If you’re planning a trip to Japan, it’s important to know some basic Japanese travel phrases to help you navigate the country and communicate with the locals.

A few Japanese speak English, especially in major cities, but using Japanese phrases can make a big difference in showing respect and building relationships with the locals.

From simple greetings to ordering food in a Japanese restaurant, a basic understanding of local phrases can go a long way. To help you get started, we’ve compiled some essential Japanese words and phrases for travelers, courtesy of Boutique Japan.

First, greetings such as “Konnichiwa” (hello) and “Arigatou” (thank you) are a great way to show respect and politeness when interacting with locals.

Simple phrases like “Sumimasen” (excuse me) and “Onegaishimasu” (please) can also be helpful in various situations.

When it comes to ordering food in a restaurant, phrases like “Chuumon wo onegaishimasu” (I would like to order, please) and “O-mizu wo kudasai” (Can I have some water, please?) can help make your dining experience smoother. In addition, asking “Nani wo osusumeshimasu ka?” (What do you recommend?) can lead to the discovery of new and delicious Japanese dishes.

These are just a few examples of essential Japanese phrases for travelers. By learning some basic Japanese travel phrases, you can enhance your travel experience and make meaningful connections with locals.

So start practicing and have a wonderful trip in Japan!

Here are useful Japanese travel phrases and words which will help you to explore Japan

  1. こんにちは (Konnichiwa) – Hello
  2. ありがとう (Arigatou) – Thank you
  3. すみません (Sumimasen) – Excuse me/I’m sorry
  4. はい (Hai) – Yes
  5. いいえ (Iie) – No
  6. お願いします (Onegaishimasu) – Please
  7. どうも (Doumo) – Thanks/Thank you very much
  8. ごめんなさい (Gomen nasai) – I’m sorry
  9. おはようございます (Ohayou gozaimasu) – Good morning
  10. こんばんは (Konbanwa) – Good evening
  11. さようなら (Sayounara) – Goodbye
  12. いくらですか?(Ikura desu ka?) – How much is it?
  13. おいくらですか?(Oikura desu ka?) – How much is it? (more polite)
  14. どこですか?(Doko desu ka?) – Where is it?
  15. お手洗いはどこですか?(Otearai wa doko desu ka?) – Where is the restroom?
  16. おいしいです (Oishii desu) – It’s delicious
  17. 英語が話せますか?(Eigo ga hanasemasu ka?) – Do you speak English?
  18. わかりません (Wakarimasen) – I don’t understand
  19. すみません、もう一度言ってください (Sumimasen, mou ichido itte kudasai) – Excuse me, could you please say that again?
  20. ありがとう、助かりました (Arigatou, tasukarimashita) – Thank you, you saved me.

Here are some additional Japanese travel phrases, which you could use at a restaurant

Japanese travel phrases, which you could use at a restaurant
Useful Japanese Travel Phrases to Learn Before Visiting
  1. メニューを見せてください (Menyuu wo misete kudasai) – Could you show me the menu, please?
  2. 何をお勧めしますか?(Nani wo osusumeshimasu ka?) – What do you recommend?
  3. 注文をお願いします (Chuumon wo onegaishimasu) – I would like to order, please.
  4. これを注文します (Kore wo chuumon shimasu) – I’ll have this one, please.
  5. お水をください (O-mizu wo kudasai) – Can I have some water, please?
  6. お酒はありますか?(Osake wa arimasu ka?) – Do you have any alcohol?
  7. 焼き鳥を二本ください (Yakitori wo nihon kudasai) – Can I have two skewers of grilled chicken, please?
  8. お勘定をお願いします (Okaikei wo onegaishimasu) – Can I have the bill, please?
  9. もう少し辛くしてください (Mou sukoshi karakushite kudasai) – Can you make it a little spicier, please?
  10. お会計は、クレジットカードで払えますか?(Okaikei wa, kurejitto kaado de haraemasu ka?) – Can I pay the bill with a credit card?

