If you’re visiting Japan and also a tiny worried around the language obstacle (or you simply love languages), we’ve got you extended with these necessary Japanese phrases because that travelers.

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In our overview to what we believe are the most necessary Japanese phrases for travel, we’ll introduce you to a choice of key words and phrases — and explain why the Japanese language obstacle is no as worrisome together you can think.

The reality is, you carry out not should speak any kind of Japanese to have a successful, wonderful pilgrimage to Japan (and if you’re in search of travel inspiration, inspect out our favourite destinations in Japan). However, finding out a couple of key Japanese phrases deserve to make her trip just that much better. So let’s get into it!

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Originally created in 2014, this write-up was updated and republished ~ above November 1, 2019.

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The Most vital Japanese words & Phrases because that Your expedition to Japan

Learning Japanese have the right to seem daunting, yet don’t worry. Friend don’t must learn any kind of of these words or paragraph to have a great time (see why we love Japan).

However, as any type of seasoned traveler knows, make a small linguistic initiative can walk a long way, and also it can be useful to learn even a tiny of the regional language for your travels. We’ve narrowed it down to a small an option of key words and also phrases, separated by category:

Here is a fast look at the words and also phrase you’ll uncover below:

Top 20 crucial Japanese take trip Phrases:

Konnichiwa (こんにちは) – HelloArigatou Gozaimasu (ありがとうございます) – give thanks to youSumimasen (すみません) – forgive me__ o Kudasai (__をください) – i would prefer __, please__ wa Doko Desu ka? (__はどこですか) – wherein is __?Itadakimasu (いただきます) – an expression that gratitude because that the meal you’re around to eatOmakase de (お任せで) – provided to bespeak chef’s recommendation (often for sushi)O-sake (お酒) – general term because that alcoholNihonshu (日本酒) – Japanese sakeKinen Seki (禁煙席) – Non-smoking seatIma Nanji Desu ka? (今何時ですか) – What time is the now?Nanji ni? (何時に?) – at what time?Asa (朝) – MorningKyou (今日) – TodayAshita (明日) – Tomorrow__ ni Ikitai (__に行きたい) – I desire to go to __Tomete Kudasai (止めてください) – Stop, pleaseKippu (切符) – TicketShinkansen (新幹線) – cartridge trainDono Densha? (どの電車?) – i m sorry train?

If you’re concerned around memorizing every this Japanese, or want to discover even more words and phrases, download Boutique Japan’s tiny Phrasebook for free.

And because that an arrival to exactly how to say this words and also phrases, see our bonus video clip to help you practice your Japanese pronunciation.

Basic Japanese Words and also Phrases

Let’s start with a few of the most basic-yet-essential Japanese words and phrases. Also if you only remember exactly how to to speak hello or thank you, you’ll find that Japanese world will be appreciative of her efforts!

1. Konnichiwa (こんにちは) – Hello

Let’s begin with one you’ve more than likely heard before: the word for hello is konnichiwa.

Konnichiwa is frequently used throughout the day, and there are other phrases because that good morning and also good evening (ohayou gozaimasu, and also konbanwa, respectively). But when you’re starting out it’s best to save things simple, and also if friend simply find out konnichiwa you can use it transparent the day come say hello!

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2. Arigatou Gozaimasu (ありがとうございます) – thank you

In Japan, etiquette is no joke, and also chances space you’ll be saying say thanks to you a lot of (learn an ext in our overview to Japanese etiquette).

The word because that thank you in Japanese is arigatou gozaimasu (in Japanese, the u in ~ the finish of some words is barely pronounced to the suggest of being almost silent). You deserve to usually merely say arigatou, i beg your pardon is a little more casual however usually perfect fine. In Japan, where politeness is such a key part the the culture, you will do it be speak arigatou gozaimasu a lot!

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3. Sumimasen (すみません) – excuse me

Excuse me is an important expression in any kind of language, and also Japanese is no exception.

The word for excuse me in Japanese is sumimasen. Opportunities are you’ll also be making use of this one fairly a bit, so if you can shot and memorize it! the a doubly advantageous word, together it have the right to be provided both to acquire a who attention, and additionally to apologize.

