100 Basic Japanese Words To Use To Have Easy Conversations

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 WordsBasic Japanese Words To Use Pronunciation Japanese Words 
Good morningOhayou gozaimasuおはようございます
Hello/good afternoonKonnichiwaこんにちは
Good eveningKonbanwaこんばんは
GoodnightOyasuminasaiおやすみなさい
Thank youArigatou gozaimasuありがとうございます
Excuse me/ sorrySumimasenすみません
SorryGomennasaiごめんなさい
YesHaiはい
NoIieいいえ
People
I/meWatashiわたし
YouAnataあなた
MotherOkaasanお母さん / おかあさん
FatherOtousanお父さん / おとうさん
GrandfatherOjiisanお爺さん / おじいさん
GrandmotherObaasanお婆さん / おばあさん 
UncleOjisanおじさん
AuntObasanおばさん
Older brotherOniisanお兄さん / おにいさん
Older sisterOneesanお姉さん / おねえさん 
Younger brotherOtouto弟 / おとうと
Younger sisterImouto妹 / いもうと
Months of the year
JanuaryIchigatsu一月 , いちがつ
FebruaryNigatsu二月 ,  にがつ
MarchSangatsu三月  ,  さんがつ
AprilShigatsu四月  ,  しがつ
MayGogatsu五月  ,  ごがつ
JuneRokugatsu六月  ,  ろくがつ
JulyShichigatsu七月  ,  しちがつ
AugustHachigatsu八月  ,  はちがつ 
SeptemberKugatsu九月  ,  くがつ 
OctoberJuugatsu十月  ,  じゅうがつ 
NovemberJuuichigatsu十一月  ,  じゅういちがつ 
DecemberJuunigatsu十二月  ,  じゅうにがつ 
Numbers
OneIchi一 , いち
TwoNi二 , に
ThreeSan三 , さん
FourShi/yon四  , し/よん 
FiveGo五  , ご
SixRoku六  , ろく
SevenShichi/nana七  , しち/なな
EightHachi八  ,  はち
NineKyuu九  ,  きゅう 
TenJuu十  ,  じゅう
Days of the week
MondayGetsuyoubi月曜日  ,  げつようび 
TuesdayKayoubi火曜日  ,  かようび 
WednesdaySuiyoubi水曜日  ,  すいようび 
ThursdayMokuyoubi木曜日  ,  もくようび 
FridayKinyoubi金曜日  ,  きんようび
SaturdayDoyoubi土曜日  ,  どようび 
SundayNichiyoubi日曜日  ,  にちようび 
Times of the Day
YesterdayKinou昨日  ,  きのう
TodayKyou今日  ,  きょう 
TomorrowAshita明日  ,  あした 
MorningAsa朝  ,  あさ
NoonHiru昼  ,  ひる
EveningYuugata夕方  ,  ゆうがた
NightYoru夜  ,  よる
FoodTabemono食べ物  ,  たべもの 
DrinksNomimono飲み物  ,  のみもの 
Rice/mealGohanご飯  ,  ごはん 
Water/cold waterMizu水   ,   みず 
Hot waterOyuお湯   ,  おゆ 
MeatNiku肉  ,  にく 
VegetableYasai野菜  ,  やさい 
FishSakana魚  ,  さかな 
RamenRa-menラーメン
SushiSushi寿司  ,  すし 
OnigiriOnigiriおにぎり
Common verbs
To doSuruする
To seeMiru見る  ,  みる 
To listenKiku聞く  ,  きく 
To talk/speakHanasu話す  ,  はなす 
To sayIu言う  ,  いう 
To writeKaku書く  ,  かく 
To eatTaberu食べる  ,  たべる 
To drinkNomu飲む  ,  のむ 
To walkAruku歩く  ,  あるく 
To runHashiru走る  ,  はしる 
To sitSuwaru座る  ,  すわる 
To standTatsu立つ  ,  たつ 
Common adjectives
HappyTanoshii楽しい  ,  たのしい 
SadKanashii悲しい  ,  かなしい 
High/expensiveTakai高い  ,  たかい 
LowHikui低い  ,  ひくい 
CheapYasui安い  ,  やすい 
Fast/earlyHayai早い  ,  はやい 
SlowOsoi遅い  ,  おそい 
BusyIsogashii忙しい  ,  いそがしい 
DeliciousOishii美味しい  ,  おいしい 
AwfulMazui不味い  ,  まずい 
SweetAmai甘い  ,  あまい 
SaltyShoppai塩っぱい  ,  しょっぱい 
SourSuppai酸っぱい  ,  すっぱい 
BitterNigai苦い  ,  にがい
Hot/ spicyKarai辛い  ,  からい 
HotAtsui熱い  ,  あつい 
WarmAtatakai暖かい  ,  あたたかい 
ColdTsumetai冷たい  ,  つめたい 
BrightAkarui明るい  ,  あかるい 
DarkKurai暗い  ,   くらい 

First we’ll start with common Japanese greetings

Ohayou gozaimasu 

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. 

Konnichiwa

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. 

Konbanwa

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. 

Oyasuminasai

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

Arigatou gozaimasu

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

Sumimasen

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. 

Gomennasai

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. 

Hai

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

Lie

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

Watashi

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

Anata

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!

Okaasan

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’ 

Otousan

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

Kinou

Kinou (きのう) is Japanese translates to yesterday. 

Kyou

Kyou (きょう) in Japanese translates to today 

Ashita

Ashita (あした) in Japanese translates to tomorrow

Asa

Asa (あさ) in Japanese translates to morning

Hiru

Hiru (ひる) in Japanese translates to noon

Yuugata

Yuugata (ゆうがた) in Japanese translates to evening

Yoru

Yoru (よる) in Japanese translates to night

Common Japanese adjectives

Takai

Basic Japanese words to use to say expensive or high

Takai (たかい) translates to high or expensive

Yasui

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

Hayai

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

Osoi

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)

Isogashii

Isogoshii is a basic Japanese word that means Busy.  

Oishii

Oishii (おいしい) in Japanese can be translated to delicious. For example, if you want to say ‘Ramen is delicious’ – men ga oishī

Amai

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

Shoppai (しょっぱい ) in Japanese can be translated to salty.

Suppai

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

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

Karai (からい) is a basic Japanese words to use to say spicy or hot. For example, Karaimono ga daisuki. 

Atsui

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

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

Tsumetai

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

Akarui (あかるい) is a basic Japanese words to use for bright 

Kurai

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

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!

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