I hope these additional phrases help you navigate ordering food and drinks at a restaurant in Japan!

Related read: The Different Flavors of Japan: What Makes Japanese Cuisine so Special

Here are some additional Japanese travel phrases, which you could use when looking for directions

It's useful to learn a few Japanese travel phrases to navigate the streets in Japan
Useful Japanese Travel Phrases to Learn Before Visiting
  1. ここはどこですか?(Koko wa doko desu ka?) – Where am I?
  2. この地図を見てください (Kono chizu wo mite kudasai) – Could you please look at this map?
  3. ここに行くにはどうすればいいですか?(Koko ni iku ni wa dou sureba ii desu ka?) – How do I get to this place?
  4. この場所には、どうやって行けますか?(Kono basho ni wa, douyatte ikemasu ka?) – How can I get to this place?
  5. 左に曲がってください (Hidari ni magatte kudasai) – Turn left, please.
  6. 右に曲がってください (Migi ni magatte kudasai) – Turn right, please.
  7. まっすぐ行ってください (Massugu itte kudasai) – Go straight, please.
  8. どのくらい遠いですか?(Dono kurai tooi desu ka?) – How far is it?
  9. この地域の交通情報はどこで調べられますか?(Kono chiiki no koutsuujouhou wa doko de shiraberaremasu ka?) – Where can I find information about transportation in this area?
  10. 申し訳ありませんが、もう一度教えていただけますか?(Moushiwake arimasen ga, mou ichido oshiete itadakemasu ka?) – I’m sorry, could you please tell me again?

I hope these additional phrases help you navigate to what you want to see in Japan!

Here are Japanese travel phrases when using the public transport or a taxi

  1. このバスは〇〇行きですか?(Kono basu wa ○○-yuki desu ka?) – Does this bus go to ○○?
  2. どこでバスに乗れますか?(Doko de basu ni noremasu ka?) – Where can I catch the bus?
  3. これで〇〇駅に行けますか?(Kore de ○○-eki ni ikemasu ka?) – Can I go to ○○ station with this?
  4. 次の駅で降りる予定です。(Tsugi no eki de oriru yotei desu) – I plan to get off at the next station.
  5. 何駅目ですか?(Nanboku-me desu ka?) – What stop is this?
  6. 駅はどちらですか?(Eki wa dochira desu ka?) – Where is the station?
  7. この電車は何番線ですか?(Kono densha wa nanbansen desu ka?) – What platform is this train?
  8. この電車は〇〇に行きますか?(Kono densha wa ○○ ni ikimasu ka?) – Does this train go to ○○?
  9. タクシーを拾いたいのですが。(Takushii wo hirotai no desu ga) – I’d like to hail a taxi, please.
  10. 〇〇に行ってください。(○○ ni itte kudasai) – Please take me to ○○.

I hope that these additional phrases will make it easier for you to find your way around public transportation or taxis in Japan!

Related read: Traveling by Rail in Japan with JR Pass

So you’ve taken a taxi or train and arrived at your hotel. You’re going to find that hotels have a lot to offer you, which means you’re also going to get to use a lot of unique vocabulary.

Here are some of the words you’re most likely to use when checking into your hotel

  1. チェックインをお願いします。(Chekkuin wo onegaishimasu) – I’d like to check in, please.
  2. 予約をしています。(Yoyaku wo shiteimasu) – I have a reservation.
  3. 〇〇で予約をしています。(○○ de yoyaku wo shiteimasu) – I have a reservation at ○○.
  4. 予約名は〇〇です。(Yoyaku-me wa ○○ desu) – The reservation is under the name of ○○.
  5. 一泊〇〇円の部屋を予約しています。(Ippaku ○○en no heya wo yoyaku shiteimasu) – I have a reservation for a room at ○○ yen per night.
  6. シングルルーム/ダブルルーム/ツインルームを予約しています。(Shinguru ruumu/daburu ruumu/tsuin ruumu wo yoyaku shiteimasu) – I have a reservation for a single/double/twin room.
  7. ルームキーをお願いします。(Ruumu kii wo onegaishimasu) – May I have my room key, please?
  8. チェックアウトは何時ですか?(Chekkauto wa nanji desu ka?) – What time is check-out?
  9. 禁煙ルームを希望します。(Kinen ruumu wo kibou shimasu) – I would like a non-smoking room.
  10. 何階に部屋がありますか?(Nankai ni heya ga arimasu ka?) – On which floor is my room?

