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Learn the Top 100 Essential Japanese Adjectives

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Do you realize how many adjectives you use when you describe or express something, such as feeling, personality, weather conditions, and the size and color of things? Adjectives in Japanese are various and rich in expression, so learning the top 100 Japanese adjectives will greatly improve your conversation skills in Japanese!

It’s not very difficult to learn Japanese adjectives rules, as they work in mostly the same way as they do in English grammar. Before we move onto our list, though, it’s prudent to go over Japanese adjectives rules to give you context.

So first things first: Where do Japanese adjectives go?

For example, a Japanese adjective is placed before a noun: 親切な人 (shinsetsu na hito), meaning “kind person.” Or they can follow the noun + be verb + adjective pattern: 外は寒い (soto wa samui), meaning “outside is cold.”

Most Japanese adjectives end with the sound of either Hiragana い (i) or な (na), unless it’s not in past form. An adjective consists of a stem, such as 親切 (shinsetsu), which never changes, and a suffix, such as な (na), which can change.

Ready to expand your Japanese adjectives vocabulary? You’ll enjoy speaking Japanese a lot more once you know the variety of Japanese adjectives! Here’s our top 100 Japanese adjectives list at JapanesePod101.com!

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Table of Contents

  1. Describing Dimension, Size, Distance & Number
  2. Describing Value
  3. Describing Sense
  4. Japanese Adjectives for Personality & Feelings
  5. Describing Speed, Difficulty, Importance, etc.
  6. Describing Colors
  7. Describing Shapes
  8. Describing Weather
  9. Japanese Adjectives for Food: Describing Taste
  10. Describing Situations
  11. Describing Physical Traits or Physical Conditions
  12. Describing Appearance and Condition
  13. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese


1. Describing Dimension, Size, Distance & Number

Common Adjectives

1- Vocabulary

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
1 ōkii 大きい おおきい big
2 chiisai 小さい ちいさい small
3 hiroi 広い ひろい wide
4 semai 狭い せまい narrow
5 takai 高い たかい tall
6 hikui 低い ひくい short; low
7 omoi 重い おもい heavy
8 karui 軽い かるい light
9 chikai 近い ちかい close
10 tōi 遠い とおい far
11 ōi 多い おおい many
12 sukunai 少ない すくない few

Hangers of Different Sizes

2- Example Sentences

  • 部屋に大きいベッドと小さい椅子があります。
    Heya ni ōkii beddo to chiisai isu ga arimasu.
    There is a big bed and a small chair in the room.
  • このカバンは重いです。
    Kono kaban wa omoi desu.
    This bag is heavy.
  • 駅はここから遠いです。
    Eki wa koko kara tōi desu.
    The station is far from here.
  • あそこに高いビルがあります。
    Asoko ni takai biru ga arimasu.
    There is a tall building there.


2. Describing Value

1- Vocabulary

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
13 yoi 良い よい good
14 warui 悪い わるい bad
15 subarashii 素晴らしい すばらしい great
16 hidoi ひどい ひどい awful; terrible
17 utsukushii 美しい うつくしい beautiful
18 minikui 醜い みにくい ugly
19 kōka na 高価な こうかな expensive
20 yasui 安い やすい cheap

2- Example Sentences

  • 私はテストで良い結果を出した。
    Watashi wa tesuto de yoi kekka wo dashita.
    I got a good result on the test.
  • そこから素晴らしい眺めが見えます。
    Soko kara subarashii nagame ga miemasu.
    You can see a great view from there.
  • あの女性はとても美しいです。
    Ano josei wa totemo utsukushii desu.
    That lady is very beautiful.
  • この安いカメラはすぐに壊れました。
    Kono yasui kamera wa sugu ni kowaremashita.
    This cheap camera broke instantly.


3. Describing Sense

1- Vocabulary

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
21 yawarakai 柔らかい やわらかい soft
22 katai 硬い・固い かたい hard
23 tsuyoi 強い つよい strong
24 yowai 弱い よわい weak
25 nameraka na 滑らかな なめらかな smooth
26 arai 荒い あらい rough
27 fukuzatsu na 複雑な ふくざつな complicated

2- Example Sentences

  • この西陣織は柔らかい素材です。
    Kono Nishijin-ori wa yawarakai sozai desu.
    This Nishijin-ori is soft material.
  • 彼女は強い男性が好きです。
    Kanojo wa tsuyoi dansei ga suki desu.
    She likes strong men.
  • ダイヤモンドは硬い石です。
    Daiyamondo wa katai ishi desu.
    Diamond is a hard stone.
  • その問題は複雑です。
    Sono mondai wa fukuzatsu desu.
    The problem is complicated.


4. Japanese Adjectives for Personality & Feelings

Improve Pronunciation

Looking for Japanese adjectives to describe a person? Here are the best Japanese adjectives to describe someone’s personality or feelings.

1- Vocabulary

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
28 omoshiroi 面白い おもしろい funny; interesting
29 shitashimiyasui 親しみやすい したしみやすい friendly
30 otonashii 大人しい おとなしい quiet
31 ganko na 頑固な がんこな stubborn
32 yasashii 優しい やさしい amiable; thoughtful
33 ureshii 嬉しい うれしい happy
34 kanashii 悲しい かなしい sad
35 shakōteki na 社交的な しゃこうてきな sociable
36 kodoku na 孤独な こどくな lonely
37 okotta 怒った おこった angry

Also visit “Which Adjective Describes Your Personality Best?” to check Japanese pronunciation, and see some more related vocabulary.

Man and Woman Having Coffee Together

2- Example Sentences

  • 彼女は頑固な人です。
    Kanojo wa ganko na hito desu.
    She is a stubborn person.
  • 私は面白い人が大好きです。
    Watashi wa omoshiroi hito ga daisuki desu.
    I really like a funny person.
  • 試験に合格したので嬉しいです。
    Shiken ni gōkaku shita node ureshii desu.
    I am happy because I passed the exam.
  • 彼は社交的な学生です。
    Kare wa shakōteki na gakusei desu.
    He is a sociable student.

To learn more about Personalities and Feelings, please read this article.


5. Describing Speed, Difficulty, Importance, etc.

1- Vocabulary

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
38 hayai 速い はやい fast
39 osoi 遅い おそい slow
40 kantan na 簡単な かんたんな easy
41 muzukashii 難しい むずかしい difficult
42 jyūyō na 重要な じゅうような important
43 atarashii 新しい あたらしい new
44 furui 古い ふるい old
45 majime na 真面目な まじめな serious

Man Running Quickly

2- Example Sentences

  • インターネットが遅いのでビデオ電話ができません。
    Intānetto ga osoi node bideo-denwa ga dekimasen.
    I can’t make a video-call because the internet is slow.
  • これは簡単な問題です。
    Kore wa kantan na mondai desu.
    This is an easy problem.
  • 私は新しい携帯電話が欲しいです。
    Watashi wa atarashii keitai denwa ga hoshii desu.
    I want a new mobile phone.
  • 彼は真面目な会議で笑い出しました。
    Kare wa majime na kaigi de waraidashimashita.
    He started laughing at a serious meeting.


6. Describing Colors

1- Vocabulary

“Color” is iro in Japanese.
 

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
46 akai 赤い あかい red
47 aoi 青い あおい blue
48 midori no 緑の みどりの green
49 kiiroi 黄色い きいろい yellow
50 kuroi 黒い くろい black
51 shiroi 白い しろい white
52 kurai 暗い くらい dark
53 akarui 明るい あかるい light; bright
54 azayaka na 鮮やかな あざやかな vivid
55 bon’yari shita ぼんやりした dull

Cluster of Colorful Legos

2- Example Sentences

  • りんごは赤い種類と緑の種類があります。
    Ringo wa akai shurui to midori no shurui ga arimasu.
    Apples have a red kind and a green kind.
  • 白いライオンを見たことがありますか。
    Shiroi raion o mita koto ga arimasu ka.
    Have you seen white lions?
  • 私は暗い色の服が好きです。
    Watashi wa kurai iro no fuku ga suki desu.
    I like clothes with dark colors.
  • その浴衣は鮮やかな色が特徴です。
    Sono yukata wa azayaka na iro ga tokuchō desu.
    That Yukata is characterized by vivid colors.


7. Describing Shapes

1- Vocabulary

“Shape” is katachi in Japanese.

