Top 50 Japanese Words You Must Know

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Planning a trip to Japan? You might be wondering how to make your trip rememberable. If only you could guess how much Japanese you need to know for making this possible.

Japan is a country where you can easily get by with virtually no Japanese and only English and in others, very few people would know English to help you. It’s a good idea to join a Japanese language institute to learn the essential words and phrases to get the fun rolling. 

 

We’ve got your back with this list to help you get started!

It can be a bit intimidating to know where to begin. These basic Japanese words can help you make your visit to Japan memorable. And that’s the whole point, isn’t it?

Learning some important phrases and words to fall back on to keep the conversation going or ask questions is the key to relaxing a bit when speaking. So, of course, you should know your essential and basic Japanese words.

Let us focus on the emergency words which can save you in life or death situations. If you are in trouble, you need to be able to scream for help. Maybe it’s a toilet emergency, but you don’t know how to ask.

  • Toilet (Toire): Everyone needs to go and when you got to go, you got to be able to ask where the toilet is at. This sounds almost like “toilet” without a “T” at the last.
  • Help (Tasukete): Shout this out when you need help!
  • I don’t understand (Wakarimasen): Let the native speakers know that you don’t understand what they are saying with this word.
  • Seems like I’m Going to Die (Shinisou): When things get really serious, you may need to use these words to save yourself.
  • Police (Keisatsu): If something really bad happens, these are the people you want to ask for.
  • Dangerous (Abunai): You’ll see these signs and stuff. Remember to be careful around these signs.
  • Peril, Hazard (Kiken): Basically, this is just another abunai. You’ll see this on signs as well.

Japanese Greetings for Every day

  • Good Morning (Ohayou Gozaimasu): A formal way to greet someone in the morning, you’ll use this with co-workers, strangers, or superiors. With friends and family, you can shorten it by saying.
  • Hello, or Good Afternoon (Konnichiwa): This is a fairly formal greeting and not usually how you greet friends and family. It’s used for strangers or formal situations. But it is the most standard greetings for hello.
  • Goodnight (Oyasumi Nasai): When you say goodnight to someone you’re close to, you can shorten it by saying Oyasumi: night.
  • Good Weather (Li Tenki desu ne): Usually, a conversation starts with asking about the weather. Now you know how to start one.
  • How are you? (Genki desu ka): Greeting your friends and family with this phrase every time you see them is a bit strange. And it’s awkward when said to strangers.
  • Goodbye or See you later (Ja Mata): you probably be aware sayounara is “goodbye”. You can also say (ja ne: “see you”) or (baibai: “bye-bye”).
  • Welcome back (Okaeri Nasai): This word can be useful when someone comes back from a trip.
  • Please Excuse Me (Shitsurei Shinmasu): When you leave ahead of someone else, you say this as an apology for leaving before them.
  • Thank You (Arigatou Gozaimasu): This is the most polite way to say thank you.
  • I’m Sorry (Gomen Nasai): You can also say it more casually as Gomen Ne.
  • Yes (Hai or un): Hai is formal and Un is an informal way of saying yes.
  • No (Lie or Unn): Lie is more formal and Uun is casual.
  • My name is (Namae wa): Use these words to describe your name.
  • I am (Desu): A versatile sentence! You can add anything to describe yourself.

Some of the Japanese Questions

  • Who (Dare): You can stop wondering and ask anybody’s name with this word.
  • What (Nani or Nan): Use it to ask what a person does. Nani wo shiteru: what do you do?
  • When (Itsu): Try asking your Japanese friends like Otanjoubi ha itsu desu ka: When’s your birthday?
  • Where (Doko): When looking for someone ask them with doku ni imasu ka: where are you?
  • Why (Doushite): You can also use naze. To ask why someone is doing a verb.
  • Which (Dochira): To make the distinction between something.
  • How (Dou): You can use this to ask Benkyou wa dou desu ka: how are your studies?

Some words related to people

  • Learning Japanese words that are associated with people can be very useful in your Japan visit.
  • Teacher (Sensei): It comes handy if you get encountered with a teacher.
  • Student (Gakusei): Goes with the previous Japanese word.
  • Employee (Kaishain): If you are looking for a job in Japan this is what you will become.
  • Person (Hito): A general word for person.
  • I (Watashi): For when you need to refer to yourself.
  • You (Anata): For when you need to refer to someone else.

Location Related Words

  • Finding your way around can be pretty important. Here are some Japanese words that will keep from getting lost.
  • Hotel (Hoteru): Finding your hotel would be a top priority after landing in Japan.
  • Airport (Kuukou): Well, again an important word to know.
  • Eki (Station): Trains are a huge part of travelling in Japan. You need to be able to a station to travel on one.
  • Japan (Nihon/Nippon): This is the country you are going to.
  • College (Daigaku): Important word for a student.
  • Bookstore (Hon’ya): Now you don’t have to miss your favourite book.
  • Taxi (Takushi): Expensive, but you can find taxies everywhere.
  • Home (ie/Uchi): There’s no place like home!

Words For Food

  • The food in Japan is awesome. But to appreciate or find the food services, you should know what to say!
  • Hungry (Onaka Suita): say this when you are hungry. You will be served.
  • To Eat (Tabemasu): Sushi tabemasu would mean I eat sushi.
  • To Drink (Nomimasu): If you know what I mean.
  • Water (Mizu): I drink water only.
  • Food (Tabemono): There is a ton of it in Japan.
  • Bad tasting (Mazui): Don’t say it on the face, though.
  • Good tasting (Oishii): This you can say on the face.
  • Restaurant (Resutoran): There will be a plenty of choices.