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30 Basic Japanese Words and Phrases to Lead Any Conversation

Making your way to Japan this year? You're going to want to learn these basic Japanese words and phrases to survive any conversation. Let's go!

Finally decide to make the leap to learn Japanese? Congratulations!Whether you plan to travel to Japan this holiday season or simply have an uncontrollable love for the language, you're in the right place. By the end of this article, you'll be able to speak Japanese using some basic Japanese words and phrases.

Chances are, your initial goal is to have a flowing conversation with a native Japanese speaker. That's why we're going to focus on teaching you basic Japanese words that you can use in conversations.

30 Basic Japanese Words and Phrases to Lead Any Conversation

From basic greetings in Japanese to important questions you can ask, we've categorized them for you.

Basic Greetings

Japanese culture is built around polite greetings. It's critical to know them inside and out because you'll use them more than nearly any other language. What's interesting about the Japanese language is that the way you greet someone changes based on what time of the day it is.

1. Good Morning (おはようございます)

Pronunciation: ohayougozaimasu

You can use this early in the morning. If you want to say this in a casual way, say outside of the workplace, you can use おはよう(ohayou).

2. Good Afternoon (こんにちは)

Pronunciation: konnichiwa

Anytime after noonish on to the early evening, you can use this greeting.

3. Good Evening (こんばんは)

Pronunciation: konbanwa

Simple Phrases in Japanese

Once you're past the initial greeting, you're going to need to know these basic Japanese phrases to start the conversation.


4. Yes (はい。)

Pronunciation: Hai

5. No (いいえ。)

Pronuncitation: Iie

6. Please (おねがいします。)

Pronuncitation: O-negai shimasu

7. Thank you (ありがとう。)

Pronuncitation: Arigatō

8. You're welcome (どういたしまして。)

Pronuncitation: Dōitashimashite

9. Excuse me (すみません。)

Pronuncitation: Sumimasen

10. I’m sorry (ごめんなさい )

Pronuncitation: gomen nasai

11. No problem (問題ないよ)

Pronunciation: mondai nai yo

Survival Japanese phrases

You'll need to know basic words and phrases in Japanese that may save you in desperate times. We don't mean when you're in physical danger, but when you may not understand a native speaker.Use the following to navigate your way around Japanese conversations in the early stages of your journey.

12. Do you speak English? (えいごをはなせますか。)

Pronunciation: Eigo o hanasemasu ka.

13. Does anyone here speak English? (ここに えいごおはなせるひとはいますか。)

Pronunciation: Koko ni eigo o hanaseru hito wa imasu ka.

14. I only speak a little Japanese. (わたしは にほんごがすこししか はなせません。)

Pronunciation: Watashi wa nihongo ga sukoshi shika hanasemasen.

15. I don't understand. (わかりません。)

Pronunciation: Wakarimasen.

16. What did you say? (なんていいましたか。)

Pronunciation: Nante iimashita ka.

17. Can you speak more slowly? (もっと ゆっくりはなしてください。)

Pronunciation: Motto yukkuri hanashite kudasai.

18. I understand you perfectly (よくわかります。)

Pronunciation: Yoku wakarimasu.

Ordering Food in Japanese

Phew. All this knowledge can make you hungry. Let's go over how you can order things when you head to a restaurant or a local ramen chain.First, what meal of the day are you planning to have?

19. Breakfast (朝ごはん)

Pronunciation: Asagohan

20. Lunch (ランチ)

Pronunciation: Hirugohan

21. Dinner (ディナー)

Pronunciation: Asagohan

Once you've decided what meal you're having, we should learn some basic phrases around dining.

22. To Eat (食べます)

Pronunciation: tabemasu

23. To Drink (飲みます)

Pronunciation: nomimasu

24. Restaurant (レストラン)

Pronunciation: resutoran

OK, so you're in the restaurant and seated in your table. Here are some useful Japanese phrases you can use.

25. Do you have…? (…がありますか?)

Pronunciation:…ga arimasu ka

26. What is this? (これは何ですか?)

Pronunciation: kore wa nan desu ka

27. Can I use my credit card? (クレジットカードは使えますか? )

Pronunciation: kurejitto kaado wa tsukaemasu ka

28. What is this? (これは何ですか?)

Pronunciation: kore wa nan desu ka

29. Good Tasting. Tasty. (美味しい )

Pronuncitation: oishii

30. Bon Apetite! (いただきます)

Pronuncitation: itadakimasu

Which of these basic Japanese words or phrases did you find most useful?

We hope you can take them with you during your trip to Japan or your Japanese learning journey.

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