3 Phrases to Learn Before Visiting Japan

It doesn’t take a lot of Japanese to be able to survive in the country. Although the more you know the better off you’ll be, here are a few key phrases to learn before visiting Japan.

  1. Please/Thank you

As in English, knowing please(onegaishimasu) and thank you(arigatou gozaimasu) will get you quite far. It’s far more nuanced in Japanese but the effort will certainly be appreciated.

Using please and thank you along with pointing at item menus or display cases is an easy way to order food at restaurants.

2. Where is the ____ ?

Getting around in Japan is fairly easy as most places are walkable and trains connect most different districts. With so many different businesses and stores though, it can often be difficult to find where you’re going. By using the simple phrase ‘(place) wa doko desu ka?’ you can easily ask someone to help you find where you’re going.

Stores are often located on the second or third floors of buildings so make sure to look up when you’re wandering around.

3. Greetings

There are several different greetings for different times of day in Japan. ‘Ohayou gozaimasu’ is used in the morning, ‘konnichiwa’ is used for midday, and ‘konbanwa’ is used for the evening. Knowing simple greetings is an easy way to open conversations with others and make new friends.

Knowing the Japanese greetings and when to use them is a great way to start conversations!

Alexis Mullins is a student at the Bowling Green State University and was an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Tokyo, Japan

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