For example, use sumimasen at an izakaya (a Japanese-style gastropub) to get a waiter’s attention. At izakaya, it’s often dubbed out together sumimaseeeeee~n! on the other hand, if friend accidentally to walk onto a tatami floor through your shoes on (something you’re likely to carry out at some point) you deserve to use sumimasen to say I’m sorry.

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4. __ o Kudasai (をください) – i would like , please

Now the we’ve extended three simple essentials, we can move onto two crucial sentences that will certainly hopefully help you a lot.

First is I would prefer __, please. This is helpful in a variety of situations: in ~ restaurants, in stores, and also on many other occasions you’ll encounter if traveling. In Japanese, the __ o kudasai (simply to fill in the __ with the items of her choice).

To acquire the most out that this phrase, you may want to discover a few vocabulary words, such as water (mizu), beer (biiru), sake, and also others friend think you might need.

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5. __ wa Doko Desu ka? (はどこですか) – wherein is __?

Last yet not least, us think that quite helpful to be able to ask Where is the __? This is valuable even if you can’t understand the answer, because once friend ask, world will be able to point you in the ideal direction, or even aid you acquire to whereby you’re going!

In Japanese, the __ wa doko desu ka? (simply fill in the __ through the ar you’re trying to reach, such together the Ghibli Museum). One crucial vocabulary indigenous that regularly goes along with this expression for travelers is eki, which way station (for example, Shinjuku eki is Shinjuku station).

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Eating Your way Around Japan: Food and also Drink Phrases

For numerous travelers, Japanese food is a height priority! From standard Tokyo episode restaurants come the legend food culture of Okinawa, there’s a lot to take in. For alcohol afficionados, Japan likewise offers sake, Japanese whisky, shochu, and also other timeless beverages.

While you don’t need to speak any Japanese to enjoy eating and drinking in Japan, these key words and phrases will aid you make the most of your culinary experiences.

6. Itadakimasu (いただきます) – an expression of gratitude because that the meal you’re about to eat

Certainly no required, yet if you to speak itadakimasu prior to you start eating, even if it is in a restaurant or in ~ a person’s home, they will certainly surely be impressed with your manners.

Essentially, this phrase expresses humility and thanks for the enjoy the meal you are about to enjoy. The website Tofugu go a very nice task of explaining the meaning of itadakimasu.

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7. Omakase de (お任せで) – supplied to stimulate chef’s reference (often because that sushi)

If you’re a passionate sushi enthusiast, girlfriend probably already know the definition of omakase.

When you tell a chief omakase de, you letting them understand that she placing the enjoy the meal in your hands. Specifically for travelers through adventurous palates, this is the best way to suffer a meal at a Tokyo episode shop, because that example.

However, the phrase is no only supplied at episode restaurants, and also can frequently be provided at other varieties of facilities as well.

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8. O-sake (お酒) – basic term because that alcohol

Technically osake, this word has tripped many a non-Japanese speak up! when in English the word sake means, well, sake, in Japanese words sake — more politely, osake — describes alcoholic beverages in general.

(Sake and osake are virtually interchangeable; the “o” is what is recognized as an honorific prefix, yet unless you’re examining Japanese in more depth, you yes, really don’t need to worry around this!)

So if you’re looking for sake (which in Japanese is called nihonshu), it’s best to ask because that nihonshu (see below). If she simply in search of an adult beverage (such together nihonshu, shochu, or Japanese whisky), the catchall term sake will do the trick.

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9. Nihonshu (日本酒) – Japanese sake

See above for the distinction between sake and nihonshu!

10. Kinen Seki (禁煙席) – Non-smoking seat

Encountering tobacco smoke is rather of an unavoidable aspect of traveling approximately Japan. This being said, many of our travelers are quite averse to smoke, and also fortunately it’s feasible to travel about Japan without smoke coming to be too lot of a nuisance.

In part places, such as restaurants, you may have a an option between the smoking and also non-smoking sections. Kinen means non-smoking, and seki way seat: placed them together and also you’ve simply conveyed that you’d favor to be sit in the non-smoking area!

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Time-Related phrases in Japanese

Time-related phrases deserve to be extremely advantageous in specific travel situations, and also below you’ll find a few of the most useful Japanese words and also phrases ~ above this topic.

