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The date is set, you have planned to go to Japan. From gastronomy to landscapes and culture, a change of scenery is guaranteed. Everything is ready for your departure, but there is still a problem, the language…

If you’re planning on going to places further afield than the main island (like Shikoku or Kyūshū), it’s helpful to know a few polite phrases and formulas to help you get by. The Japanese particularly appreciate tourists who make an effort to speak their language, so it’s up to you!

In this article you can discover and learn 60 Basic Japanese Phrases To Learn for Traveling:

The Japanese babe

Japanese pronunciation can seem intimidating, but don’t panic! It’s all about practice, and you’ll just need a little practice to feel more comfortable.

Vowels, AIUEO

Japanese lanterns with words in Japanese

Photo credit: Shutterstock – ESB Professional


Japanese building and cherry blosssom

Basics in Japanese

Word written in Japanese on exit sign among ferns
Good morning)ohayō gozaimasu
Hello (during the day)konnichiwa
Good eveningkonbanwa
Goodbye (polite)sayonara
See youmata ato de
Goodbye (from English bye-bye, casual)for fear
See you (casual)Not me
Pleaseonegai shimasu
Thank you (polite)arigato gozaimasu
Thank you (more casual)arigato
It was nothingdo itashimashite
An all-purpose polite formula that can be used when introducing yourself to someoneyoroshiku onegai shimasu
What is your name ?o namae wa nan desu ka?
My name is …watashi no namae wa… desu
How are you doing ?o genki desu ka?
I’m fine / I’m not finewatashi wa genki/genki ja nai desu
Where are you from ?doko kara kimashita?
I come from kara kimashita
What nationality are you ?nani jin desu ka?
I am desu
Excuse me (to approach someone, or to apologize)sumimasen
I’m sorry (to apologize for something more serious)gomen nasai
It’s not seriousdaijōbu desu
I don’t know, I don’t understandwakarimasen

Expressions for orientation

Night city street and light  latern adorned with japanese words
Where is the station ?eki wa doko desu ka?
Where is the restroom ?toire wa doko desu ka?
How do we get to…?… made do yatte ikimasu ka?
I would like one / two / three / four tickets for … please.… made no kippu wo hitotsu / futatsu / mittsu / yottsu kudasai
I have a JR passJR-Pass wo motte imasu
I would like to buy a Suika cardsuika-kādo wo kaitai desu
What time is the last train?shūden wa nan ji ni mairimasu ka
The Subwaymetro
The busthey don’t
Is there a taxi stand?takushii noriba wa arimasu ka?
Where is the taxi stand?takushii noriba wa doko desu ka?
I would like to go to …… ni ikitai desu
How much does it cost to go to …?…made wa ikura desu ka?
Straight aheadmassugu
U-turnU (pronounced in English, you ) tān
Beforethere is
Beside ……no tonari
I’m lostmichi ni mayotta desu
Could you show me the way to …?… made no ikikata wo oshiete kuremasu ka?
What time is it ?ima nan ji desu ka?

Expressions to understand and be understood

Hanging wooden plates with japanese calligraphy on them

I did not understand very wellyoku wakarimasen deshita
Could you please repeat ?mō ikkai itte kuremasu ka?
Would you speak slower, please ?mō chotto yukkuri hanashite kuremasu ka?
Could you speak louder please?motto ōki koe de hanashite kuremasu ka?
I only speak a little Japanesenihongo wo chotto shika wakaranai desu
I don’t speak Japanese at allnihongo wo zenzen wakaranai desu
Do you speak English?eigo wo wakarimasu ka?
What does mean … ?…wa dō iu imi desu ka?
What is this ?kore wa nan desu ka?

Useful expressions in the restaurant or in the shops

Japanese calligraphy on red item in the woods

How much does it cost ?kore wa ikura desu ka?
I would like to buy thiskore wo kaitai desu
We are two (to ask for a table)futari desu
A beer/a glass of water pleasebīru/mizu wo hitotsu kudasai
The check, pleaseo kaikei kudasai
Do you accept credit card?kurejitto kādo wo tsukaemasu ka?
Is there a ticket machine?ATM wa arimasu ka?

A few more tips to help you

One of the golden rules in Japan is respect. Here are some tips to go unnoticed and not get noticed in the bad sense of the word.

How to improve in Japanese?

If learning a few expressions bit by bit can be very useful during a trip, it takes a little more to achieve mastery of a foreign language. Don’t panic, learning has nothing to do with your old school memories! Here are some websites and apps to get you started practicing Japanese.