Traveller’s handbook: Learn these simple Japanese phrases to help you get around Japan.
Konnichiwa! There’s your first Japanese word, which means “hello”! Getting around Japan without being able to speak a word of Japanese may pose as a challenge, especially if it is your first time there.
So equip yourself with some basic Japanese phrases and words to get around. The Japanese locals will be amused with your language skills. Plus, you might actually find yourself so in love with Japanese that it might become your second (or third) language!
Here are 10 easy phrases that you can use to get around Japan with:
- ありがとうございました or Arigatogozaimashita – thank you
This can either mean thank you or thank you very much. As the Japanese are very polite, you should also display your manners while in their country. Saying thank you is the best way to show your gratitude to them.
- 私はどのように駅に着きますか？or Watashi wa dono yō ni eki ni tsukimasu ka? – How do I get to the station?
This is a very useful phrase to have on hand especially if you are taking the public transportation around Japan.
- お腹が空いています onaka ga suite imasu – I’m hungry!
I am hungry! Well, if you can’t voice out where to find the closest food place, then at least telling someone you’re hungry will be close enough to get you to the nearest ramen bar!
- お名前は何ですか？ o namae wa nan desu ka – What’s your name?
If you’re getting to know someone, getting to know their name is probably a great way to start. It is also a good phrase to practice your Japanese with as you can use it in so many situations.
- それは良いです Sore wa yoidesu – it’s good
Whether it’s referring to food, the size of the clothes you’re buying or checking something out, you can always use this compliment in Japanese. It’s easy to remember and say too!
- すみません sumimasen – excuse me, sorry, thank you
This phrase is a little like “pardon me” in English, which is a really versatile phrase to learn. You can use it to try and excuse yourself if someone is blocking your way or even to apologise if you accidentally nudge someone in the subway or while walking!
- おいしいです oishidesu – it’s delicious!
This will win you plenty of brownie points with chefs and restaurant owners when you tell them their food is delicious.
- いただきます itadakimasu – let’s eat
When you’re dining at home or even out with local Japanese, you might hear them say this a lot before the meal. They may even say it with a look of reverence or a tiny bow. This phrase actually goes beyond its literal meaning of “let’s eat”, it is also meant to express gratitude towards the meal and everyone involved in the meal.
- じゃあまたね ja matane – see you later
In a less formal way to say goodbye, you can tell your new friends see you later.
- さようなら sayonara – goodbye
Bid your new Japanese friends a heartfelt goodbye with this phrase and a little bow as a sign of respect.
For more essential information on Japan, visit Journey of Japan’s website for their quick introduction on all things Japanese!