Basic Japanese Travel Phrases You Should Absolutely Memorize
Your travel experience in Japan will enhance a great deal if you remember some basic Japanese phrases.
Japanese people are generally not very used to interacting with foreigners (which does not mean they are unfriendly), and their English communication skill is, in most cases, somewhat limited.
So here are some basic Japanese phrases which will be extraordinarily useful when traveling in Japan.
Arigatou / Arigatou-gozaimasu (Thank you)
This is one phrase you should absolutely memorize.
You can use “Arigatou” in any kind of situation, so if you want to show your gratitude toward anything or anybody, you’re encouraged to say “Arigatou” as many times as you like.
“Arigatou-gozaimasu” is a polite way of saying “Arigatou”.
Suimasen (Excuse me, Sorry, Thank you, etc.)
This is the second most important Japanese phrase. It is an uncommonly versatile phrase as well, and you could use it in a number of situations. For example:
- When you want to say “excuse me.”
When calling staff in a restaurant or shop.
When you want to say “sorry.”
When you want to say “thank you.”
You may wonder why the same phrase could mean “sorry” and “thank you” at the same time; just think it’s the magic of Japanese language!
Dou-itashimashite (You’re welcome)
During your stay in Japan, many Japanese locals would say “Arigatou-gozaimashita!” to you. Saying “Dou-itashimashite” in return will surely induce a smile from them.
Ikura-desuka? (How much is it?)
In Japan, almost all merchandise is sold at a fixed price, so haggling over the price will not really get you anywhere. However, it would be kinda nice to know how to say, “how much is this?” wouldn’t it?
If “Ikura-desuka” is a bit difficult to remember, you can just say “Ikura.”
Just so you know, Salmon egg, which is one of the most popular sushi toppings, also pronounces “Ikura.”
“Hi” does not necessarily mean “yes,” if you are getting linguistically technical. However, travelers do not have to care such a trivial matter, you can just assume that it means “yes.” Please say it aloud in a restaurant or shop, “HAI!”
Eigo-de-iidesuka? (Is English OK?)
“Eigo” means “English” in Japanese. And “Eigo-de-iidesuka?” literally means “Is English OK?”
They will not get angry if you start speaking in English right away, but it would give them a favorable impression if you say this at first.
How about memorizing how to count 1 to 10 in Japanese? It’s pronounced as below:
4 Shi / yon
7 Shichi / nana
How was it? Memorizing these basic phrases will get you a lot of mileage in Japan.
Enjoy your travel!