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
56 marui 丸い・円い まるい round
57 shikakui 四角い しかくい square
58 sankaku no 三角の さんかくの triangular
59 chōhōkei no 長方形の ちょうほうけいの rectangular
60 kyūtai no 球体の きゅうたいの spherical
61 rippōtai no 立方体の りっぽうたいの cubic

Cards with Colored Shapes on Them

2- Example Sentences

  • その丸い鏡を見てください。
    Sono marui kagami o mite kudasai.
    Please look at the round mirror.
  • ゴミはあの四角い箱に入れてください。
    Gomi wa ano shikakui hako ni irete kudasai.
    Please put trash in that square garbage bin.
  • 地球は球体の形をしています。
    Chikyū wa kyūtai no katachi o shite imasu.
    The earth has a spherical shape.
  • この建築は立方体の形が有名です。
    Kono kenchiku wa rippōtai no katachi ga yūmei desu.
    This architecture is famous for its cubic shape.


8. Describing Weather

Reading

1- Vocabulary

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
62 atsui 暑い あつい hot
63 samui 寒い さむい cold
64 mushimushi shita 蒸し蒸しした むしむしした humid
65 atatakai 暖かい あたたかい warm
66 hadazamui 肌寒い はだざむい chilly

Also, check out our lesson Learn the Top 15 Weather Conditions to learn how to express even more weather conditions in Japanese.

2- Example Sentences

  • 今日は寒いので手袋を持って行ってください。
    Kyō wa samui node tebukuro o motte itte kudasai.
    Please take gloves with you because today is cold.
  • 夏は30度を超える暑い日が続きます。
    Natsu wa 30-do o koeru atsui hi ga tsuzukimasu.
    Hot days with over 30 degrees continue in summer.
  • 春は暖かい気候で花見ができます。
    Haru wa atatakai kikō de hanami ga dekimasu.
    Spring has a warm climate, and flowers bloom.
  • 昨日は肌寒い日でした。
    Kinō wa hadazamui hi deshita.
    Yesterday was chilly.

To learn more about weather, please visit our article all about Japanese Weather.


9. Japanese Adjectives for Food: Describing Taste

Here are the most common and important Japanese adjectives for describing food and taste!

1- Vocabulary

 

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
67 amai 甘い あまい sweet
68 shiokarai 塩辛い しおからい salty
69 suppai 酸っぱい すっぱい sour
70 nigai 苦い にがい bitter
71 karai 辛い からい spicy; hot
72 oishii 美味しい おいしい delicious; tasty
73 mazui 不味い まずい tastes bad

Variety of Donuts

2- Example Sentences

  • 私は甘いものが大好きです。
    Watashi wa amai mono ga daisuki desu.
    I like sweets very much.
  • この梅干しは塩辛いので食べられません。
    Kono umeboshi wa shiokarai node taberaremasen.
    I can’t eat this Umeboshi because it’s salty.
  • 彼は苦いコーヒーが好きです。
    Kare wa nigai kōhī ga suki desu.
    He likes bitter coffee.
  • 明日は記念日なので美味しいものを食べたい。
    Ashita wa kinenbi na node oishii mono o tabetai.
    I want to eat something delicious because tomorrow is an anniversary.


10. Describing Situations

1- Vocabulary

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
74 tanoshii 楽しい たのしい fun
75 tsumaranai つまらない boring
76 anzen na 安全な あんぜんな safe; secure
77 kiken na 危険な きけんな dangerous
78 kinkyū no 緊急の きんきゅうの urgent
79 ochitsuita 落ち着いた おちついた calm
80 tadashii 正しい ただしい correct; right
81 ayamatta 誤った あやまった wrong

People Partying at Night Club

2- Example Sentences

  • これは安全な調理器具です。
    Kore wa anzen na chōri kigu desu.
    This is safe cooking equipment.
  • 私はつまらない映画で寝落ちしました。
    Watashi wa tsumaranai eiga de neochi shimashita.
    I fell asleep during the boring movie.
  • 彼は危険な橋を渡りました。
    Kare wa kiken na hashi o watarimashita.
    He crossed a dangerous bridge.
  • いつも正しい行いをしなさい。
    Itsumo tadashii okonai o shinasai.
    Always do the right things.


11. Describing Physical Traits or Physical Conditions

1- Vocabulary

 

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
82 wakai 若い わかい young
83 toshioita 年老いた としおいた old
84 genki na 元気な げんきな lively
85 byōki no 病気の びょうきの sick
86 kirei na 綺麗な きれいな clean; beautiful
87 kitanai 汚い きたない dirty
88 suteki na 素敵な すてきな nice
89 hen na 変な へんな strange; odd
90 seijō na 正常な せいじょうな normal
91 ijō na 異常な いじょうな abnormal

Grandfather Walking with Grandchildren

2- Example Sentences

  • 「若い時の苦労は買ってでもせよ」ということわざがある。
    Wakai toki no kurō wa katte demo seyo” to iu kotowaza ga aru.
    There is a proverb saying “Heavy work in youth is quiet in old age.”
  • 彼女の部屋はいつも綺麗です。
    Kanojo no heya wa itsumo kirei desu.
    Her room is always clean.
  • あの女性は素敵な靴を履いています。
    Ano josei wa suteki na kutsu o haite imasu.
    That lady wears nice shoes.
  • 異常な症状が出たらすぐに電話してください。
    Ijō na shōjō ga detara sugu ni denwa shite kudasai.
    If abnormal symptoms appear, please call me immediately.


12. Describing Appearance and Condition

1- Vocabulary

 

Reading Kanji Hiragana English
92 kawaii 可愛い かわいい pretty; cute
93 kichin to shita きちんとした neat
94 miryokuteki na 魅力的な みりょくてきな attractive
95 miryoku no nai 魅力のない みりょくのない unattractive
96 futotta 太った ふとった fat
97 yaseta 痩せた やせた lean; thin
98 okanemochi na お金持ちな おかねもちな rich
99 mazushii 貧しい まずしい poor
100 heikinteki na 平均的な へいきんてきな average

2- Example Sentences

  • 彼女はいつもきちんとした服を着ています。
    Kanojo wa itsumo kichin to shita fuku o kite imasu.
    She always wears neat clothes.
  • 私は平均的な家出身です。
    Watashi wa heikinteki na ie shusshin desu.
    I am from an average family.
  • 貧しい子供達のために募金をしてください。
    Mazushii kodomo-tachi no tame ni bokin o shite kudasai.
    Please donate for poor children.


13. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

In this Japanese adjectives lesson, we introduced the top 100 Japanese adjectives with examples. We hope this article is helpful for you, and has given you more footing to improve your Japanese vocabulary! Do you feel prepared to describe your personality and feelings?

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find a lot more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills. For more Japanese adjectives practice, Most Common Adjectives and Words and Phrases to Help You Describe Your Feelings are useful to help you learn pronunciation with audio. Further, Top 15 Questions You Should Know for Conversations and Top 10 Conversational Phrases are essential for your conversation practice.

Know that your hard work will pay off; with enough practice, you’ll be speaking like a native in no time with JapanesePod101.com!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Adjectives in Japanese

Japanese Conjunctions: Learn Japanese Linking Words

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If you’re learning Japanese grammar, you may be surprised by how many variations there are of Japanese conjunctions and Japanese connective particles, and how they vary depending on the use of sentences.

When you think about speaking your mother tongue, the flow of your sentences is very natural, without redundancy or lack of words. This is because you can use conjunctions effectively and naturally to connect sentences.

In this way, in Japanese grammar, conjunctions are one of the most essential parts of speech. When you master Japanese conjunctions, you’ll be able to speak Japanese quite fluently!

By the end of this article, you should have a better idea about Japanese conjunctions meaning, how to use Japanese conjunctions, and have an increased Japanese conjunction vocabulary!

Here are some of the most basic and useful Japanese conjunctions and connectives. Let’s enjoy learning here at JapanesePod101.com!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Japanese

Table of Contents

  1. What is a Conjunction?
  2. Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts
  3. Conjunctions to Express Condition
  4. Conjunctions to Express Cause
  5. Conjunctions to Express Opposition
  6. Conjunctions to Express Choices
  7. Other Useful Japanese Conjunctions
  8. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese


1. What is a Conjunction?

Sentence Patterns

Conjunctions are words that connect and conjoin phrases, clauses, or sentences together. A conjunction word doesn’t have a meaning itself, much like prepositions. Conjunctions in Japanese function similarly to how they do in English.

