10 Most Important Japanese Words

Japanese Words

Japanese Culture

10 Most Important Japanese Words

Anyone who plans to visit Japan should have a nodding acquaintance with the vocabulary to make communicating the locals a little bearable. It was found out that 75% of the tourists who frequent Japan have no knowledge of the Japanese dictionary and Japanese Language -- even the simple ones used everyday by the locals. These visitors often find it hard to interact with the native folks, especially when they're lost or if they want something done.

If you want to enjoy a memorable visit in this amazing region, then you need to know a little bit of their vocabulary to effectively interact with the locals.

Top 10 Japanese Words Used By The Locals

1. Yes and No

The most basic words you can learn in
Speaking Japanese are "hai", which means yes; and "iie" for no. Since most of the locals will be asking you things that requires a close answer, nodding or shaking your head might be disrespectful. It's better to give them a straight yes or no when the flow of the conversation demands it.

2. Greetings

Japan is well known for its polite greeting. If you are in the region, it would be best to give the appropriate greeting stay on their good sides.

• "Ohayou Gozaimasu" -- good morning

• "Kon-nichiwa" -- good afternoon

• "Konbanwa" -- good evening

• "Oyasuminasai" -- good night (used for people who are going to sleep for the night)

3. Arigato or Arigato Gozaimasu

"Arigato" is short for thank you. The complete form is "Arigato Gozaimasu". Some of the locals use the slang "domo" when they are in a hurry.


If you want to catch the attention of a Japanese local to ask directions or if you need their help, then you need to say "Sumimasen", or excuse me in English. This is can also be used when you accidentally bumped into someone as an apology.

5. Asking

If it's your first time to visit Japan, then there might come a time that you need to ask the locals some questions about things that you don't know about. Some of these are:

• Korewa nan desuka? -- asking what a certain object is

• Wa doko desuka? -- asking for direction

• Nanji desuka? -- asking for the current time

• Ikura desuka -- how much is the item/service? (monetary)

6. "Sayonara"

This is the equivalent of goodbye in Japanese. This is considered to be a polite gesture when you tell someone that you will be leaving or to see some of the locals off.

7. "Tasukete"

When you are in need of help or if you want to catch the attention of the locals that you are in trouble, then you only need to say "tasukete" (tas-soo-keh-teh).

8. Please

Please is a universal language for politeness and respect, especially in the case of the Japanese locals. When you offer them something then say "Dozo". If you want to ask for something then you need to say "Onegai Shimasu".

9. "Wakarimasen"

When a local is starting to talk to you in Japanese fast and hard, then you say "Wakarimasen", which simple means "I don't understand".

10. Bathroom

It would be a waste of time doing charade in front of the locals when you need to go to the bathroom. To avoid wasting any more time in this scenario, ask them for directions to the nearest bathroom by saying "Toire wa doko desuka?"

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