4 Useful Survival Japanese Phrases for Tourists

  • Most people travel for the sheer fun of it, not knowing the difficulties they may encounter brought about by miscommunication from language barriers. When you venture out beyond the comfort zone of your own country for a long time, you have to get to know the local people, read the signs, make friends and so on. This is only possible if you learn a little bit of the language. Here are some of the most commonly used phrases in Japan which can be very helpful for your trip.


    1. Ohayou Gozaimasu (Good Morning)


    Japanese people are polite. It seems like a critical part of their society to function well. A polite way of saying “Good Morning” in Japanese is “Ohayou Gozaimasu.” This is used in formal settings such as greeting a teacher. On the other hand, greeting a friend or family member can be done in an informal way by saying, “Ohayou.” If you use “Ohayou” to greet a teacher, it is a sign of disrespect and may be considered rude in the Japanese setting.

    2. Arigatou Gozaimasu (Thank You)


    There is also a formal and informal way of saying “Thank You” in Japan. “Arigatou Gozaimasu” is the formal way of saying Thank You while “Arigatou” is the informal way. These are accompanied with bows. The formal way is used for either something that will be done or something that has already been done.

    3. ~e Ikitai Desu (I want to go to~)


    Once you’re in Japan, you’ll be using several modes of transportation from trains, buses and cars. In case of using a taxi, you need to tell the driver where you’re heading, so you’ll probably need to learn the phrase “[location name] e Ikitai Desu.” “Ikitai” means “want to go.”

    4. Ue, Shita, Migi, Hidari (Up, Down, Right, Left)


    Some of the phrases you need to know are very basic and have something to do with directions. They are very useful in many situations as well.
    These are a few key phrases that will make your travels in Japan a little easier. Make sure to practice before your trip!