The conjunction in Japanese is usually a particle or postposition that’s usually used at the end of the dependent clause(s), determining the relationship of the conjoined clauses. Examples of these relationships include copulative, disjunctive, adversative, and conclusive.

For example, here are the most common Japanese conjunctions by type:

  • Copulative Conjunctions: The conjunctive relation of units that expresses the addition and/or connection of meanings.

    And:
    と、(to)
    や、 (ya)
    そして (soshite)

    Also:
    も、(mo)
    もまた (mo mata)

    Then:
    そして、 (soshite)
    それから (sorekara)

    Or:
    または、(mata wa)
    また (mata)

  • Disjunctive Conjunctions: The conjunctive relation of units that expresses the disjunction of their meanings.

    -or, -or : -ka, -ka ‥か、‥か
    -and, -and : -ya, -ya ‥や、‥や

  • Adversative Conjunctions: The conjunctive relation of units that expresses the opposition of their meanings.

    But:
    しかし、(shikashi)
    が、(ga)
    けど (kedo)
    けれども (keredomo)
    なのに (nanoni)
    でも (demo)

    However:
    しかしながら、 (shikashinagara)
    ところが (tokoroga)
     
    Despite:
    にもかかわらず (nimokakawarazu)

  • Conclusive Conjunctions

    So:
    それで、(sorede)
    なので (nanode)

    And then:
    それから、(sorekara)
    その後 (sonogo)

    Therefore: 
    それゆえに、(soreyue ni)
    だから、(dakara)
    したがって (shitagatte)

    Thus:
    ゆえに、(yue ni)
    したがって (shitagatte)

There are exceptions where Japanese language conjunctions can’t be used to connect equivalent clauses or sentences. However, we’ll explain the basic and most important Japanese conjunctions in this article.

Japanese Conjunctions

Japanese conjunctions have a wide range of variations


2. Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts

Here are the commonly used Japanese conjunctions which connect clauses/sentences with a function of addition.

1- と (to)

  • Meaning: This word means “and.” It simply adds one thing to another.
  • Usage:と(to) is used when you list everything that’s applicable. と (to) can only be used to connect nouns.
  • Example:

    テーブルの上にりんごみかんバナナがあります。
    Tēburu no ue ni ringo to mikan to banana ga arimasu.
    There are apples, oranges, and bananas on the table.

    • In this case, there are only apples, oranges, and bananas on the table.

2- や (ya)

  • Meaning: This word means “and.” It adds one thing to another.
  • Usage: や (ya) is similar to と (to), but it’s used when you list only some parts of a whole, which are applicable. や (ya) can only be used to connect nouns.
  • Example:

    テーブルの上にりんごみかんがあります。
    Tēburu no ue ni ringo ya mikan ga arimasu.
    There are apples and oranges on the table.

    • The translation in English is the same as that for the example for と (to). In this case, however, it implies that there are things besides the apple and orange on the table.

3- そして (soshite)

  • Meaning: This word means “and.” It adds things to each other, like the last words. It can also mean “thus” and “and then.”
  • Usage: そして (soshite) is used to add noun(s), or to explain an action that follows.
  • Example:

    テーブルの上にりんごとみかん、そしてバナナがあります。
    Tēburu no ue ni ringo to mikan, soshite banana ga arimasu.
    There are apples, oranges, and bananas on the table.

    私はりんごを食べます。そしてみかんも食べます。
    Watashi wa ringo o tabemasu. Soshite mikan mo tabemasu.
    I’ll eat an apple. And then I’ll eat an orange, too.


3. Conjunctions to Express Condition

Improve Listening

There are several variations of Japanese conjunctions which are used to introduce a conditional clause.

1- もし (moshi)

  • Meaning: It means simply “if,” but it can also mean “in case” and “supposing.”
  • Usage: When using もし (moshi), the end of a sentence should be conjugated to the conditional form, such as: たら (-tara), なら (-nara), ならば (-naraba), or すると (-suruto).

    When the conditional form is emphasized, it’s possible to omit もし (moshi) and the sentence still keeps the expression of condition.

  • Example:

    もし明日雨が降るなら、ピクニックは中止です。
    Moshi ashita ame ga furu nara, pikunikku wa chūshi desu.
    If it rains tomorrow, the picnic will be cancelled.

2- たら (tara)

  • Meaning: This word means “if,” and it denotes a condition.
  • Usage: As mentioned above, たら (-tara) is used at the end of a clause/sentence, along withもし (moshi) at the beginning. It’s usually used to express a relationship of assumption, as well as a specific and one-time consequence.
  • Example:

    もし時間があったら、映画を見たいです。
    Moshi jikan ga attara, eiga o mitai desu.
    If I have time, I want to watch a movie.

3- なら (nara)

  • Meaning: This word means “if,” and it denotes a condition.
  • Usage: なら (-nara) is also used at the end of a clause/sentence, along withもし (moshi) at the beginning.

    Unlike たら (-tara), なら (-nara) is usually used to express a speaker’s decision, order, hope, or opinion of assumption when assuming a certain thing.

  • Example:

    京都へ行くなら、新幹線で行きたいです。
    Kyōto e iku nara, Shinkansen de ikitai desu.
    If I go to Kyoto, I want to go by Shinkansen.

4- すると (suruto)

  • Meaning: This word means “if,” and it denotes a condition.すると (suruto) can also mean “then.”
  • Usage: When using すると (suruto) as a conditional conjunction, と (to) or だと (da to) usually come in front of it. It expresses a relationship of assumption and a consequence.
  • Example:

    彼が間に合わないとすると、私たちは会議を始められません。
    Kare ga maniawanai to suruto, watashi-tachi wa kaigi o hajimeraremasen.
    If he can’t come in time, we can’t start a meeting.

Group Talking Over Drinks

When you use conjunctions effectively, conversations will go smoothly.


4. Conjunctions to Express Cause

There’s also a number of Japanese conjunctions which are used to express cause. Combining two clauses/sentences with the following conjunctions denotes a reason and result. In Japanese grammar, note that the clause/sentence that states the reason comes first.

1- だから (da kara) / から (kara)

  • Meaning: This word can mean “so,” “therefore,” or “thus.”
  • Usage: だから (da kara) and から (kara) are very similar. However, a noun usually comes in front of だから (da kara), and an adjective or verb comes before から (kara).
  • Example:

    明日は日曜日だから 仕事はしません。
    Ashita wa nichi-yōbi da kara shigoto wa shimasen.
    Tomorrow is Sunday, so I don’t work.

    太るからケーキは食べません。
    Futoru kara kēki wa tabemasen.
    I will get fat, so I don’t eat cakes.

When considering the word order in Japanese grammar, it’s easier to remember the meaning as “so” rather than “because,” to match the order in English grammar.

2- ので (node)

  • Meaning: This word means “so” or “thus.”
  • Usage: ので (node) is used the same way as から (kara), but ので (node) is somewhat more polite.
  • Example:

    辛いので食べられません。
    Karai node taberaremasen.
    It is spicy, so I can’t eat it.

3- ため (tame) / のため (no tame)

  • Meaning: This word can mean “because (of) …” or “as a consequence of …”
  • Usage: Both ため (tame) and のため (no tame) have the same meaning, but an adjective or verb usually comes before ため (tame), and a noun comes in front of のため (no tame).
  • Example:

    宝くじが当たったため、私は車を買いました。
    Takarakuji ga atatta tame, watashi wa kuruma o kaimashita.
    I bought a car because I won the lottery.

    のため電車は遅れました。
    Yuki no tame densha wa okuremashita.
    Because of the snow, the train was delayed.

4- なぜなら (nazenara)

  • Meaning: This word means “because.”
  • Usage: When you use なぜなら (nazenara), please remember that a sentence of a particular situation comes before なぜなら (nazenara), and a sentence to explain why follows it. It often comes with だから (da kara) or から (kara) to explain why.
  • Example:

    彼女は怒って帰りました。なぜなら彼氏が浮気したのを知ったからです。
    Kanojo wa okotte kaerimashita. Nazenara kareshi ga uwaki shita no o shitta kara desu.
    She got angry and left, because she came to know her boyfriend had cheated on her.

Two Women Talking

In order to learn which conjunction is appropriate to use and in what situation, try to listen to how Japanese people use Japanese conjunctions in various situations.


