learn japaneseGetting ready for an upcoming trip to Japan and just realized you don’t know a word of Japanese?! Don’t worry, whether you’re trying to order food at one of the best restaurants in Tokyo or need directions to the nearest subway station, we’ve got you covered. While learning a foreign language may seem daunting, here is an easy list of the key Japanese phrases to get you through your trip!

My first time in Japan I spoke very little Japanese and relied on Google Translate for help. Yet during my second trip, I learned the basic phrases below and it made the world of difference. Probably most fun was how excited the Japanese people were that my friend and I were making an attempt. It opened doors to new friendships and made our interactions with the locals much more meaningful.

I encourage you to review the basic phrases below so you can do the same!


1

Hello

Kon’nichiwa (こんにちは)

KON-nee-chee-wah


2

Thank You

Arigatō (ありがとう)

ah-ri-GAH-toe

You can add gozaimasu at the end for more formality. The Japanese can be a very formal culture, and it is quite common for the gozaimasu to be added to the end:

ah-ri-GAH-toe    go-zai-MAS


3

Excuse Me

Sumimasen (すみません)

su-me-mah-SEN


4

Yes

Hai (はい)

Hai

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5

No

Īe (いいえ)

ee-EH

 

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6

Good Morning

Ohayō (おはよう)

o-hi-O

You can add gozaimasu at the end for more formality:

o-hi-O   go-zai-MAS


7

Where is the Station?

Eki wa dokodesu ka (どこに駅があります)

EH-key wa DO-ko DEHS-ka

doko desu ka = Where

eki = Station

Literally, you are saying “Station where” and “ka” serves as a spoken question mark


8

Good Night

Oyasumi (おやすみ)

oh-YAH-soo-me


 

9

How Old Are You?

Nan-saidesu ka (何歳ですか)

NAN-sai DES-ka


10

How Much is This?

Ikuradesu ka (いくらですか)

ee-KOO-rah DES-ka

Ikura (いくら) = How much

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Listen to Audio Pronunciation!


 

11

English (the language)

Eigo (英語)

AY-go (gah)

Add gah when using it in a sentence


12

 Japanese (the language)

Nihongo (日本語)

nee-HON-go


13

Do You Understand?

Wakarimasu ka (わかりますか)

wah-kari-MAHS kah

kah is like a spoken question mark

Do You Understand English?AYY-go gah wah-kari-MAHS kah

I Understand – wah-kari-MAHS

I Don’t Understand – wah-kari-mah-SEN


14

A Little

Sukoshi (少し)

sKOH-she

I Understand a little Japanesenee-HON-go ga sKOH-she wah-kari-MAHS


15

American

Amerika (アメリカ)

am-meri-KAH jeen


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