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Travel tip in Nara : Japan vol.3

Food & Shopping

Travel tip in Nara : Japan vol.3


Do not worry about communication issues when ordering food in Japan. Many Japanese restaurants display their menu outside the entrance using pictures or extremely real wax replicas. Point them to let the waiter understand what you would like to order. As you enter in a restaurant, you will be greeted with the expression irasshaimase (meaning that you are gladly welcome to get in the shop).

If you are willing to have a better communication with Japanese staff, here’s some useful phrase that may help you in ordering your meal. For instance, if you intend to pay by credit card, you should communicate it before ordering (some small restaurant accept only cash).


EN    Do you have an English menu?
JP     Eigo no menu wa arimasu ka?

EN   Do you have a vegetarian menu?
JP    Vegetarian menu wa arimasu ka?

EN   I will have this (pointing the menu).
JP    Kore wo kudasai

EN   How much is it?
JP    Ikura desu ka?

EN  Can I pay by credit card?
JP   Credit card de shiharaemasu ka?

EN  The bill, please.
JP   Okanjō o onegaishimasu

EN  Thank you for the meal, it was delicious.
JP   Arigatō gozaimasu, gochisōsama deshita

Nara offers a wide variety of restaurants to suit anybody’s taste. You can find most of them on Higashimuki or Sanjō-dori streets (near Kintetsu Nara Station). If you are looking for a place to have lunch while visiting Nara Park, you can have a meal at restaurants or street food stands around the Tōdaiji area. Many other typical restaurants can be found downtown or by Naramachi area, the former merchant district of Nara. Restaurants often close around 9PM, so you should take your decision quickly. If you are late, some café around Higashimuki area stay open until 11PM.

A local specialty that you can’t miss is Kakinoha-zushi, tasty sushi wrapped in persimmon leaves.

If you like dessert, the Mahoroba Daibutsu Pudding is also a must. You can buy this delicious homemade custard at Yume-Kaze Plaza in front of Nara National Museum.

Here you can find more articles about local food and restaurants.


Due to lower prices (compared to the main Japanese cities), Nara represents a great shopping spot. A great variety of shops can be found on Higashimuki shopping street or on Sanjō-dori area.

If you show your passport to Tax-free shops staff members, you will be eligible for tax exemption (if your purchase exceeds 10.000 yen for general items or 5.000 yen for consumables). Look for shops displaying a red symbol saying “Japan – Tax-free Shop”.

If you are traveling on a budget, you may be interested in buying souvenirs at convenience stores (as Lawson, FamilyMart or 7-Eleven). 100 Yen Shops are another way to find a wide range of goods for low-budget shoppers. You can find a DAISO 100 Yen Shop on Higashimuki shopping street, very close to Kintetsu Nara Station.

Local souvenirs include the most various deer related goods (such as sweets, gadgets, cosmetics, books and so much more), but you may also appreciate typical Japanese goods as fans, ink brushes, chopsticks, knives, traditional clothes and so much more.


Travel tip in Nara : Japan vol.3


Alice Meniconi
Alice Meniconi

I am an italian designer in love with Japanese culture and Studio Ghibli's movies. In 2015, I moved to Nara for my academic internship. Since then, this city became my second home. After I graduated at ISIA Firenze in 2016, I came back to my beloved Nara to enjoy a three months working experience.

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