Are you planning your trip to Japan? If you travel to Japan for the first time, you may have difficulties with 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.
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.
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 how 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?
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 not be easy to order.
Here are some basic Japanese phrases and words you can use at 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 try to ask the waiter in Japanese.