Basic Japanese Phrases and Words for Travellers

Basic Japanese Phrases and Words for Travellers

Japan Travel Guide

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Are you planning your trip to Japan? If you travel to Japan for the first time, you may have difficulties in language barriers as not many Japanese can speak English. However, fear not!

Here are some essential Japanese phrases and words to help you with greetings, ordering at restaurants, shopping, counting and getting around. 

basic Japanese phrases and words when traveling

 

Greetings in Japanese

One of the main things that I love about Japanese culture is their communication. The basic “Hello” in Japanese is “Konichiwa.”

Here are other Japanese phrases that you can use when greeting:

Good morning: Ohayo gozai masu (おはようございます)

Good afternoon: Konichiwa (こんにちは). It can also be used when greeting the first meeting, regardless of the time of day, similar to Hello.

Good evening: Konbanwa (こんばんは)

What’s your name?: Namae wa?

My name is …: Watashi wa …

Nice to meet you: Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu. (よろしくおねがいします)

How are you?: Ogenki desuka? (お元気ですか)

Goodbye: Sayonara (さよなら)

See you again!: Mata ne. (またね)

I don’t understand: Wakarimasen (わかりません)

 

Basic Japanese phrases and words

Here are some essential Japanese phrases and words that you should know when visiting Japan. Besides greetings, learning how to say “thank you” and “sorry” is also useful.

Basic Japanese Phrases and Words for Travellers

Thank you: Arigatou (ありがとう)

Yes: Hai (はい)

No: Ie (いいえ)

When disturbing someone, even if it is the smallest thing – please don’t forget the apology because that’s the way the person who gets the apology feels less bothered.

Sorry/ Excuse me: Sumimasen (すみません)

Sorry (If you make a mistake: Gomen nasai (ごめんなさい)

Please: Onegaishimasu (おねがいします)

You’re welcome: Doitashimashite (どういたしまして)

When: Itsu (いつ)

Where: Doko (どこ)

What time is it: Ima wa nan ji desu ka. (今は何時ですか)

 

How to order Japanese food in a restaurant?

How to order Japanese food in Japanese restaurant?

If you are traveling to Tokyo or other main tourist areas, the restaurants usually have a menu in English. However, not all Japanese restaurants have an English menu for foreigners, so it may be difficult to order.

Here are some basic Japanese phrases and words you can use at the restaurants in Japan.

Can I have a beer?: Biru Onegaishimasu

Can I have (name of food or drinks)?: (Name of food or beverages) Onegaishimasu

Before meals, Japanese people often clasp their hands in front of their chests and say: Itadakimasu (いただきます)

 

Essential Japanese words for food & drinks

Lots of Japanese menu does not have English, so you may try to recognize the words, or you can try to ask the waiter in Japanese.

Sweet: Amai (甘い)

Salty: Shiokarai (塩辛い)

Spicy: Tsurai (辛い)

Beef: Gyu Niku (牛肉)

Pork: Buta Niku (豚肉)

Chicken meat: Tori Niku (鶏肉)

Fish: Sakana (魚)

Rice: Gohan (ご飯)

Soup: Supu (スープ)

Beer: Biru (ビル)

Alcohol Liquid: Sake (お酒)

-> Please check Japanese food list for more words. 

 

Counting in Japanese

Here are some basic phrases you can use when going shopping. Please note that Japanese people don’t bargain when selling their products.

How much is it?: Ikura desu ka? (いくらですか)

I want this: Kore o kudasai (これをくださ)

One: Ichi 一

Two: Ni 二

Three: San 三

Four: Yon 四

Five: Go 五

Six: Roku 六

Seven: Nana 七

Eight: Hachi 八

Nine: Kyu 九

Ten: Jyu 十

 

How to ask for direction in Japanese?

For those who are traveling or living and working in Japan, the problem of getting lost is inevitable. You may need to ask for the help of the natives. How to ask for direction in Japanese?

Where is it?: Doko? (どこ)

If you’d like to ask for any location, you can ask …. + [doko desu ka?] (どこですか)

For example:

Where is the hotel?: Hoteru wa doko desu ka?

Where is the restaurant?: Resutoran wa doko desu ka?

Where is the toilet?: Toire wa doko desu ka?

Japanese phrases to ask for directions

1. Excuse me. I’m lost. I don’t know where I am right now.
すみません、道に迷ってしまいました。今どこにいますか?
(Sumimasen,-dō ni mayotte shimaimashita. Ima doko ni imasu ka?)

2. Excuse me, on this map, where am I? Can you please help me?
すみません、この地図で、私はどこにいますか?お教えてもらえませんか。
(Sumimasen, kono chizu de, watashi wa doko ni imasu ka? O oshiete moraemasen ka.)

3. Excuse me. I want to go to … can you show me how to go?
すみません、。。。へ行きたいんですが、どうやっていけますか?
(Sumimasen,… E ikitai ndesuga, dō yatte ikemasu ka?)

4. Excuse me. I want to go to … where is the nearest train or subway station?
すみません、。。。へ行きたいんですが、一番近い駅や地下鉄などはどこですか?
(Sumimasen,… E ikitai desuga, ichiban chikai eki ya chikatetsu nado wa dokodesu ka?)

5. Excuse me, from here to … is it far? From here to … how long does it take?
すみません、ここから。。。まで遠いですか?どのぐらいかかりますか?
(Sumimasen, koko kara… Made tōidesu ka? Dono kurai kakarimasu ka?)

6. Excuse me, can I walk to …?
すみません、。。。へ歩いて行ってもいいですか?

7. Excuse me, is there a bus stop here?
すみません、ここにはバス停がありませんか?
(Sumimasen,… E aruite itte mo īdesu ka?)

8. Excuse me, besides taking taking to go to …, is there any other way?
すみません、。。。へはタクシー以外のは、何がありますか?
(Sumimasen,… e wa takushī igai no wa, nani ga arimasu ka?)

 

Basic Japanese words for location

basic Japanese phrases and words when traveling

Hotel: Hoteru (ホテル)

Restaurant: Resutoran (レストラン)

Toilet: Toire (トイレ)

Police station: Keisatsusho (警察署)

Hospital: Byoin (病院)

Train station: Eki (えき – 駅)

Bank: Ginko (銀行)

Park: Koen (公園)

Post office: Yuubinkyoku (郵便局)

 

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