I hope these additional phrases are of help to you during your hotel check-in process in Japan!

Here useful phrases to order coffee or tea

  1. コーヒー/紅茶を一杯お願いします。(Koohii/koucha wo ippai onegaishimasu) – I would like a cup of coffee/tea, please.
  2. ホットコーヒー/アイスコーヒーをお願いします。(Hotto koohii/aisu koohii wo onegaishimasu) – I would like a hot/cold coffee, please.
  3. 砂糖を入れてもらえますか?(Satou wo irete moraemasu ka?) – Can I have some sugar, please?
  4. ミルクを入れてもらえますか?(Miruku wo irete moraemasu ka?) – Can I have some milk, please?
  5. ホイップクリームを入れてもらえますか?(Hoippu kuriimu wo irete moraemasu ka?) – Can I have some whipped cream, please?
  6. アイスカフェラテをお願いします。(Aisu kafe rate wo onegaishimasu) – I would like an iced cafe latte, please.
  7. カフェモカをお願いします。(Kafe moka wo onegaishimasu) – I would like a cafe mocha, please.
  8. アールグレイをお願いします。(Aaru gurei wo onegaishimasu) – I would like Earl Grey tea, please.
  9. デカフェをお願いします。(Dekafe wo onegaishimasu) – I would like decaf coffee, please.

Hopefully, these additional phrases will make your coffee or tea ordering in Japan a lot easier for you!

Let’s go shopping in Japan

  1. これはいくらですか?(Kore wa ikura desu ka?) – How much is this?
  2. これをください。(Kore o kudasai.) – Please give me this.
  3. ありがとうございます。(Arigatou gozaimasu.) – Thank you very much.
  4. これはどこですか?(Kore wa doko desu ka?) – Where is this?
  5. すみません、見てもいいですか?(Sumimasen, mite mo ii desu ka?) – Excuse me, may I have a look at this?
  6. まだ見たい物があります。(Mada mitai mono ga arimasu.) – Do you have something else I can see?
  7. このサイズがありますか?(Kono saizu ga arimasu ka?) – Do you have this in my size?
  8. 買いましょうか?(Kaimashou ka?) – Shall I buy this?
  9. かりとお願いします。(Karito o kudasai.) – Could you wrap it up, please?
  10. クレジットカードが使えますか?(Credit card ga tsukaemasu ka?) – Do you accept credit cards?

Related read: Hankyu Very Much: Non-bargain-shopping in Japan

Knowing a few basic Japanese travel phrases can make your trip to Japan much more enjoyable and rewarding.

Whether you’re asking for directions, ordering food, checking into a hotel, or simply interacting with the locals, using a few key phrases can go a long way in making connections and showing respect for Japanese culture.

With these additional phrases added to the list, you now have a solid foundation of essential Japanese travel phrases to use during your trip.

Remember to practice and be patient, as language barriers and cultural differences can sometimes present challenges. But with a friendly attitude and a willingness to learn, you’ll be able to navigate your way around Japan with confidence and ease.

Enjoy your travels and have a wonderful time in Japan!


  • Travel Dudes

    I'm sure you've had similar experiences I had whilst traveling. You're in a certain place and a fellow traveler, or a local, tip you off on a little-known beach, bar or accommodation. Great travel tips from other travelers or locals always add something special to our travels. That was the inspiration for Travel Dudes.