5. Conjunctions to Express Opposition

Here are several examples of Japanese conjunctions which are used to denote contrast.

1- しかし (shikashi) / でも (demo)

  • Meaning: This word means “but” or “however.”
  • Usage: Both しかし (shikashi) and でも (demo) are the most commonly used conjunctions to express opposition. They usually come at the beginning of a sentence and refer to the statement which was mentioned before. しかし (shikashi) is often used in formal situations, while でも (demo) is more casual and colloquial.
  • Example:

    気温は低く寒いです。しかし、 花が咲きました。
    Kion wa hikuku samui desu. Shikashi, hana ga sakimashita.
    The temperature is low and it’s cold. However, flowers bloom.

    外は暖かい。でも、風は冷たい。
    Soto wa atatakai. Demo, kaze wa tsumetai.
    It is warm outside. But the wind is cold.

2- が (ga) / だが (daga)

  • Meaning: This word means “but” or “however.”
  • Usage: が (ga) and だが (daga) are almost the same, but が (ga) is used to conjoin separate sentences with a comma, and だが (daga) is often used at the beginning of a sentence.
  • Example:

    お金はある、旅行する時間がない。
    O-kane wa aru ga, ryokō suru jikan ga nai.
    I have money, but I don’t have time to travel.

    春は好きです。だが、夏は好きではないです。
    Haru wa suki desu. Daga, natsu wa suki de wa nai desu.
    I like spring. But I don’t like summer.

3- ところが (tokoroga) / なのに (nanoni)

  • Meaning: This word means “but” or “however.”
  • Usage: ところが (tokoroga) and なのに (nanoni) have similar meanings which express reverse conditions. They have a nuance of surprise, or sometimes complaint, which contrasts the expectation. ところが (tokoroga) is more formal, while なのに (nanoni) is used in a casual way and in colloquial speech.
  • Example:

    彼女は勉強をしなかった。とことろが、試験に受かった。
    Kanojo wa benkyō o shinakatta. Tokoroga, shiken ni ukatta.
    She did not study. But she passed the examination.

    彼は先生だ。なのに、英語を話せない。
    Kare wa sensei da. Nanoni, eigo o hanasenai.
    He is a teacher. But he can’t speak English.

4- けど (kedo) / けれども (keredomo)

  • Meaning: This word can mean “but,” “however,” “though,” and “although.”
  • Usage: While しかし (shikashi) and でも (demo) are often used at the beginning of a sentence with a comma, けど (kedo) and けれども (keredomo) are used to conjoin two separate sentences to express reverse conditions.

    けど (kedo) and けれどもけど (keredomo) are almost the same. However, けれども (keredomo) is slightly more formal and polite, while けど (kedo) is often used in a casual way and in colloquial speech.

  • Example:

    外は暖かいけど、風は冷たい。
    Soto wa atatakai kedo, kaze wa tsumetai.
    It is warm outside, but the wind is cold.

    私は1ヶ月お菓子を食べなかったけれども、痩せなかった。
    Watashi wa ikkagetsu o-kashi o tabenakatta keredomo, yasenakatta.
    Although I didn’t eat snacks for a month, I didn’t lose weight.


6. Conjunctions to Express Choices

Improve Listening Part 2

Here are some basic Japanese conjunctions which are used to express choices and alternatives.

1- または (matawa) / もしくは (moshikuwa)

  • Meaning: This word means “or” or “otherwise.”
  • Usage: These conjunctions are used when you want to show options for something. または (matawa) and もしくは (moshikuwa) are very similar, and there’s not much difference in their meaning and usage. または (matawa) is more common and is used more often than もしくは (moshikuwa).
  • Example:

    電車またはバスで行きます。
    Densha matawa basu de ikimasu.
    I will go by train or bus.

    クレジットカードもしくは、電子決済でお支払いください。
    Kurejitto cādo moshikuwa, denshi kessai de o-shiharai kudasai.
    Please pay by credit card or through an electric payment.

2- か (ka)

  • Meaning: This word means “or,” or “whether…or.”
  • Usage: か (ka) is almost the same in meaning as the English word “or.” With this meaning, か (ka) is usually used twice in a sentence to indicate alternatives.
  • Example:

    今レストランは開いている、 閉まっている、知っていますか。
    Ima resutoran wa aite iru ka, shimatte iru ka, shitte imasu ka.
    Do you know if the restaurant is open or closed now?

3- あるいは (aruiwa)

  • Meaning: This word means “or” or “alternatively.”
  • Usage: あるいは (aruiwa) is another Japanese conjunction to express a choice between A or B. This is often used to show things which are of the same or similar kind. It has a nuance of “alternatively.”
  • Example:

    私は来年大阪あるいは名古屋へ転勤になります。
    Watashi wa rainen Ōsaka aruiwa Nagoya e tenkin ni narimasu.
    I will be transferred to Osaka or Nagoya next year.

Woman Thinking

Some Japanese conjunctions are only used in colloquial speech, and some are mostly used in formal settings.


7. Other Useful Japanese Conjunctions

It is good to know other useful Japanese conjunctions to improve your conversation skills. Here are some commonly used expressions.

1- ところで (tokorode)

  • Meaning: This word means “by the way.”
  • Usage: This phrase is often used when you change the topic in a conversation, and it’s generally used before asking a question.
  • Example:

    ところで、今週末は何か予定ありますか。
    Tokorode, konshūmatsu wa nani ka yotei arimasu ka.
    By the way, do you have any plans for this weekend?

2- 一方で (ippō de)

  • Meaning: This phrase can mean “on the other hand,” “while,” or “meanwhile.”
  • Usage: 一方で (ippō de) is used to indicate that the following sentence will be in a direction different from the previous sentence. The following sentence doesn’t necessarily have to be completely opposite from the previous one. 一方で (ippō de) can be also be used to mean “while” or “meanwhile.”
  • Example:

    彼女は寿司が好きです。一方で彼はピザが好きです。
    Kanojo wa sushi ga suki desu. Ippō de kare wa piza ga suki desu.
    She likes sushi. On the other hand, he likes pizza.

3- 例えば (tatoeba)

  • Meaning: This means “for example.”
  • Usage: This phrase can be used exactly the same as “for example” in English. It’s used when you want to give examples.
  • Example:

    私の趣味はスポーツです。例えば、水泳とテニスが好きです。
    Watashi no shumi wa supōtsu desu. Tatoeba, suiei to tenisu ga suki desu.
    My hobby is sports. For example, I like swimming and tennis.

4- さらに (sarani) / その上 (sonoue)

  • Meaning: These words can mean “in addition” and “moreover.”
  • Usage: Bothさらに (sarani) and その上 (sonoue) are used when you want to add something. その上 (sonoue) has a slightly stronger emphasis thanさらに (sarani).その上 (sonoue) is literally translated as “on top of that.”
  • Example:

    日曜日に買い物へ行き、さらにジムへ行きました。
    Nichi-yōbi ni kaimono e iki, sarani jimu e ikimashita.
    I went shopping, and moreover, I went to the gym on Sunday.

    日曜日に買い物へ行き、さらにジムへ行きました。その上、夜は映画を見に行きました。
    Nichi-yōbi ni kaimono e iki, sarani jimu e ikimashita. Sonoue, yoru wa eiga o mi ni ikimashita.
    I went shopping, and in addition, I went to the gym on Sunday. Moreover, I went to see the movie.

Please see our article on Must-Know Adverbs and Phrases for Connecting Thoughts for more examples with audio.


8. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

I hope this Japanese conjunctions list is helpful for your Japanese language studies. By learning Japanese conjunctions, your conversation skills will improve a lot, and you can enjoy speaking Japanese much more!

Which conjunctions do you plan on using soon? Which ones are you still struggling with? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re keen on learning more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a plethora of free lessons for you to help you boost your Japanese language skills, regardless of your current skill level:

All of your studying and practice will pay off, and soon you’ll be speaking and writing in Japanese like a native! And SpanishPod101 will be here throughout your language-learning journey with support and effective lesson materials!

Best wishes, and happy learning!

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Japanese Etiquette and Manners

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What is Japanese etiquette?

Japanese culture is well-known for its politeness and unique features, and what is thought to be normal in other countries isn’t always common in Japan. Many foreign tourists wonder what exactly the DO’s and DON’Ts in Japan are when traveling to Japan for the first time.

