Useful Japanese Words When Traveling
Let’s prepare yourselves and learn some useful Japanese words for situations that you are definitely going to face during your next trip in Kansai.
Learning a new language is very challenging and exciting, especially when you can actually use it in real life and spice up your experience abroad. Personally, practicing words or phrases through using it at the real situation is one of the most effective way to learn. Here are some tips you can apply.
- Don’t worry about the accent
- Speak slowly but clearly
- Say it like no one is judging you
- Use gesture or point at pictures
These are basic phrases that you can use since stepping into the airport. Starting from the simple ones is a good first step for you to get familiar with the language.
- Konnichiwa (Hello)
- Sayōnara (Goodbye)
- Arigatō (Thank you)
- Sumimasen (Excuse me)
- Gomennasai (I am sorry)
- Kekkō desu (No, thank you)
You will hear this word when entering any shops or restaurant as it means “welcome”. Don’t be surprised when the staffs say it out so loud or randomly sometimes. It is how they show their hospitality and greet customers enthusiastically.
- Kore wo kudasai
Kore means “this” and “Kudasai” is used when you specify or choose something. You can replace kore with anything that you would like to get when being asked. For example, “black cofee wo kudasai” when you order a cup of black coffee. Still, this phrase is applicable to commonly well-known foreign words. Otherwise, you can say it while pointing at the things you want to order.
- Oishii desu
We all know about this one. Let’s use it when you enjoy the meal and bring smiles on chef and staff’s faces
- Tabako wo suttemo iidesu ka?
Some restaurants or cafes in Japan still allow their customers to smoke during the meal only at the specific time like lunch time or afternoon. If you want to smoke but can’t find any smoking room nearby. Please use this phrase to ask the staff directly.
- Okaikei onegai shimasu
Use it when you finish your meal and do the payment at the restaurant. FYI, “onegai shimasu” is very important and used all the time phrase, literally. The meaning is close to the word “please”, often used after you ask people do something in the polite way.
- Kono kurejitto kādo wa tsukaemasu ka?
Nowadays credit card payment is accepted in most places in Japan. Still, when you go to mom & pops restaurants or local shops, there is some chances that they accept only cash. Please prepare some cash when travelling away from the city, just in case.
- Shichaku shite iidesu ka?
“shichaku” means try clothing. Interestingly, “iidesu ka” means can I or may I, using when asking for permission. It is the same phrase used earlier as asking if it is okay to smoke.
- ____wo sagashite imasu
Put the name of places, people or things are looking for at the front of the sentence. For example, “Tokyo station wo sagashite imasu” to ask for the way to Tokyo station, “Staff wo sagashite imasu” when looking for the staff in the store and “Jeans wo sagashite imasu” when looking for a pair of jeans.
- ōkii / Chīsai
Very straightforward, it means big and small in respectively.
- Ikura desu ka?
Use it when asking for the price.
Words & Numbers
Lastly, these are common words that involve with foreign tourists. It is more fun when you try mix and match these words with phrases you just learned earlier.
- Kūkō (Airport)
- Ryōgae (Currency Exchange)
- Menzeiten (Duty-free shop)
- Eki (Station)
- Kankōannaijo (Tourist information center)
- Keisatsusho (Police office)
- Ginkō (Bank)
- Toire (Toilet)
- ichi – ni – san – shi/yon – go
- roku – shichi/nana – hachi – ku/kyū – jū
That’s for today.
Hope that it is useful. Keep practicing!
Know more about other Japanese cultures and traditions
- Japanese Manners List: Do you know your manners??
- Elevator Manners In Japan: 5 Things You Should Know
- Japanese Table Manners: What NOT to Do When Eating Japanese Food