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13 Useful Phrases for Shopping in Japan

By Guidable Writers Nov 14, 2017

This post is also available in: Italian

Going shopping is fun, but it also could be tough for you in some cases as you might need to speak or understand Japanese, and you might be afraid of going shopping alone when you do not have confidence in your Japanese.

When you go to supermarkets or convenience stores such as 7-Eleven or Lawson, you might be able to do shopping without speaking or listening to Japanese. But you will need to speak or understand Japanese when you go to buy clothes or shoes, or local shops that sell groceries.

Here are some useful phrases for shopping that help you.

Memorize them carefully and you will surely enjoy shopping!

1. Irasshaimase

This is not what you need to say when you go shopping but this is the phrase that you hear anywhere when you go shopping. This meaning is “Welcome” which is the first word you will hear when you enter the shop. Actually shop staff in some shops keep saying “Irasshaimase” even when no one comes to get attention from people walking by and attract them to enter the shop.

When they say “Irasshaimase” to you, you don’t have to respond anything back, but as it could be a little bit rude if you don’t say anything, you could just smile to them.

2. ◯◯ ha doko ni arimasuka?

This means “Where can I find ◯◯?” You can use this phrase when you are looking for something but you cannot find it.

3. Shichaku dekimasuka?

This meaning is “Can I try it on?” You probably want to try on the clothes or shoes when you find nice ones. Sometimes the shop staff explains to you that you can try them on even when you are just looking around the shop, however, it is better for you to ask them with this phrase before you take things into the fitting room.

4. Chigau iro wa arimasuka?

This meaning is “Do you have different colors?” When you find nice clothes, shoes or bags, but it is not in your favorite color, you might want to ask if they have any different colors, in such situation, this phrase becomes useful for you.

5. Ookina saizu wa arimasuka?

This meaning is “Do you have a bigger size?” When you find nice clothes or shoes but it is not your size, or when you find out that it is a little bit too small for you after you try it on, you need to ask the shop assistant if they have a bigger size and you can use this phrase.

6. Chiisana saizu wa arimasuka?

This meaning is “Do you have a smaller size?” When you need a smaller size, you can use this phrase to ask the shop staff .

7. Sukoshi kangaemasu

This meaning is “ I will think about it.” When you try on the clothes or shoes, but you didn’t like them or you think they don’t suit you and decided not to buy them, you can use this phrase.

Normally they ask you what you think about the clothes or shoes you tried on when you come out of the fitting room, and you need to tell them that you are not going to buy them but it is better not to tell them directly, so use this phrase instead.

8. Ikura desuka?

This means “How much is it?” and maybe one of the most famous and important Japanese phrases.

Once you remember this phrase, you can use it anywhere.

9. Kore wo itadakimasu.

You might think that “Itadakimasu” is a phrase that you use before you have a meal. But “Itadakimasu” is also a phrase that means “I will take or get” in a polite way. Therefore, in this case, this means “ I will take this.”

You can use this phrase when you decide to buy the clothes and want to tell the shop staff that.

10. Ka-do wa tsukaemasuka?

If you translate this phrase into English directly, it means “Can I use the card?” but in this case, it means “ Do you take credit cards?”

You can use most of the major credit cards, such as Visa, Master, American Express in major shops but some shops do not accept the payment by credit cards if the amount of payment is too small. Also, be aware that you might not be able to pay by credit card at some local shops.

11. Nanji ni shimarimasuka?

This means “What time do you close?”. When you find a favorable shop, but do not have time to look around at the moment, you might want to come back later. In Japan, most of the shops are open until 8:00 pm or 9:00 pm, so you will have time to go shopping after school or work. Also, there are a lot of convenience stores in Japan that opens for 24 hours every day.

12. Makete moraemasuka?

This means “Can I get a discount?” You usually cannot ask for a discount at shops but you might be able to do at some food markets or flea markets. It is said that people from west part of Japan are good at asking for a discount. Why not learn from them if you have friends from there?

13. Kore wo henpin shitai desu.

This is the phrase that you can use when you want to give back what you bought at the shop. You can give them back if you have not used them but you cannot once you have used it. Also, you need a receipt when you want to give them back.

These are useful phrases that you can use for shopping. You might find it difficult to understand or speak Japanese while shopping, but this could be a good opportunity and lesson for you to speak or learn daily conversation.

Enjoy shopping as well as speaking Japanese. It is fun!


superokami / Japan