My Japanese friend went to Kyoto and bought me a box of sweets. I have never seen anything like it before. The skin of the sweet looks like gyoza skin and the filling is red bean. I wanted to ask her what this sweet is. How do I say “what is this?” in Japanese?


Answer by Professional Japanese Teacher
1. これはなんですか。
Kore wa nan desuka
What is this?

2. これはなに?
Kore wa nani?
What is this?

he word “what” in Japanese can be pronounced as “nan” or “nani”. You can say “Kore wa nan desu ka” for the polite version. If you are very close with your friend, you can use the casual version “Kore wa nani?” For more interrogative expressions such as “what is it” or “where is it”, check out our following post!

Top 10 Japanese Interrogative Expressions