Moving to Japan or just touring? Gain an advantage amongst the local Japanese people by learning these basic Japanese words to use in common conversations in Japanese.
Learning some basic Japanese words to frame sentences will help you go around Japan without a problem!
Not a lot of Japanese local stores’ salespeople can speak fluent English. And being able to talk basic Japanese with the Japanese salesperson might even get you a sweet discount! Discount or not, the Japanese people surely do appreciate it when a gaijin or foreigner greets them in Japanese and can understand and talk a little bit of their language.
So here are basic Japanese words to use that will make your time much easier in Japan. Check it out!
Basic Japanese Words To Use
|English Words||Basic Japanese Words To Use Pronunciation||Japanese Words|
|Good morning||Ohayou gozaimasu||おはようございます|
|Thank you||Arigatou gozaimasu||ありがとうございます|
|Excuse me/ sorry||Sumimasen||すみません|
|Mother||Okaasan||お母さん / おかあさん|
|Father||Otousan||お父さん / おとうさん|
|Grandfather||Ojiisan||お爺さん / おじいさん|
|Grandmother||Obaasan||お婆さん / おばあさん|
|Older brother||Oniisan||お兄さん / おにいさん|
|Older sister||Oneesan||お姉さん / おねえさん|
|Younger brother||Otouto||弟 / おとうと|
|Younger sister||Imouto||妹 / いもうと|
|Months of the year|
|January||Ichigatsu||一月 , いちがつ|
|February||Nigatsu||二月 , にがつ|
|March||Sangatsu||三月 , さんがつ|
|April||Shigatsu||四月 , しがつ|
|May||Gogatsu||五月 , ごがつ|
|June||Rokugatsu||六月 , ろくがつ|
|July||Shichigatsu||七月 , しちがつ|
|August||Hachigatsu||八月 , はちがつ|
|September||Kugatsu||九月 , くがつ|
|October||Juugatsu||十月 , じゅうがつ|
|November||Juuichigatsu||十一月 , じゅういちがつ|
|December||Juunigatsu||十二月 , じゅうにがつ|
|One||Ichi||一 , いち|
|Two||Ni||二 , に|
|Three||San||三 , さん|
|Four||Shi/yon||四 , し/よん|
|Five||Go||五 , ご|
|Six||Roku||六 , ろく|
|Seven||Shichi/nana||七 , しち/なな|
|Eight||Hachi||八 , はち|
|Nine||Kyuu||九 , きゅう|
|Ten||Juu||十 , じゅう|
|Days of the week|
|Monday||Getsuyoubi||月曜日 , げつようび|
|Tuesday||Kayoubi||火曜日 , かようび|
|Wednesday||Suiyoubi||水曜日 , すいようび|
|Thursday||Mokuyoubi||木曜日 , もくようび|
|Friday||Kinyoubi||金曜日 , きんようび|
|Saturday||Doyoubi||土曜日 , どようび|
|Sunday||Nichiyoubi||日曜日 , にちようび|
|Times of the Day|
|Yesterday||Kinou||昨日 , きのう|
|Today||Kyou||今日 , きょう|
|Tomorrow||Ashita||明日 , あした|
|Morning||Asa||朝 , あさ|
|Noon||Hiru||昼 , ひる|
|Evening||Yuugata||夕方 , ゆうがた|
|Night||Yoru||夜 , よる|
|Food||Tabemono||食べ物 , たべもの|
|Drinks||Nomimono||飲み物 , のみもの|
|Rice/meal||Gohan||ご飯 , ごはん|
|Water/cold water||Mizu||水 , みず|
|Hot water||Oyu||お湯 , おゆ|
|Meat||Niku||肉 , にく|
|Vegetable||Yasai||野菜 , やさい|
|Fish||Sakana||魚 , さかな|
|Sushi||Sushi||寿司 , すし|
|To see||Miru||見る , みる|
|To listen||Kiku||聞く , きく|
|To talk/speak||Hanasu||話す , はなす|
|To say||Iu||言う , いう|
|To write||Kaku||書く , かく|
|To eat||Taberu||食べる , たべる|
|To drink||Nomu||飲む , のむ|
|To walk||Aruku||歩く , あるく|
|To run||Hashiru||走る , はしる|
|To sit||Suwaru||座る , すわる|
|To stand||Tatsu||立つ , たつ|
|Happy||Tanoshii||楽しい , たのしい|
|Sad||Kanashii||悲しい , かなしい|
|High/expensive||Takai||高い , たかい|
|Low||Hikui||低い , ひくい|
|Cheap||Yasui||安い , やすい|
|Fast/early||Hayai||早い , はやい|
|Slow||Osoi||遅い , おそい|
|Busy||Isogashii||忙しい , いそがしい|
|Delicious||Oishii||美味しい , おいしい|
|Awful||Mazui||不味い , まずい|
|Sweet||Amai||甘い , あまい|
|Salty||Shoppai||塩っぱい , しょっぱい|
|Sour||Suppai||酸っぱい , すっぱい|
|Bitter||Nigai||苦い , にがい|
|Hot/ spicy||Karai||辛い , からい|
|Hot||Atsui||熱い , あつい|
|Warm||Atatakai||暖かい , あたたかい|
