Smart & Cheap Japan Travel

Japanese Phrases for Travelers | August 3, 2010

I’m going to try to put together a comprehensive list of useful words and phrases for when you will be traveling in Japan. I will be updating the list as I think of more phrases. Feel free to send in requests.

1. Excuse me: Sumimasen(済みません/すみません)
2. Where is: Doko Desuka?(どこですか)
3. Thank you: Arigatou-gozaimasu(有り難うございます/ありがとうございます)
4. Hello: Konnichiwa(今日は/こんにちは)
5. Goodbye: Sayounara(左様なら/さようなら)
6. When: Itsu(何時/いつ)
7. What time is it? Ima Nanji Desuka?(今何時ですか/いまなんじですか)
8. Yes: Hai(はい)
9. No: Iie(いいえ)
10. Do you understand English?: Eigo wakarimasuka?(英語分かりますか/えいごわかりますか)
11. Me: Watashi(私/わたし)
12. You: Anata(貴方/あなた)
13. I don’t understand: Wakarimasen(分かりません/わかりません)
14. Could you help me?: Chotto Tetsudatte Moraemasuka?(ちょっと手伝って貰えますか/ちょっとでつだってもらえますか)

1. Could you exchange money? (Can be used to exchange foreign currency or to exchange bills for smaller change) : Ryougae Dekimasuka(両替できますか/りょうがえできますか)
2. Change: Otsuri(お釣り/おつり)
3. One Yen: Ichi-en(一円/いちえん)
4. Five Yen: Go-en(五円/ごえん)
5. Ten Yen: Juu-en(十円/じゅうえん)
6. Fifty Yen: Gojuu-en(五十円/ごじゅうえん)
7. Hundred Yen: Hyaku-en(百円/ひゃくえん)
8. Five Hundred Yen: Gohyaku-en(五百円/ごひゃくえん)
9. Thousand Yen: Sen-en(千円/せんえん)
10. Five Thousand Yen: Gosen-en(五千円/ごせんえん)
11. Ten Thousand Yen: Ichiman-en(一万円/いちまんえん)
12. Bank: Ginkou(銀行/ぎんこう)
13. How much does this cost?: Kore wa Ikura Desuka?(これは幾らですか/これはいくらですか)

1. Order: Chuumon(注文/ちゅうもん)
2. Check please (note that the bill is often settled at the cashier and not at the table): Kaikei Onegaishimasu(会計御願いします/かいけいおねがいします)
3. Could I super-size? (usually for rice but also for dishes in general): O-mori dekimasuka(大盛りできますか/おおもりできますか)
4. Tasty: Oishii(美味しい/おいしい)
5. Seconds: Okawari(お代わり/おかわり)
6. Convenience store: Konbini(コンビニ)
7. Chopsticks: Hashi(箸/はし)
8. Set-meal: Teishoku(定食/ていしょく)
9. Glass of water (when in restaurant): Ohiya(お冷や/おひや)
10. Tea: Ocha(お茶/おちゃ)
11. No fish please: Sakana Nashi de Onegaidekimasuka?(魚無しで御願いできますか/さかななしでおねがいできますか)
12. Is this raw fish?: Kore wa Nama-zakana Desuka?(これは生魚ですか/これはなまざかなですか)
13. What meat is this?: Kore wa Nani-niku Desuka?(これは何肉ですか/これはなににくですか)
14. No meat please: Niku Nashi de Onegaidekimasuka?(肉無しで御願いできますか/にくなしでおねがいできますか)
15. Only tuna / salmon / vegetables is ok: Tsuna, Saamon, Yasai Dakenara Daijoubu Desu(ツナ、サーモン、野菜だけなら大丈夫です/つな、さーもん、やさいだけならだいじょうぶです)

In general, just add “Onegaishimasu” when asking for or ordering something. For example: “Ocha onegaishimasu” would be asking to get some tea. Technically it’s “o Onegaishimasu” but that “o” part is often omitted.

