Essential Japanese Words & Phrases For Travellers

by Alexandra
japanese language

Japanese Language

If you are traveling to Japan you can always get by with only English. There are a lot of people who can speak fluently English or just enough so they can help you. And people are very kind so they will probably help you and try to speak as much English as they can. But it’s always nice and very polite to try and learn at least a few basic phrases in the language of a country you are traveling to. Here are some helpful phrases which can help you.

An essential Japanese word and phrase are hello and thank you, and you will probably be saying it a lot. Hello is Konichiwa, you probably already heard of it. It is the simple throughout the day hello.

Thank you is arigatou gozaimasu. It is kinda like, thank you a lot. You can shorten it and just say arigatou, but if you really want to be polite you should add gozaimasu at the end.


  • If you are on the street and you want to talk with someone, you should say sumimasen. It’s like excuse me in English. It’s a polite way to stop somebody on the street
  • If you are in need of directions you can ask doko desu ka. Which means “where” is something. For example, if you want to find a restaurant nearby you can ask resutoran ha doko desu ka. Speaking of directions, if people explain you in Japanese where to find something, these are the words you should look out for. Masugu which means straight, you should go straight ahead. Hidari means left and migi means right.
  • Very simple two phrases that tourist would probably get some use of is wakarimasu and wakarimasen which means I understand or I don’t understand. For example, if somebody gives you directions and you get it, you can just say wakarimasu Or if somebody is talking to you in Japanese and you don’t understand at all what are they saying you can say wakarimasen. Also if you don’t understand Japanese and you want to ask if somebody is speaking English you can say Eigo dekimasu ka which is can you speak English?
  • Tetsu datte kure masu ka? It’s a polite way asking somebody for help. You can go to someone and ask Sumimasen, tetsu datte kure masu ka? Which literary means Excuse me, can you help me?
  • When you are in a restaurant you will notice that people say something on their way out. It’s Gochisousamadeshita. It’s really long but once you get some practice using it, you’ll notice you can use it a lot. What you are basically saying is thank you for the meal. So you are saying thanks to the staff, to people who made your food. It’s just a really polite way to say thank you for the food and you say it just before you leave the restaurant.

Now when you are ready, contact us and we will make a perfect Japan itinerary.

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