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Tips for Learning Japanese – The Basics for Visiting Japan

Tips for Learning Japanese – The Basics for Visiting Japan

Our guide on the best Tips for Learning Japanese for you to learn the basics for visiting Japan.

Visiting Japan is an incredible experience, offering a blend of traditional culture and cutting-edge technology. Knowing some basic Japanese can significantly enhance your trip and help you connect more deeply with the local culture. Here are some essential tips and phrases to help you navigate and communicate effectively while in Japan.

Learning Japanese basics for your trip to Japan can greatly enhance your experience and make your interactions with locals more enjoyable. By practicing common phrases, using language learning apps, and immersing yourself in the language, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate your travels with confidence. 良い旅を! (Yoi tabi o!) – Have a good trip!

Read here Things to know before visiting Japan and how to spend 36 Hours in Tokyo

Read here Tips for learning Spanish and Tips for Learning Portuguese


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Tips for Learning Japanese

1. Start with Basic Phrases

Tips for Learning Japanese – The Basics for Visiting Japan

    What to Know:

    Learning a few key phrases can make a big difference in your interactions with locals. Even a basic effort to speak Japanese can be greatly appreciated and lead to more positive experiences.

    Basic Phrases:

    Hello: こんにちは (Konnichiwa)
    Goodbye: さようなら (Sayōnara)
    Please: お願いします (Onegaishimasu)
    Thank you: ありがとう (Arigatou) or ありがとうございます (Arigatou gozaimasu) for more polite/formal
    Yes: はい (Hai)
    No: いいえ (Iie)
    Excuse me/Sorry: すみません (Sumimasen)
    Do you speak English?: 英語を話せますか? (Eigo o hanasemasu ka?)

    2. Learn Basic Questions

      What to Know:

      Being able to ask simple questions can help you find your way around and make basic requests.

      Basic Questions:

      Where is…?: …はどこですか? (… wa doko desu ka?)
      How much is it?: いくらですか? (Ikura desu ka?)
      What time is it?: 今何時ですか? (Ima nanji desu ka?)
      Can I have…?: …をください (… o kudasai)
      Where is the bathroom?: トイレはどこですか? (Toire wa doko desu ka?)

      3. Practice Pronunciation and Politeness

      Tips for Learning Japanese – The Basics for Visiting Japan

        What to Know:

        Japanese pronunciation is relatively straightforward, but practicing can help. Focus on clarity and politeness, as these are highly valued in Japanese culture.


        Use Online Resources: Websites, apps, and YouTube videos can provide pronunciation guides and practice.

        Listen to Native Speakers: Try listening to Japanese podcasts, music, or radio to get a sense of how words are pronounced naturally.

        4. Use Language Learning Apps

          What to Know:

          Language learning apps can be very helpful for practicing vocabulary, pronunciation, and basic grammar.

          Recommended Apps:

          Duolingo: A popular app for beginners that covers vocabulary and basic sentence structures.

          LingoDeer: Specifically designed for Asian languages, it includes thorough explanations and practice for Japanese.

          Tandem or HelloTalk: Apps that allow you to practice speaking with native Japanese speakers.

          5. Carry a Phrasebook or Translation App

            What to Know:

            Having a phrasebook or translation app can be a lifesaver when you need to communicate and you’re unsure of the vocabulary.

            Recommended Apps:

            Google Translate: Useful for quick translations and also offers a conversation mode and photo translation for signs and menus.

            Japanese Dictionary App (Jisho): Great for translations and examples of word usage in context, along with character recognition.

            6. Practice Common Scenarios

            Tips for Learning Japanese – The Basics for Visiting Japan

              What to Know:

              Practice phrases and vocabulary related to common travel scenarios such as ordering food, asking for directions, and checking into a hotel.

              Common Scenarios:

              Ordering Food: …をお願いします (… o onegaishimasu) – I would like [dish], please.
              Hotel Check-In: 予約があります (Yoyaku ga arimasu) – I have a reservation.
              Shopping: …を探しています (… o sagashiteimasu) – I am looking for [item].

              7. Immerse Yourself in the Language

              Japanese 5

                What to Know:

                Immersion is one of the best ways to learn a language. Try to immerse yourself in Japanese as much as possible before and during your trip.


                Watch Japanese Movies/TV Shows: With subtitles to improve your listening skills.

                Read in Japanese: Start with children’s books or simple articles to build your vocabulary.

                Speak as Much as Possible: Try to use Japanese in daily conversations, even if it’s just practicing with yourself.

                8. Be Polite and Respectful

                Japanese 6

                  What to Know:

                  Japanese people value politeness and a good attitude. Even if you make mistakes, showing respect and effort goes a long way.


                  Greet People Properly: Always start interactions with a friendly “こんにちは” (Hello) or “こんばんは” (Good evening).

                  Use Honorifics: Adding “さん” (san) after someone’s name shows respect.

                  Be Patient: If you don’t understand something, politely ask the person to repeat or speak slowly: ゆっくり話してください (Yukkuri hanashite kudasai).

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