1. Train / Subway: Densha(電車/でんしゃ)/ Chikatestu(地下鉄/ちかてつ)
2. Taxi: Takushii(タクシー)
3. Bus: Basu(バス)
4. Transfer: Norikae(乗り換え/のりかえ)
5. Express: Kyuukou(急行/きゅうこう)
6. Special Express: Tok’kyu(特急/とっきゅう)
7. Local train: Kaku-eki Teisha(各駅停車/かくえきていしゃ)
8. Last stop: Shuuten(終点/しゅうてん)
9. Departure: Shup’patsu (出発/しゅっぱつ)
10. Arrival: Touchaku (到着/とうちゃく)
11. Station: Eki (駅/えき)- For a bus stop it would be “Tei” as in “Basu-tei”(バス停/ばすてい)
12. Left: Hidari (左/ひだり)
13. Right: Migi (右/みぎ)
14. Straight ahead: Mas’sugu (真っ直ぐ/まっすぐ)
15. Back/Behind: Ushiro (後ろ/うしろ)
16. From__To__: __kara__made (__から__まで)
17. Airport: Kuukou(空港/くうこう)
18. Ticket: Kip’pu(切符/きっぷ)
19. When is the next train/bus?: Tsugi no Densha/Basu wa Itsu Desuka?(次の電車|バスは何時ですか/つぎのでんしゃ|ばすはいつですか)
20. When is the last train/bus?: Saishuu-densha/basu wa Itsu Desuka?(最終電車|バスは何時ですか/さいしゅうでんしゃ|ばすはいつですか)
21. Is it too far to walk?: Aruki Dato To’osugimasuka?(歩きだと遠すぎますか/あるきだととおすぎますか)

Accommodation & Hospitality
1. Thank you [very much] for the hospitality: [Taihen] Osewa ni Narimashita([大変]お世話になりました/[たいへん]おせわになりました)
2. Lodging: Shukuhaku(宿泊/しゅくはく)
3. How much is the rate?: Ryoukin wa Ikura Desuka?(料金はいくらですか/りょうきんはいくらですか)
4. Are there rooms available?: Heya Aitemasuka?(部屋空いてますか/へやあいてますか)
5. Key: Kagi(鍵/かぎ)
6. Could I store my luggage?: Nimotsu o Azukete Moraemasuka?(荷物を預けてもらえますか/にもつをあずけてもらえますか)
7. Reservation: Yoyaku(予約/よやく)
8. Does this room include breakfast?: Kono Shukuhaku Puran wa Choushoku-tsuki Desuka?(この宿泊プランは朝食付きですか/このしゅくはくぷらんはちょうしょくつきですか)



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Igal Tabachnik and Igal Tabachnik, Josh Shulman. Josh Shulman said: Japanese Phrases for Travelers: […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Japanese Phrases for Travelers « Smart & Cheap Japan Travel -- — August 3, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

  2. I have really enjoyed your posts and find them quite helpful. I’m getting ready to travel to Japan in Sept and this will definitely be something that I can take w/ me.

    Is there anyway that you could put a rough phonetic way of stating these phrases for those who are still trying to figure everything out?

    Thanks again!!

    Comment by RCJ — August 4, 2010 @ 2:53 am

    • Hey, I’m glad to be of help!

      If you need help planning your trip I provide professional consultations.

      Regarding the phrases, I did put the phonetic way of saying them: Kyukou, Ryougae, etc.. Did you mean something else?

      Comment by Josh Shulman — August 4, 2010 @ 3:20 am

      • Thanks that was quick. I appreciate the offer for consultations. I’m lucky in that I am visiting some friends who teach at one of the universities outside of Tokyo. But if I get stuck, I will definitely keep you in mind. 🙂

        As far as the phrases – I think I understand now. Basically, just pronounce them the way that you have them written and I should be fine.

        Again – thanks for your help.
        Take care

        Comment by RCJ — August 4, 2010 @ 3:25 am

  3. How do I know what sylable to put the emphasis on?

    Please add:
    no fish please
    i don’t understand
    how much does this cost
    is it too far to walk

    Comment by michael — August 8, 2010 @ 9:17 am

    • Hi Michael,

      I added the phrases.

      As for pronunciation, in Japanese it’s quite tricky as it’s not that constant. You even have words that have the exact same syllables but can be pronounced differently to mean different things.
      See for example. Emphasis shifts depending on context as well.

      Generally, the emphasis is on the syllable that is one before last.

      Comment by Josh Shulman — August 8, 2010 @ 12:16 pm

  4. how do you say???

    No meat, please

    Only tuna / salmon / vegetables, please

    Comment by michael — September 5, 2010 @ 9:01 am

  5. Hi Josh,
    Could you pls put the phonetics on for #15 in the Food section?

    Comment by Sharon (Michael's sister) — September 16, 2010 @ 7:37 pm

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