Useful Japanese phrases for travelers

When you travel in another country, speaking a few phrases in their language should help a lot to get around the country. 

Japanese people learn English from primary school but most of them are shy to speak English when you speak to them. But once they know you speak even one phrase in Japanese, they’ll be happy to help you even though they can’t communicate well in English. 


So here below are the phrases you should learn before or while traveling in Japan.

The consonant pronunciation is similar to English (Japanese don’t have the difference between R and L), and the vowels are like Spanish or Italian. 




Hello :こんにちは Konnichiwa

Good morning:おはよう(ございます)Ohayo gozaimasu

Good afternoon:こんにちは Konnichiwa

Good evening:こんばんは Kombanwa

Good night:おやすみ(なさい)Oyasumi (nasai)

Good bye :さよなら/バイバイ Sayonara / Bye bye

Thank you:ありがとう(ございます)Arigato (gozaimasu)

You’re welcome:どういたしまして Doitashimashite

I’m sorry :ごめんなさい Gomen nasai

Excuse me :すみません Sumimasen

Please: どうぞ  Dozo (when you give up something)

    おねがいします Onegai shimasu (when you ask somebody to do something) 

Yes / No:はい /いいえ Hai / Iie 

How are you ?:げんき(ですか)? Genki (desuka) ?

I’m fine / good:げんきです。Genki desu.


Adding the word in the () will be more polite, but if you feel it’s too long to remember, you can learn the shorter ones. Basically Japanese people don’t care if  foreigners speak Japanese casually.  The word Sayonara can be too formal for young people and bye-bye is more common among them.


How much is this ?:これはいくらですか? Kore wa ikura desuka ?

Great:すごい(ですね) Sugoi (desune)

Delicious:おいしい(ですね) Oishii (desune)

Beautiful:きれい (ですね)Kirei (desune)

Cheers:かんぱい  Kampai

I would like beer/ water ビール/みずがほしいです Biiru / Mizu ga hoshii desu

Beer / Water please ビール/みずください Biiru / Mizu kudasai

I’m fine / No problem   だいじょうぶ(です)  Daijoubu (desu)


I don’t understand. : わかりません。 Wakarimasen

I don’t understand Japanese.:にほんごがわかりません。Nihongo ga wakarimasen

Do you speak English ? : えいごをはなせますか? Eigo o hanase masuka ?

Do you have an English menu ?  えいごのメニューはありますか? Eigo no menyu wa arimasu ka ?

Where is a toilet / bathroom ? トイレはどこですか? Toile wa doko desuka?


I skip any grammar explanation this time as it’s too complicated to tell in a few sentences. 

The best way to practice is talk to as many Japanese people as possible. If you’re not sure of the pronunciation, it’s a good idea to point these words when you speak to Japanese. 


First, try speaking some words, then your trip in Japan will be much more exciting one ! 





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A tourist guide, showing everywhere in Japan. Guide hundreds of people from all over the world every year. Born in Osaka, lived in Australia and Sweden. Traveled in more than 50 countries.


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