[:en]Useful expressions for when you visit Japan[:] | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Useful expressions that will make your life easier when visiting Japan

By Guidable Writers Jan 3, 2018

When you visit Japan, you will encounter some obstacles if you cannot speak Japanese. There are a lot of places which English cannot become an advantage in Japan. So for those who do not know any Japanese words, here is some useful Japanese phrases for when you visit Japan!


1.Basic phrases

I have picked some basic phrases in Japanese, like greetings. You can use these from even when you get on the airplane!



・こんにちは (Pronunciation:Konnichiwa)/Hello

・おはようございます(Ohayou gozaimasu)/Good morning

・こんばんは(Konbanwa)/ Good evening

・ありがとう(Arigatou)/ Thank you

・バイバイ(bai-bai)/ Bye

・すみません(sumimasen)/Excuse me, or I am sorry




(Pronunciation:mou ichido itte kudasai)

/ Could you say that again please?



(yukkuri itte kudasai)

/ Could you speak slowly please?


・~をください(~wo kudasai)

/ ~please.

You can use をください after something you would like to order.


e.g. ラーメンをください。(ramen wo kudasai)

/ Can I get ramen please?


2.Useful phrases when taking the train

When you are in Tokyo or cities in Japan, you will have many opportunities to take the train or metro. There are some useful phrases picked for when you are in a station.


(Pronunciation:Dono rosen ni noreba、kono eki ni iku koto ga dekimasu ka?)

/ Which line should I take to go to this station?

You can use this phrase to ask to staff at a station when you want to know which line you should take to go to the station. You need to show a train line map or a name of the station which you want to go to someone you ask to.



(nanban sen kara de masu ka?)

/ which number platform should I go?

You can use this phrase after you ask which line you should take. Especially, in the big city, you will see a lot of platforms in one place, and two platforms for one train. So be aware not to take the wrong train.



(kono eki made wa、nan hun kakarimasu ka?)

/ how many minutes does it take to get to this station?

When you want to know how long you take to get to the station you want to go, you can use this phrase.



(kono densha wa doko ikidesu ka?)

/ where does this train go to?

You can use this phrase when you are not sure if the train you are about to take goes to the way you want to go.



(doko de norikaeru hituyo ga、arimasu ka?)

/ where do I have to change a train?

When you have to take more than two lines to get to the destination, you can use this phrase.



(saisyu no densha wa、nanji desu ka?)

/ what time does the last train depart?

When you need to know the time of last train, you can use this phrase. There are not many trains after midnight in some places, so be careful when you want to enjoy a night out!



・路線(ろせん/ ro sen) : line of trains

・駅(えき/eki): station

・行く(いく/iku): go

・電車(でんしゃ/densha) : Train

・乗り換える(のりかえる/norikaeru): change a train

・最終(さいしゅう/saishu):the last one


3.Useful phrases at a restaurant

When you need to communicate with staff at a restaurant, use these useful phrases.


(pronunciation: eigo no menyu wa、arimasu ka?)

/ Do you have an English menu?

There are sometimes English menus prepared by restaurants if it is located in a tourist spot. If you are an English speaker, use this phrase. You can swap a part of “English ” to the other languages showed below too.


中国語(ちゅうごくご/chugoku go):Chinese

韓国語(かんこくご/kankoku go): Korean

タイ語(たいご/ tai go): Thai

ベトナム語(べとなむご/betonamu go):Vietnamese

タガログ語(たがろぐご/Tagalogu go): Tagalog



(bejitarian menyu wa、arimasu ka?)

/ Do you have a vegetarian menu?

There are not many restaurants for Vegetarians in Japan. However, sometimes you can find some meal using only vegetables. So if you are a vegetarian, ask the staff if they have them!



(Kado de shiharae masu ka?)

/Can I pay by card?

If you do not have any cash, you are better to ask if it is possible to pay by a credit card before you get the meal. Cards are not available in some restaurants.



(supun to foku to naihu wa、arimasu ka?)

/ Do you have a spoon, folk, and knife?

When you cannot find any cutlery except for chopsticks, and you are not familiar with them.


箸(はし/ ha-shi): chopsticks


(mizu wo kudasai)

/ Could I get a glass of water please?



(okaikei wo onegaishimasu)

/ Can I have my bill please?









  1. Useful phrases when you want to go to a particular place

When you want to go somewhere, but cannot find where it is, there are some phrases to help you.


・~は、どこですか?(~wa、doko desu ka?)


Doko desu ka means “where is it?”

You can use this word after saying some spot which you want to go.



(toire wa, doko desu ka?)

Where is a toilet?



(wai fai wa, dokodesu ka?)

Where is wi-fi?



(eki wa, doko desu ka?)

Where is (the) station?


・ATMは、どこですか?(ATM wa doko desu ka?)

Where is ATM?


I hope those phrases could help your stay in Japan!


nottie/ JAPAN