Japanese Decoded: Microwave Ovens

It's Time To Heat Things Up

By The Savvy Team
December 7, 2020
Japanese Culture, Lifestyle

Japanese microwaves are handy things but to be honest, maybe too much... Too many options with too many kanjis can make your kitchen life a mess. Here is some essential Japanese to decipher your microwave oven!

The almost infinite list of options available on your Japanese microwave oven is as marvelous as frightening. When you don’t read the language, trying to do something as simple as heating your milk can take ages—and end in a kitchen disaster. We gathered some essential vocabulary you will need when facing this metal and plastic monster.


Microwave Oven 101

Let’s begin with the most essential functionalities of your Japanese microwave oven! From heating to the life-saving cancel function:

Japanese Rōmaji English
あたためスタート atatame sutaato Start heating
電子レンジ denshi renji Microwave mode
解凍 kaito Defrost/thaw
オーブン obun  Oven mode
グリル guriru Grill mode
とりけし / 取り消し torikeshi Cancel

Well, it’s about time…

Picking up the right option is not enough, you still have to tell your oven how long you want it to work—let’s avoid a scorched doria or uncooked chicken fillets.

Japanese Rōmaji English
fun Minutes
byou Seconds
ji Hours

Quick menus

Some microwaves will propose quick menu options for those of us that are pressed by time: just tap on your desired program and your meal will basically cook it by itself!

Japanese Rōmaji English
トースト / トースター toosuto/toosutaa Toaster mode
1枚 / 2枚 ichi mai/ni mai One/Two slices (for toast)
フライ furai Reheat fried items
お弁当 obento Bento box
ケーキ keeki Cake
のみもの / 飲み物 nomimono Drinks
さしみ sashimi Sashimi

And here you go, you should be able to defeat your unreadable Japanese microwave oven now. If other appliances are giving you a hard time, don’t forget to check our washing machine & dryer guide, or our air conditioning guide.

Anything else you would like to see here? Drop us a comment and we will add it to our list!


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