Language Tips – Helpful Phrases to Know Before Going to Japan

January 29, 2013 by

Travel Tips

Photo courtesy of gwaar via Flickr.

As far as languages go, Japanese falls somewhere in the middle. It’s easier than languages like Chinese and Arabic, with simple and straightforward rules, but a little less familiar than Romance languages like Spanish or French. Even if you don’t plan on mastering Japanese, learning a few phrases to know before going to Japan can help make your experience more pleasant.

Planning a Trip? Browse Viator’s Japan travel recommendations. Or book a private tour guide in Japan for a customized tour!

Basics

  • Hello- konnichiwa
  • Goodbye- Sayonara
  • Thank you- Arigatoo gozaimasu
  • You’re welcome- Doo itashimashite
  • I’m sorry- Gomen’nasai

Helpful Phrases

  • Do you speak English? – Eigo o hanashimasu ka?
  • I don’t understand. – Wakarimasen.
  • Where’s the restroom? – Ofuro wa doko desu ka?
  • How much does it cost? – Kore wa ikura desu ka?
  • Can you help me? – Tetsudatte itadakemasu ka?
  • Where is ___? – ___ wa doko desu ka?
  • I want this./I’ll take this. – Kore wo kudasai.

When in Japan, you’ll likely encounter plenty of friendly people who will be happy to help you along, and many will speak at least a little English. Nothing demonstrates your interest in Japan and Japanese culture more than speaking a little Japanese; even if your pronunciation is horrible or you miss a word, you’ll be greatly respected for trying. To ensure you don’t get yourself in a linguistic bind, consider downloading an app like Kotoba Japanese Dictionary or Human Japanese on your smart phone or tablet before you get on the plane.

- Lydia Schrandt

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