Japanese people are warm and welcoming to travelers, and they understand if foreign travelers don’t know all the Japanese customs. However, it’s always good to know the basic Japanese etiquette and manners in advance to make your trip more smooth and enjoyable. It’s also a part of experiencing and exploring the Japanese culture.

Here’s our guide to Japanese manners and etiquette, especially for travelers. Here, you’ll find all the Japanese etiquette tips, Japanese customs, and other Japanese etiquette for foreigners you need to know!

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Table of Contents

  1. Basic Japanese Etiquette
  2. Japanese Table Etiquette & Manners
  3. Japanese Etiquette for Sightseeing
  4. Japanese Etiquette for Greeting
  5. Japanese House Guest Etiquette
  6. Japanese Business Etiquette
  7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese


1. Basic Japanese Etiquette

Thanks

The DO’s and DON’Ts in this first section are very basic, and they’re common in most important occasions in Japan.

1- DO’s

  • Be Polite

    Politeness may be the basis for other Japanese etiquette rules. It’s noted that Japanese etiquette is greatly influenced by the concept of collectivism, which is characterized by fairness among people and prioritization of interests of the social group over individuals. It also emphasizes on maximizing the benefits and goodness of the group through each individual’s effort and thoughtfulness. This means that being polite and kind to others is for everyone’s convenience and happiness.

  • Respect

    Respect is another very essential value when it comes to Japanese manners and customs. In order to add to everyone’s happiness, you should respect others’ rights, interests, convenience, and so on. In addition, influenced by Confucianism, respecting elders is also important; please help elders cross the street, walk up stairs with luggage, and so on.

  • Be Punctual, Even Early

    Keeping time is imperative in Japanese culture social etiquette. This is a way of respecting others and not wasting their valuable time. Japanese trains arrive on time, and Japanese people usually arrive five to ten minutes before the meeting time. If it’s an interview at a company, it’s not good enough to arrive just on time; you’re expected to arrive earlier than the appointment time. Definitely keep this in mind if you’re serious about learning Japanese business etiquette.

  • Keep in Order

    To be fair to everyone and respect others, Japanese people naturally queue up even if there’s no instruction to do so. For instance, they may keep from rushing into an activity if they see that there are already too many people doing it. You’ll see Japanese people queuing neatly aside the opening doors of the train on crowded weekday mornings.

Interior of a Metro Car

Keep public places clean and do not litter.

2- DON’Ts

  • Don’t Bother Others

    Prioritization of the group’s interests also means that bothering and annoying others is considered very bad manners in Japan. Even if you’re starving or don’t have enough time, please refrain from eating smelly foods (such as fast food) on the train, or putting on makeup during the ride.

  • Don’t Litter

    Streets are not your own room, so don’t litter on the streets. Usually, you don’t find many trash bins along the streets in Japan, but you’ll notice that the ground is free from rubbish. It’s common courtesy according to modern Japanese etiquette to keep your trash with you until you find a bin or arrive home.

  • Don’t be Loud

    Another important Japanese etiquette rule: In public places, you’re expected not to make loud noises. Especially on a train, keep your conversation voice soft and quiet. Talking loudly or talking on the phone will make surrounding Japanese people feel uncomfortable. Please don’t forget to set your mobile phone to silent when you’re on a public transportation.


2. Japanese Table Etiquette & Manners

Hygiene

There are quite different table manners and etiquette in Japan compared to other countries. Don’t be surprised; when in Japan, do as the Japanese do!

1- Greet Before/After Eating

This is one of the most basic Japanese greeting etiquette rules, and Japanese people do this for every meal.

According to Japanese etiquette table manners, you should say いただきます (Itadakimasu) before eating. The phrase Itadakimasu doesn’t have a direct translation in English, but it means “I’m thankful for this food and I will start eating.”

Also, say ごちそうさまでした (Gochisō-sama deshita) after you’ve finished eating. This phrase means “It was delicious,” and it shows appreciation for the meal.

2- Use Chopsticks Properly: Chopstick Etiquette in Japan

When you’re an adult, you’re expected to know how to use chopsticks properly as this is good Japanese etiquette when eating. So when you’re eating at a Japanese cuisine restaurant, try to use chopsticks. If you don’t have the confidence to use chopsticks well, you can still ask a waiter for forks and knives.

However, don’t play with your chopsticks. It’s considered rude behavior, as well as childish, if you hold one stick with one hand and the other stick with the other hand, poking food around or pointing to something with your chopsticks, etc.

In addition, never stick them vertically in your rice bowl and never use your chopsticks to pass a piece of food to someone else’s chopsticks directly. These actions are associated with funeral rituals and the deceased, and are considered the worst possible chopstick behavior.

3- Make Noise While Eating Soup Noodles

According to Japanese manners and etiquette, making noise while you’re eating is considered bad manners. The only exception is for soup noodles such as ramen, udon, and soba, when it comes to slurping soup and noodles. Slurping shows that you’re enjoying your food. However, making chewing noises isn’t appropriate, and it’s considered rude and is associated with poor education. Close your mouth while you’re chewing food.

Bowl of Noodles

Slurping is ok only for soup noodles in Japan.

4- Do Not Pour Your Own Drink When You’re with Someone

This is another typical Japanese etiquette rule when dining. When you dine out with your friends, colleagues, or your boss, it’s rude to pour your own drink yourself. You pour drinks for everyone else first, and then they will pour your drink in return.

Usually, those who are youngest or in the lowest position of a hierarchy should be the one to pour elders drinks first. This is especially true for work-related occasions.

Even among friends, pouring drinks for each other is considered nice, and it shows your mutual thoughtfulness toward a good friendship.

5- Do Not Pay a Tip

Good news for everyone! According to Japanese etiquette, money shouldn’t be given as a tip. This bit of Japanese etiquette when visiting may surprise you, but don’t leave a tip on the table. Otherwise, the waiter/ess will run after you to let you know that you forgot your money. If you try to hand a tip to them, the staff member will wonder what the money’s for and won’t know what to do with it.

So, just keep your change in your pocket, even if you’re impressed by nice Japanese services. Instead, tell a staff member that you really liked their food or services with a smile.

Group of People Eating Out

Make sure you use chopsticks properly, especially at proper Sushi and Japanese restaurants.


3. Japanese Etiquette for Sightseeing

Bad Phrases

In this section, we’ll go over etiquette in Japan you need to keep in mind while sightseeing! This is just simple Japanese etiquette to ensure you’re polite and respectful wherever you are.

1- At Shrines and Temples

There are numerous 神社 (jinja) or “Shintō shrines” and お寺 (o-tera) or “Buddhist temples” across Japan. Foreign tourists are welcome to visit them, but there are particular manners and etiquette rules for sightseeing.

Shrines and temples are considered sacred places, and you should behave quietly with respect. Smoking is not allowed inside of the precincts. Take off your hat and don’t dress too casually when you enter buildings (for example, don’t wear beach sandals).

When arriving at the main building, throw a coin into an offering box in front of the sacred object. Then, make a short prayer with your palms together in front of your chest.

When entering Shrines, you need to do a purification ritual. There’s a water source usually located near the main 鳥居 (Torii) gate and you need to purify your body before proceeding further into the Shrine.

Take a provided ladle to scoop up water and pour it over both of your hands to rinse them. Then pour a bit of water in your hand and use it to rinse your mouth. Do not swallow the water, but spit it out on the ground. Put the ladle back to where it was.

2- Taxi Doors

More often than not, Japanese taxi doors are automatic! So note this tip on Japanese cultural etiquette for taxis.

When you stop a taxi, the driver will pull the lever and open the door (usually for the back seat) for you. After you get in a taxi, the door will close automatically. So don’t try to open or close the taxi door by yourself.

Taxi Dashboard

Japanese taxi calculates fee by meters.

3- Onsen and Swimming Pools

温泉 (Onsen), or hot springs, is one of the most popular things to do in Japan, especially during the cold seasons. If you have large tattoos on your body, however, you have to be checked to see if you’re allowed to use Onsen or the public swimming pool.

This essential Japanese etiquette rule may seem strange, so let us explain.

Traditionally, most Japanese onsen and public pools ban people with tattoos from using the facilities. This is because they intend to keep out Yakuza and members of crime gangs, who are associated with having body tattoos.

