tanchiki)

A few cooking verbs

There are many, many verbs related to cooking, of course. Below are just a few basic ones.

A few kitchen verbs
Cut Kiru きる 切る
Cook Ryouri wo suru りょうりをする 料理をする
Boil Wakasu わかす 沸かす Also means heat, simmer, bubble, stew
Bake Yaku やく 焼く Also means grill
Mix Mazeru まぜる 混ぜる
Heat up in microwave Chin-suru チンする This is slang!
Eat out Gaishutsu suru ガイシュツする 外出する To _not_ cook at home!
Freeze Kōru こおる 凍る
Defrost Kaitou suru かいとう 解凍 する
Clean up Katazukeru かたずける 片ずける
Wash dishes Shokki wo arau しょっきをあらう 食器を洗う
Separate garbage Gomi wo bunbetsu suru ゴミをぶんべつする ゴミを分別する
Take out the trash Gomi wo dasu ゴミをだす ゴミを出す

A few good expressions

These are a few good phrases when you’re having a meal with friends or colleagues.

A few good expressions
What to say before a meal Itadakimasu 頂きます Literally, “I’m grateful to receive (this food).”
To say thank after a meal Gochisou-sama deshita 御馳走様でした Literallly, “That was a feast!”
Thank you for your invitation. Go shōtai arigatōgozaimasu ご招待有難うございます

You may also be interested in: Guide to reading a Japanese apartment floor plan

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