Regardless of whether you are starting to learn Japanese or plan to visit Japan for business or vacation, you have start  learning somewhere. One of the best places to start is with some of the most common Japanese phrases and most common Japanese words.

First, if you are trying to learn the language, then learning the common Japanese phrases will allow you to communicate in very basic conversation helping to boost your confidence and motivate you to continue learning. As with most languages, it is a small percentage of words that make up the majority of speech. Learning the most common Japanese words well will help you to communicate much better.

If you are traveling to Japan on business, learning common Japanese phrases and words will allow you to not only get around better, but may help your business relations go smoother. Your Japanese counterparts will be impressed with you effort to try and speak basic Japanese even if it is ordering a drink or saying “hello” or “thank you”. If you are are planning to visit Japan as a tourist then I would highly recommend earning at least common Japanese phrases and common Japanese words. Even in Tokyo there are a lot of places where you may not be able to find a person who can speak English. Being able to ask “where is this” or  say please will help you get around better and receive more help.

Below is a list of some of the common Japanese words and phrases you might want to know if in Japan.It isn’t a complete list by any means, but it is enough to help you ask and answer some important questions. I have also listed more resources for learning Japanese further below.

Common Japanese Words

  • Excuse me, sorry- Sumimasen-  (you can use this word to get the attention of your server
  • How much- Ikura
  • I, me- Watashi
  • Train- Densha
  • Money- Okane
  • Taxi-Takushi
  • Hotel- Hoteru
  • What- Nani
  • Where-Doko
  • Yes- Hai
  • No- Iie
  • Name- Namae
  • Please- onegaishimasu
  • Thank you- Arigatou gozaimasu
  • Hopital- byouin
  • Water- Omizu

Common Japanese Phrases

  • Where is…- ~wa doko desu ka?
  • How much is this- Ikura desu ka?
  • Nice to meet you- Hajimemashite
  • My name is…- Watashi wa ~ desu?
  • It was delicious- Oishikatta desu (used after finishing a meal)
  • How are you- Ogenki desu ka?
  • I’m looking forward to it- Otanoshimi shiteimasu
  • I want to go to…- ~ni ikitai desu
  • Thank you- arigatou gozaimasu
  • Can you speak English- Eigo ga hansemasu ka?
  • I’m sorry, I don’t understand- Gomen nasai, wakarimasen
  • I don’t know- Shirimasen

Helpful materials to learn Japanese