I’m sure there’re many people who are looking forward to a good meal at Hakone. Recently, there has been an increase in foreign visitors, and there are more and more restaurants providing menus written in foreign languages, but there are still many local restaurants without such menus.
There are also many restaurants with staff that can speak foreign languages, and you will have no problem ordering there if you know some simple Japanese and phrases used when ordering.
Let us introduce some information that will come in handy when at a restaurant.
How to use coupon vending machines
Purchase a food coupon from the vending machine before sitting down. You can order just by passing the staff your coupon.
Many places have menus in Japanese, but there are pictures and the price is written down as well so it is rather easy to understand.
When unsure of how to use the machine, do approach the staff and say “kai-kata wakarimasen (I don’t know how to use this)”.
When there is only a Japanese menu
In these situations, try looking at the pictures provided. There may also be pictures pasted around the restaurant, and you could point and one of them to order.
When ordering, say “kore kudasai (this please)”.
When calling a staff member over
Say “suimasen (excuse me)”, and raise your hand while making eye contact
A teishoku refers to a set menu. Most sets come with rice, miso soup, salad and the main dish.
O-ko-sama lunch (kids lunch)
It is called a lunch, but it is available for dinner as well. It is only available to children 12 and below, and is a plate full of delicious items kids will love.
The service charge is included in the price.
How to use the touch-panel when ordering
There are restaurants with a monitor set up at every table, and you can order with it. The pictures and prices are listed, but it may be a little tricky if you are not able to speak Japanese.
When troubled, try saying “chumon no shi-kata ga wakarimasen (I don’t know how to order).
What ‘free drink’ menas
It does not mean that the drink is free, but that drinks are free-flow.
Even if the menu is listed in your language, it may be hard to visualise something you have never eaten before. When ordering overseas, you may end up getting something unexpected, so do try to talk to the staff, and fully enjoy the local delicacies at Hakone.