|Cold||Tsumetai||冷たい , つめたい|
|Bright||Akarui||明るい , あかるい|
|Dark||Kurai||暗い , くらい|
First we’ll start with common Japanese greetings
Basic Japanese Greetings
Basic Japanese Words To Use To Say Good Morning
Ohayou gozaimasu (おはようございます) is a formal way of saying good morning. You can use this with co-workers, elders, strangers, or even superiors. With friends and family you can simply say Ohayou, which means ‘morning’ – this is a more casual way of greeting someone in the morning.
Basic Japanese Words To Use To Say Hello or Good Afternoon
Konnichiwa (こんにちは) can be used to say hello or good afternoon. You can use this Japanese greeting with anybody and pretty much in any situation. But use this greeting when the sun is still up! Because the next greeting is said as the sun goes down.
Basic Japanese Words To Use To Say Good Evening
Konbanwa (こんばんは) is again a more formal greeting and is used to greet someone in the evening time.
Basic Japanese Words To Use To Say Good Night
Oyasuminasai (おやすみなさい) is a basic Japanese greeting to say good night. You can say it to someone who’s going to bed or you can use the greeting when you’re going to bed. A more casual form of this greeting would be Oyasumi! (which means ‘Night!’)
Some other common Japanese phrases
Basic Japanese Words To Use To Say Thank You
Arigatou gozaimasu (ありがとうございます) is the most polite way of saying thank you in Japanese. You can use this to thank anybody. A slightly more casual version of this basic Japanese phrase is Arigatou or domo
Basic Japanese Words To Use To Say Excuse Me or Sorry
Sumimasen (すみません) can mean sorry or excuse me depending on context. If you’re in a busy street and somebody is blocking your way, ‘Sumimasen’ is a polite way of requesting someone to give you way – just like how you’d say ‘excuse me’. Or if you bump into someone on the street by mistake, you can Sumimasen and move on – just like how you’d say sorry! Think of it as a casual way of apologising to a stranger.
Basic Japanese Words To Use To Say I’m Sorry
Gomennasai (ごめんなさい) is used to apologise and means ‘I’m Sorry’. A more casual way of apologising is ‘gomen ne’ which translates to sorry.
Basic Japanese Words To Use To Say Yes
Hai (はい) is a more formal and polite term for Yes. You can also say ‘Hai’ when you answer a phone call. A more casual term for this is Un
Basic Japanese Words To Use To Say No
Lie (いいえ) is a formal way of saying no. But you may not hear many people use this in a formal setting as it may come off as too direct. UUn is a more casual way of saying no.
Japanese words related to people
Basic Japanese Words To Use To Say I/me
Watashi わたし is a basic Japanese word to say me. For example, “watashi no namae wa…’ = my name is… However, a more casual and natural way of saying ‘my name is’ = namae wa
Basic Japanese Words To Use To Say You
Anata あなた means you in Japanese. You can use it in a sentence like ‘Anata wa īdesu’ which translates to you are nice!
Basic Japanese Words To Use To Say Mother
Okaasan お母さん translates to mother or mom (おかあさん). For example, Okāsan ni denwa shite translates to ‘call your mum’
Basic Japanese Words To Use To Say Father
Otousan お父さん translates to father or dad
Japanese words for days different time of the day
Time in Japan
Kinou (きのう) is Japanese translates to yesterday.