However, due to the growing demand of foreign tourists with tattoos, the number of tattoo-friendly facilities is increasing. Some facilities provide cover-up tape to allow those with tattoos access to the facilities. Be sure to check the availability in advance if you have visible tattoos on your body.

When you use Onsen, Japanese etiquette requires that users wash their bodies before entering a pool. Onsen is shared with others and it must be kept clean and hygienic. Even if you’re very excited to experience Onsen, don’t rush straight into a pool; clean yourself first.

Onsen

Japanese Onsen is usually gender-separated and you can’t wear swimsuits.


4. Japanese Etiquette for Greeting

As you learn Japanese etiquette, knowing how to greet is essential. Greeting is imperative to the Japanese etiquette and manners, as politeness and respect start from the greeting.

1- Bowing

Bowing is one of the most important common Japanese body language gestures for both formal and informal occasions. People bow to greet, nod, thank, and apologize.

There are variations of how to bow, depending on the depth, duration, and seriousness, but foreign tourists aren’t expected to understand all of it. Japanese people won’t be offended if visitors don’t bow correctly.

Bow politely; bend your head and back in a straight line when you meet someone, thank someone, or say goodbye. Bowing can be a bit awkward for you at first if you’re used to shaking hands, but follow and imitate how Japanese people bow. When someone bows to you as a greeting, it’s usually sufficient to do the same in return.

Two Men Bowing to Each Other

Bowing properly and politely is one of the most important business manners.

2- Shaking Hands but No Hugging/Kissing

Japanese people also shake hands when they greet often, such as in a work-related setting. However, the Japanese don’t hug or kiss as a greeting. Japanese people prefer to keep personal space, and traditionally avoid intimate physical body contact in public.

Hugging as a greeting can be done by Japanese people only in special cases, such as meeting someone you know well after quite a long time, or when a person is extremely emotional with joy or in mourning. Ordinary Japanese people never kiss as a greeting. If you try to hug or kiss a Japanese person whom you just met, they will get startled and feel offended.

So, when you greet Japanese people, just bow or shake hands. Do not hug or kiss.


5. Japanese House Guest Etiquette

1- Remove Your Shoes

Japanese people never wear shoes inside of a house. Every house has 玄関 (genkan) or a sunken-foyer entrance inside of the door where you remove your shoes before you actually enter the main section of the home.

You also have to remove your shoes when entering Japanese traditional accommodations which are called 民宿 (minshuku) or 旅館 (ryokan), temple halls, some restaurants, and buildings with 畳 (tatami) areas. Tatami is a type of mat made of grass used as a flooring material in traditional Japanese-style rooms.

It’s very rude and offensive if you enter places with your shoes on where you’re supposed to take them off, so please be aware!

2- Bring a Gift

One of the essential Japanese etiquette rules when visiting someone’s house is to bring a little お土産 (o-miyage), or a gift, for the host in return for their hospitality. It’s common courtesy to give a nicely wrapped gift to the host to show your appreciation for their invitation. Common gifts include sweets or drinks that they can share and enjoy while you’re visiting.

It’s rude to visit without a gift, especially when you know that the host will cook meals for you. So, when you’re invited to your friend’s place, buy cakes or a bottle of wine, and arrive on time.

Two Glasses of Wine Being Poured

A bottle of wine or Champagne would be a good choice to take for a dinner invitation.

3- Slippers

If you’re invited to someone’s home as a guest, you may be offered a pair of slippers at the genkan for walking around inside. Slippers are okay on wooden or smooth flooring, but don’t wear slippers on tatami flooring. Remove your slippers before entering a Japanese tatami room.

In addition, some households have toilet slippers. You should change out of your original slippers into toilet slippers when you enter the restroom, and never step outside the restroom wearing toilet slippers. Some hotels and restaurants also have such separated slippers in the restroom.

To learn more, please watch our YouTube video about How to Visit Someone’s House.


6. Japanese Business Etiquette

Business

Now, it’s time for our Japanese business etiquette guide. Be mindful of all the Japanese business etiquette dos and don’ts here, because they can make or break your first impression.

1- Greeting and Introduction

According to Japanese business etiquette rules, when you meet someone in a business-related occasion, it’s considered good manners to greet them with a decent bow. You should also introduce yourself briefly with your business card.

As for bowing, stand straight first, put your hands in line with the sides of your body, and bend your upper body forward. You shouldn’t bow too quickly, and don’t just bend your head nor arch your back.

Japanese people usually talk about themselves with their name, which company they work for, what job position they’re in, and sometimes how long they’ve worked for their company or industry. Telling or asking for detailed personal information is usually inappropriate.

To learn more about bowing, please see How to Bow in Japan & Manners.

2- Exchanging Business Cards

When you meet someone, exchanging 名刺 (meishi), or business cards, is a must-do business custom in Japan in formal settings. Treat a business card with care, as Japanese people regard it as one’s face.

Make sure you give or receive a business card with both hands when exchanging cards. Handing a card with just one hand is considered very rude. Further, read a card you were given carefully, and ask some questions or offer comments; this is a good way to start a conversation.

Man Giving Woman a Business Card

Japanese businessmen often bow when they exchange business cards.

3- Dining in Business Settings

Whether you’re dining with colleagues, your boss, or your clients, the seating position is important in business settings.

The seat in the deepest part of the room and the furthest place from the door is considered the best seat, and it should be offered to the most respected person (such as the person in the highest job position, or the oldest person). Further, clients are prioritized above your colleagues, even your boss. The seat closest to the door is considered the least important position, and this is usually used by the youngest person.

Also, the youngest person (or the person in the lowest job position) should usually take everyone’s drink order and tell it to the waiter or waitress. The most respected or important person often gives a small speech and gives a Kanpai toast.

Dining in a business setting in Japan is very hierarchical, and roles at the dining table are implicitly allocated and performed according to the participants’ attributes.

To learn more, our video about How to Attend a Japanese Company Drinking Party is useful.


7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

We hope this article about Japanese etiquette and manners is helpful, and that you’ll have a more enjoyable experience when you visit Japan!

If you’d like to learn about the Japanese language, you’ll find very useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

We also have a YouTube channel where you can enjoy learning the Japanese language by watching videos and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation. Learning Japanese gestures is also very helpful when it comes to understanding Japanese etiquette and culture.

When you plan to visit Japan, don’t forget to check out the following content: Learn the Top 25 Must-Know Japanese Phrases!, Top 20 Travel Phrases You Should Know in Japanese, Best Traveling Tips and Places to Visit in Japan!, and much more.

Before you go, be sure to let us know in the comments what you thought about our Japanese etiquette guide. Do you feel more confident now, or is there still a situation or topic you need information about? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Japanese Calendar Dates: Reading Dates in Japanese and More

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Learning how to read dates is one of the most basic things when learning a new language, and it’s essential in everyday life. For instance, you use dates when making appointments, buying tickets for a particular day, asking for someone’s birthday, etc.

Expressing the date in Japanese isn’t very complicated. The date in Japanese mostly follows the counter system, with just a few exceptions; English, on the other hand, has different names for the months and days of the week.

You’ll be able to learn dates in Japanese much easier once you know Japanese numbers. If you’re not yet familiar with numbers in Japanese, please visit Japanese Numbers on our website.

Table of Contents

  1. How are Dates Usually Expressed in Japanese?
  2. How to Say the Years in Japanese
  3. How to Say the Months in Japanese
  4. How to Say the Days in Japanese
  5. How to Say the Days of the Week in Japanese
  6. Practical Phrases to Talk about Dates in Japanese
  7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

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1. How are Dates Usually Expressed in Japanese?

Numbers

How to say dates in Japanese is very simple. Dates in Japanese writing start with the year, then the month, and finally the day. The only exception is when there’s a particular instruction to write it a different way, such as on an entry form.

1- How to Write Dates in Japanese

1. April 30, 2019 is written as follows:

2019年4月30日 or 2019/04/30  

  • 年 (nen) : year
  • 月 (gatsu) : month
  • 日(nichi) : day

2. With the days of the week, Tuesday, April 30th, 2019 is written as follows:

2019年4月30日 (火曜) or 2019年4月30日 (火)

  • The days of the week are usually indicated in a round bracket ( ) and placed after the day.
  • The name of the day is expressed in a short form.

Tuesday is 火曜日(ka-yōbi), but when it’s expressed in a written form, it usually becomes 火曜 (ka-yō) or just 火 (ka).

