Basic Japanese For Travel


So back in June 2016 when this blog was still very much in its fledgling stage one of my first posts was about useful Japanese phrases for travel.

Now there were two problems with this:

  1. I was still fairly new to the language and – as a more fluent commenter pointed out – made a couple of grammatical errors
  2. I hadn’t actually travelled to Japan…yet.

And you know what? As it turns out you truly don’t realise what you need to know until you’ve actually spent time in the country itself! You just don’t know what phrases will come in handy, or what won’t crop up altogether! And if you’re anything like me, that probably means you’ll overprepare by memorizing a ton of lingo you’ll never actually use.

Which feels a tad daft in hindsight, doesn’t it?

But here’s the good news: you seriously don’t need to memorize a ton of Japanese to get by in Japan! In fact if my two weeks in Japan taught me anything, it’s that you can get by with the simplest phrases. Memorizing basic Japanese can be totally stress-free, and pretty easy too!

So relax, put down those enormous phrase books and simply remember these twenty easy, Japanese phrases for travel!


  1. Ohayogozaimasu (Good morning)

  2. Konnichiwa (Good afternoon/Good day)

  3. Konbanwa (Good evening)

  4. Sayohnara (Goodbye)

  5. Watashi wa…des (I am…)

  6. Sumimasen (Excuse me)

  7. Gomen nasai (Sorry)

  8. O onegaishimasu (Please)

  9. Arigato (Thank you)

  10. Ii, kekko desu (I’m fine, thank you/No, thank you)

  11. Hai (Yes)

  12. Iie (No)

  13. Wakarimasen (I don’t understand)

  14. Taskete! (Help)

  15. O Toire wa doko des ka? (Where is the toilet?)

  16. Ego hanasemasuka? (Do you speak English?)

  17. Menyuu o onegaishimasu (A menu please)

  18. Kore wa o kudasai (This please)

  19. Ikura desuka (How much is it?)

  20. Okanjo o kudasai (The bill please)

Want to really impress with your Japanese? Then why not memorize these 5 bonus words?:

  1. Sugoi! (Wow/Awesome!)

  2. Suki desu (I like it)

  3. Daijyohbu desu (It’s fine/I’m fine)

  4. Oiishii! (Delicious!)

  5. Gambatte! (Good luck!)

So with these phrases done and dusted just remember that learning basic Japanese shouldn’t be complicated; it should be fun! Encountering the language barrier while travelling really isn’t the end of the world, and people will always help you out. So relax!


And if you’re planning a trip to Japan then I’d highly recommend my post 30 Top Tips for Travelling to Japan! Here I’ve shared my best tips on everything from transport to ettiquitte, so do check it out if interested!


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14 thoughts on “Basic Japanese For Travel

  1. Dreamvoyager

    Last year when I visited Japan, the only word I remember was “Arigato” but this is really great tips! Japan is one of the peaceful countries to visit! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AlicevstheWorld

      I spent about 6 months studying Japanese before my trip so I could speak a little when I went (and still remember some now, thus this post!). And it really is a lovely place :). Beautiful scenery and such lovely, helpful people, who were very patient with my poor Japanese!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dreamvoyager

        Yes the people there are really nice…particularly ones from Osaka are very friendly and joyful!! But also Kyoto was my best choice there!..and its good you already knew japenese before you went…must have felt great to speak in japenese there! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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