Kyou (きょう) in Japanese translates to today
Ashita (あした) in Japanese translates to tomorrow
Asa (あさ) in Japanese translates to morning
Hiru (ひる) in Japanese translates to noon
Yuugata (ゆうがた) in Japanese translates to evening
Yoru (よる) in Japanese translates to night
Basic Japanese Adjectives
Basic Japanese words to use to say expensive or high
Takai (たかい) translates to high or expensive.
Basic Japanese words to use to say Cheap
Yasui (やすい), in English, translates to cheap. For example, Kore wa yasuidesu – this is cheap
Basic Japanese words to use to say early
Hayai (はやい) translates to early in English. For example, Hayai jikan ni kimasu translates to come early
Basic Japanese words to use to say Slow
Osoi (おいしい) translates to slow in English. For example, Osoi yo (=You are slow)
Isogoshii is a basic Japanese word that means Busy.
Oishii (おいしい) in Japanese can be translated to delicious. For example, if you want to say ‘Ramen is delicious’ – Rāmen ga oishī
Amai (あまい) in Japanese can be translated to sweet. For example, if you want to say – “You are sweet” in Japanese you say, Anata wa amai
Shoppai (しょっぱい ) in Japanese can be translated to salty.
Suppai (しょっぱい ) in Japanese can be translated to Sour. For example, to say ‘The soup is sour’, you can translate it to Sūpu wa suppai
Nigai (にがい ) in Japanese can be translated to bitter. For example, to say, ‘The orange in bitter’, you can say – Orenji wa nigai
Karai (からい) is a basic Japanese words to use to say spicy or hot. For example, Karaimono ga daisuki.
Atsui (あつい) is a basic Japanese word to use hot. For example, the ramen is hot in Japanese would be Rāmen wa atsui
Atatakai (あたたかい) is a Japanese term for the word warm. For example, the ramen is warm in Japanese would be Rāmen wa attakai
In Japanese, Tsumetai (つめたい) means cold. So if you wanted to say ‘The rice is cold’ in Japanese, it would be – Gohan wa tsumetai
Akarui (あかるい) is a basic Japanese words to use for bright
Kurai (くらい) is a basic Japanese word for dark. If you want to say ‘It is dark’ in Japanese, you say Sore wa kuraidesu
Basic Japanese Food Vocabulary
Probably the most common Japanese food in the Western world, sushi is raw fish or vegetables rolled in rice and seaweed.
Thin slices of raw fish served alone, without rice and seaweed.
Deep-fried vegetables or seafood.
Thick wheat noodles served either hot or cold in soup.
Grilled skewered chicken served with teriyaki sauce.
A Japanese noodle soup dish, served with a variety of ingredients such as seaweed, pork, eggs, and vegetables.
Simple rice balls, typically filled with salted salmon, pickled plum, or other things, and wrapped in seaweed.
Rice bowl dish topped with various ingredients such as egg, beef, or chicken.
Japanese dumplings filled with pork and vegetables.
Miso Soup (味噌汁)
A savory soup made with miso paste, dashi, and usually a few ingredients like seaweed, tofu, or vegetables.
Fermented soybeans, usually served as a side dish or topping for onigiri.
This phrase translates to “I humbly accept” and is used before eating a meal to show respect.
This phrase translates to “It was a feast” and is used to thank the chef for the meal after it is finished.
This phrase translates to “Sake” and is a popular Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice.
This phrase translates to “Miso soup” and is a traditional Japanese soup made from fermented soybean paste.
This phrase translates to “snacks/appetizers” and is often served as an accompaniment to sake or other alcoholic beverages.
This phrase is a polite expression used before meals to show appreciation to whoever prepared the meal.
This is the basic word for “delicious”, which is useful for expressing how much you enjoyed your meal.
This phrase is used after meals to express one’s appreciation for the meal.
This expression is used to express one’s gratitude and is often used after a meal.
This phrase is used by restaurant staff upon the entrance of a customer and is the equivalent of “welcome to the restaurant”.
Domo Arigato Gozaimasu
The Japanese equivalent of “Thank you very much,” one of the most important restaurant words you should know and use when dining out.
a phrase of appreciation following a meal.
Translated to “I’m leaving first,” this phrase politely signals it’s time to leave the table.
The expression for “check please,” signaling you’re done with your meal and ready for the bill.
These were some of the basic Japanese words to use in everyday conversations. Learn these basic words before your trip to Japan so you can build a decent rapport with the Japanese people there!