2- How to Read Dates in Japanese

2019年4月30日 (火曜) is read as follows:

Ni-sen jū-kyū / nen / shi / gatsu / san-jū / nichi / ka-yō

Literally translated as:
Two-thousand ten nine / year / four / month / three ten / day / Tuesday

To listen to the pronunciation of basic Japanese numbers, please visit Numbers on our website.

3- Examples

  • 今日は2019年1月13日です。
    Kyō wa ni-sen jū kyū-nen ichi-gatsu jū-san-nichi desu.
    Today is January 13th, 2019.
  • 私は1990年5月1日生まれです。
    Watashi wa sen kyū-hyaku kyū-jū-nen go-gatsu tsuitachi umare desu.
    I was born on May 1st, 1990.
  • 試験は2019年8月30日です。
    Shiken wa ni-sen jū kyū-nen hachi-gatsu san-jū-nichi desu.
    The examination is on August 30th, 2019.

Man Looking at Schedule

In Japan, keeping the date and time for appointments is very important. Please don’t mix up months and dates!


2. How to Say the Years in Japanese

1- Gregorian Calendar

The Gregorian calendar is very common in Japan to express the years.

Just say the year and then add “nen (年)” which is a year counter meaning ‘year’.

  • 1575年 : sen go-hyaku nana-jū go-nen
  • 1998年:sen kyū-hyaku kyū-jū hachi-nen
  • 2003年:ni-sen san-nen

In some cases, numbers can be expressed with the last two digits as a short version.

For example, 1998 is 98年 (kyū-jū hachi-nen).

2- Japanese Era Calendar

Did you know that there’s also a Japanese calendar?

The Japanese people use 和暦 (Wareki), or the Japanese era calendar, which is based on the reigns of Japanese emperors. The previous era was called 平成 (Heisei), which started on January 8, 1989, when the previous Emperor, Akihito, acceded to the throne following the death of his father. The current era is called 令和 (Reiwa), which started on May 1, 2019, when the current Emperor, Naruhito, acceded to the throne following the abdication of his father.

2019 is the first year of the Reiwa era. It’s written as 令和1年 and read as Reiwa ichi-nen.

This traditional Japanese era calendar is often used for official occasions and in written form, such as in official documents used for public services at a city hall.

3- Vocabulary for Describing Relative Years

  • 今年 ことし (Kotoshi) : This year
  • 去年 きょねん (Kyonen) : Last year
  • 一昨年 おととし (Ototoshi) : The year before last year
  • 来年 らいねん (Rainen) : Next year
  • 再来年 さらいねん (Sarainen) : The year after next year
  • 閏年 うるうどし (Urūdoshi) : Leap year
  • 毎年 まいとし (Maitoshi) : Every year

4- Examples

  • 今年は2019年です。
    Kotoshi wa ni-sen jū kyū-nen desu.
    This year is 2019.
  • 来年の2020年はうるう年です。
    Rainen no ni-sen ni-jū-nen wa urūdoshi desu.
    The next year of 2020 is a leap year.
  • 2005年は平成17年です。
    Ni-sen go-nen wa Heisei jū nana-nen desu.
    2005 was year seventeen of the Heisei era.
  • 私は2012年に結婚しました。
    Watashi wa ni-sen jū ni-nen ni kekkon shimashita. 
    I got married in 2012.


3. How to Say the Months in Japanese

Months

1- Saying the Month in Japanese: Japanese Months

Using months and dates in Japanese is very simple. It follows this simple pattern, without exception:

Name a number (1-12) of the month, and then just add 月 (gatsu), which is a month counter meaning “month.”

 

          English           Kanji           Hiragana           How to read
1           January           一月            いちがつ           ichi-gatsu
2           February            二月           にがつ           ni-gatsu
3           March            三月           さんがつ           san-gatsu
4           April            四月           しがつ           shi-gatsu
5           May           五月           ごがつ           go-gatsu
6           June            六月           ろくがつ           roku-gatsu
7           July            七月           しちがつ           shichi-gatsu
8           August           八月           はちがつ           hachi-gatsu
9           September           九月           くがつ           ku-gatsu
10           October           十月            じゅうがつ           jū-gatsu
11           November           十一月           じゅういちがつ           jū ichi-gatsu
12           December           十二月           じゅうにがつ           jū ni-gatsu

In order to listen to the pronunciation of the months in Japanese, please visit Talking about Months on our website.

2- Relative Vocabulary for the Month in Japanese

  • 今月 こんげつ (Kongetsu) : This month
  • 先月 せんげつ (Sengetsu) : Last month
  • 先々月 せんせんげつ (Sensengetsu) : Month before last month
  • 来月 らいげつ (Raigetsu) : Next month
  • 再来月 さらいげつ (Saraigetsu) : Next next month
  • 毎月 まいつき (Maitsuki) : Every month

3- Examples

  • 私は六月生まれです。
    Watashi wa roku-gatsu umare desu.
    I was born in June.
  • 日本では四月に学校が始まります。
    Nihon de wa shi-gatsu ni gakkō ga hajimarimasu.
    School starts in April in Japan.
  • 私の誕生日は先月でした。
    Watashi no tanjōbi wa sengetsu deshita.
    My birthday was last month.
  • 今月は仕事が忙しいです。
    Kongetsu wa shigoto ga isogashii desu.
    This month is busy with work.


4. How to Say the Days in Japanese

Weekdays

1- Days

How to say the days of the month in Japanese is a bit more complicated.

The basic pattern for days and dates in Japanese is number + 日 (nichi), which is a day counter meaning “day.”

All the dates are written in this pattern. However, when it comes to reading, there are some exceptions and irregularities, indicated in blue in the chart below.

The days, especially those from one to ten, have a unique reading which is very different from ordinary Japanese Numbers. After eleven, it’s basically read with regular numbers and 日 (nichi), except for fourteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-four, and twenty-nine.

It’s very common to use Arabic numerals to express dates, together with the kanji 日 (nichi). For example: 1日, 24日, 30日, etc.

Dates are also often written in Kanji, especially in official documents and vertical writing scripts. 

English           Kanji           Hiragana           How to read
1st      一日      ついたち      tsuitachi
2nd      二日      ふつ・か      futsuka
3rd      三日      みっ・か      mikka
4th      四日      よっ・か      yokka
5th      五日       いつ・か     vitsuka
6th      六日      むい・か      muika
7th      七日      なの・か      nanoka
8th      八日      よう・か      yōka
9th      九日      ここの・か      kokonoka
10th      十日      とお・か      tōka
11th      十一日       じゅう・いち・にち      jū ichi-nichi
12th      十二日      じゅう・に・にち      jū ni-nichi
13th      十三日      じゅう・さん・にち      jū san-nichi
14th      十四日      じゅう・よっ・か      jū yokka
15th      十五日      じゅう・ご・にち      jū go-nichi
16th      十六日      じゅう・ろく・にち      jū roku-nichi
17th      十七日      じゅう・しち・にち      jū shichi-nichi
18th      十八日      じゅう・はち・にち      jū hachi-nichi
19th      十九日      じゅう・く・にち      jū ku-nichi
20th      二十日      はつ・か      hatsuka
21st      二十一日      に・じゅう・いち・にち      ni-jū ichi-nichi
22nd      二十二日      に・じゅう・に・にち      ni-jū ni-nichi
23rd      二十三日      に・じゅう・さん・にち      ni-jū san-nichi
24th      二十四日      に・じゅう・よっ・か      ni-jū yokka
25th      二十五日      に・じゅう・ご・にち      ni-jū go-nichi
26th      二十六日      に・じゅう・ろく・にち      ni-jū roku-nichi
27th      二十七日      に・じゅう・しち・にち      nijū shichi-nichi
28th      二十八日      に・じゅう・はち・にち      ni-jū hachi-nichi
29th      二十九日      に・じゅう・く・にち      ni-jū ku-nichi
30th      三十日      さん・じゅう・にち      san-jū-nichi
31st      三十一日      さん・じゅう・いち・にち      san-jū ichi-nichi

2- Relative Vocabulary for Days

  • 今日 きょう (Kyō) : Today
  • 昨日 きのう (Kinō) : Yesterday
  • 一昨日 おととい (Ototoi) : The day before yesterday
  • 明日 あした (Ashita) : Tomorrow
  • 明後日 あさって (Asatte) : The day after tomorrow
  • 毎日 まいにち (Mainichi) : Everyday

3- Examples

  • 今日は六月一日です。
    Kyō wa roku-gatsu tsuitachi desu.
    Today is June 1st.
  • 五月五日は子供の日で、祝日です。
    Go-gatsu itsuka wa kodomo no hi de, shukujistu desu.
    May 5th is Children’s Day and it is a national holiday.
  • 私の誕生日は二月二十日です。
    Watashi no tanjōbi wa ni-gatsu hatsuka desu.
    My birthday is February 20th.
  • 4月24日の天気予報は雨です。
    Shi-gatsu ni-jū yokka no tenki yohō wa ame desu.  
    The weather forecast on April 24th is rain.