11. Ima Nanji Desu ka? (今何時ですか) – What time is it now?

Chances space you’ll have actually a clock or cell phone on you, yet once in a when you may need to ask a stranger for the time.

The an easy phrase is simply nanji desu ka? which means, What time is it? People likewise commonly to speak ima nanji desu ka? which just means, What time is it now? (Ima method now.)

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12. Nanji ni? (何時に?) – in ~ what time?

This is a particularly useful phrase while traveling. It have the right to be beneficial when to buy rail ticket (see much more on getting about Japan below), making meal reservations, or arranging ticket to events.

Sure, you can just ask nanji? (what time?) and also hope your point gets across, yet by including the preposition ni you have the right to be assured the much much more clarity!

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13. Asa (朝) – Morning

This one is reasonably self-explanatory: asa method morning. While that no surprise that a food-loving society like Japan has actually multiple words because that breakfast, one of the most usual is asagohan (gohan literally way rice, however is much more generally offered to typical food).

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14. Kyou (今日) – Today

Words prefer today and also tomorrow deserve to be an especially useful as soon as buying train tickets, for example. For an ext on transport, check out the transport-related paragraph below.

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15. Ashita (明日) – Tomorrow

When pronouncing words for tomorrow, ashita, the i is practically silent, for this reason it end up sounding more like ashta. If you should express the day after tomorrow, words is asatte.

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Getting around Japan: Transportation-Related Phrases because that Travelers to Japan

For part travelers, one of the biggest concerns around not speaking the language is the possibility of getting approximately the country, navigating the trains, and also trying come avoid getting lost.

Fortunately, Japan has an very efficient and easy-to-use rail network, and you have the right to read all about it in our guide to train travel and getting roughly Japan. And here space some an essential Japanese words and phrases to help you on her way.

16. __ ni Ikitai (に行きたい) – I desire to go to__

On the own, ikitai means, I desire to go.

To express the you’d like to go somewhere, use the expression __ ni ikitai (simply to fill in the __ v the location you’re trying to reach). Because that example, Kyoto ni ikitai means, I want to go to Kyoto.

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17. Tomete Kudasai (止めてください) – Stop, please

Tomete way stop, and also is specifically useful in taxis. The kudasai here means please, and also makes the expression much more polite (tomete on its very own would come turn off as quite brusque).

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18. Kippu (切符) – Ticket

Kippu way ticket (as in train tickets). Together you can quickly imagine, once purchasing rail tickets it deserve to be very useful to have the ability to tell the ticket agent that you’d choose a ticket to a specific place!

Made way until or to (in this case, to her destination). For example, Osaka made means to Osaka. Thus, Osaka do no kippu means ticket to Osaka. Placed it all together with kudasai (for politeness) and also you have Osaka make no kippu o kudasai.

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19. Shinkansen (新幹線) – cartridge train

Ah, the shinkansen. Among the utter joys of traveling approximately Japan is the world-famous shinkansen (bullet train).

Whether you have actually the famous Japan Rail pass or not, if you doing any type of domestic travel within Japan, opportunities are you’ll end up ~ above the remarkable (and incredibly pleasant) shinkansen because that at the very least one if not more of her journeys. Enjoy, and also grab a bento and some nihonshu (see above) because that the ride!

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20. Dono Densha? (どの電車?) – i beg your pardon train?

Wondering i beg your pardon train you need? Imagine you in Kyoto Station, headed for Tokyo. She on her shinkansen’s leave platform, however you see 2 trains.

You present your ticket to a familiar Japanese person, and also ask, dono densha? They take a watch at your ticket and also the 2 trains, and allude you to the right one. And also you’re top top your way – happy travels!

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Download our free Japanese Phrasebook PDF

For those of girlfriend who desire to discover even more Japanese because that travel, we’ve developed the Boutique Japan tiny Phrasebook.

See more: What Does The Name Raegan Mean Ing And Origin, Raegan: Name Meaning And Origin

Our small Phrasebook features closely selected Japanese words and also phrases designed to assist you obtain the most out the your expedition to Japan. You’ll find every one of the words and phrases featured above, and also many more!

The phrasebook is a beautifully designed PDF (it might take a couple of moments come load depending on your web speed).