7 Useful Japanese Phrases When Traveling
Some say that if you are proficient in the English language, you can survive no matter where you travel in the world as there is usually someone who can speak English.
But be warned: in Japan, English might not always help you since the older generation generally does not speak it, and the younger are not fluent enough to express or communicate properly.
So to be well prepared, it is good to know at least the crucial basic expressions.
Let’s learn 7 Japanese phrases that will definitely help you when traveling around Japan and trying to communicate.
1. “Ohayo gozaimasu” (おはようございます) – “Good morning”
It is what people say to greet each other in a polite way from early morning until before noon.
In some companies, colleagues also use this expression to greet in the afternoon or at night if they are meeting for the first time on that day.
2. “Konnichiwa” (こんにちは) – “Hello”
This is a useful greeting and can be used throughout the whole day, from noon until late afternoon.
It is a polite expression and will help you connect with locals instantly!
Remember to always greet with a big smile.
3. “Sayonara” (さよなら) – “Goodbye”
Though this is equivalent to “goodbye,” it is not used that often.
When among friends, people tend to say “mata ne,” while in a more formal setting, people use “shitsurei shimasu.”
4. “Arigato gozaimasu” (ありがとうございます) – “Thank you”
This is super basic but is definitely the most essential.
And though it seems long and difficult to pronounce, try to memorize it and use it frequently.
5. “~ wa doko desu ka?” (~はどこですか？) – “Where is ~?”
This can be used when asking for specific things like directions to a hotel, a station, or a product in a store.
It can also be used for addresses if you have them written down in Japanese or at least know the area names.
6. “Hai” (はい) – “Yes”
The affirmative is used as a basic reply.
If someone asks your name or needs confirmation on a choice, “hai” will get you forward.
The more polite way would be “Hai, sou desu,” which means “Yes, that’s true.”
It has the same pronunciation as the English greeting “hi.”
7. “Iie” (いいえ) – “No”
The stress lies on the first syllable “ii-e,” and is a bit confusing to pronounce when your native language is English.
In Japanese culture, people try to say “no” softly even though you need to negate at times.
When it is necessary, it would be a good idea not to shout it or say it too strong.
With these 7 basic Japanese phrases, your trip to Japan will surely be less of a communication hassle.
Just try to learn and memorize them so that when you find yourself in the middle of a Japanese conversation, at least you would know how to respond politely.