Flipping Through Pages of a Calendar

The Japanese calendar often starts on Sunday.


5. How to Say the Days of the Week in Japanese

1- Days of the Week

How to say the days of the week in Japanese is simple. All of them are named after elements and nature, and they all end with 曜日(yōbi) which denotes a day of the week.

English      Kanji      Hiragana      How to read      Meaning
Monday      月曜日      げつ ようび      gets-yōbi      月 means “moon”
Tuesday      火曜日      か ようび      ka-yōbi      火 means “fire”
Wednesday      水曜日      すい ようび      su- yōbi      水 means “water”
Thursday      木曜日      もく ようび      moku-yōbi      木 means “wood”
Friday      金曜日      きん ようび      kin-yōbi      金 means “gold”
Saturday      土曜日      ど ようび      do-yōbi      土 means “earth”
Sunday      日曜日      にち ようび      nichi-yōbi      日 means “sun”

In order to listen to the pronunciation of the days of the week in Japanese, please visit Talking about Days on our website.

2- Relative Vocabularies of Week

“Week” in Japanese is 週 (shū).

  • 平日 へいじつ (Heijitsu) : Weekday
  • 週末 しゅうまつ (Shūmatsu) : Weekend
  • 今週 こんしゅう (Konshū) : This week
  • 先週 せんしゅう (Senshū) : Last week
  • 先々週 せんせんしゅう (Sensenshū) : Week before last week
  • 来週 らいしゅう (Raishū) : Next week
  • 再来週 さらいしゅう (Saraishū) : Next next week
  • 毎週 まいしゅう (Maishū) : Every week

3- Examples

  • 今週は金曜日が休みです。
    Konshū wa kin-yōbi ga yasumi desu.
    Friday is off this week.
  • 2月4日は月曜日です。
    Ni-gatsu yokka wa getsu-yōbi desu.
    February 4th is Monday.
  • 来週の土曜日は結婚記念日です。
    Raishū no do-yōbi wa kekkon kinenbi desu.
    Saturday of next week is a marriage anniversary.
  • 月曜日から金曜日まで仕事で忙しいです。
    Getsu-yōbi kara kin-yōbi made shigoto de isogashii desu.
    I am busy with work from Monday to Friday.

Person Writing on a Calendar Planner

Saturdays and Sundays are usually off at work and school in Japan, but some schools have classes on Saturdays and some people work on weekends.


6. Practical Phrases to Talk about Dates in Japanese

1- Appointments / Reservations

  • 2月14日は何か予定ありますか。
    Ni-gatsu jū-yokka wa nani ka yotei arimasu ka.
    Do you have any plans for February 14th?
  • 土曜日と日曜日の週末なら空いています。
    Do-yōbi to nichi-yōbi no shūmatsu nara aite imasu.
    I am free on weekends, Saturday and Sunday.
  • 12月25日に予約は取れますか。
    Jū ni-gatsu ni-jū go-nichi ni yoyaku wa toremasu ka.
    Can I make a reservation for December 25th?
  • 7月13日に予約をお願いします。
    Shichi-gatsu jū san-nichi ni yoyaku o onegai shimasu.
    Please make a reservation for July 13th.

Table with Reserved Sign On It

When you make an appointment or reservation, make sure you mention the date in addition to the day of the week.

2- Asking / Answering Questions

  • 今日は何日の何曜日ですか。
    Kyō wa nan-nichi no nan-yōbi desu ka.
    What day is it today?

    今日は3月10日の日曜日です。
    Kyō wa san-gatsu tōka no nichi-yōbi desu.
    Today is March 10th and Sunday.

  • あなたの誕生日はいつですか。
    Anata no tanjōbi wa itsu desu ka.
    When is your birthday?

    私の誕生日は8月7日です。
    Watashi no tanjōbi wa hachi-gatsu nanoka desu.
    My birthday is August 7th.

  • いつから学校が始まりますか。
    Itsu kara gakkō ga hajimarimasu ka.
    When does your school start?

    私の学校は4月1日に始まります。
    Watashi no gakkō wa shi-gatsu tsuitachi ni hajimarimasu.
    My school starts on April 1st.


7. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

I hope this article about reading dates in Japanese is helpful for you to improve your Japanese. The date is one of the most important counters when it comes to numbers. There are a variety of Japanese counter words for each object, action, or event that you should also learn.

If you’d like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

On our YouTube channel, you’ll enjoy learning the Japanese language by watching videos and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation.

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you feel about reading dates in Japanese now! Do you feel like you know your way around Japanese calendar dates and saying dates in Japanese? Why not practice telling dates in Japanese by dropping us a comment with today’s date?

We always look forward to hearing from you!

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Japanese Travel Phrases for an Enjoyable Trip to Japan

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Are you traveling to Japan and want to learn practical Japanese travel phrases? This article is designed to help you learn the most useful Japanese words for travel.

It’s always good to learn basic words when you travel to a foreign country. Not only does it make getting around easier, but it also allows you to enjoy communicating with the locals.

In general, Japanese people are not so good at speaking English, free wifi services aren’t very prevalent (especially outside of the central cities), and Japan is still more of a cash-based society than you may think. However, Japanese people are very kind; they’ll listen to you patiently and do their best to help. So just use these basic Japanese travel phrases to talk to Japanese people when you want to ask something.

When you speak even a little bit of Japanese, locals will appreciate your effort and will be more friendly. Here’s JapanesePod101’s list of practical Japanese travel phrases for your travels to Japan!

Table of Contents

  1. Greeting/Communication
  2. Asking for Directions
  3. Shopping
  4. Restaurants
  5. When You Need Help
  6. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

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1. Greeting/Communication

Airplane Phrases

To begin our list of essential Japanese travel phrases, we’ll go over greetings and basic travel phrases in Japanese for solid communication. These simple Japanese travel phrases can make a world of difference in your conversations and overall experience in Japan.

1- こんにちは

  • Romanization: Kon’nichiwa
  • English Translation: Hello

In terms of must-know Japanese travel phrases, you probably already know that this is the most common Japanese greeting word. You can say this to anybody for any occasion during the daytime.

2- はい/いいえ

  • Romanization: Hai / Iie
  • English Translation: Yes / No

Hai is “Yes” and it’s pronounced like the English word “Hi.” In Japan, saying yes also means that you understand. Iie is “No” and it’s pronounced ‘EE-eh.’

3- ありがとうございます

  • Romanization: Arigatō gozaimasu
  • English Translation: Thank you

Arigatō gozaimasu is the polite way to say “Thank you” in Japanese, and you can use this for any occasion. In case of a casual situation, you can just say Arigatō, or even more casually, Dōmo (どうも) which means “Thanks.”

4- いいえ、いりません

  • Romanization: Iie, irimasen
  • English Translation: No, thank you.

It literally means “No, I don’t need it,” in Japanese. At a restaurant, say this phrase when a waiter offers to fill your glass of water and you don’t want more.

5- すみません

  • Romanization: Sumimasen
  • English Translation: I’m sorry / Excuse me

This word is usually used to say “sorry'’ or “excuse me”. Say this when you bump into someone in a crowd or when you ask someone for directions. Japanese people also use this to mean “thank you,” in some cases, such as when someone picks up something you dropped.

6- お願いします

  • Romanization: Onegai shimasu
  • English Translation: Please

When you request something, it’s polite to say Onegai shimasu. When someone offers you something and says please, she/he would say Dōzo (どうぞ) in Japanese.

7- 私はXXです

  • Romanization: Watashi wa XX desu.
  • English Translation: I am XX.

Watashi is “I,” wa is “am/is/are,” and desu is a present-tense word that links subjects and predicates; it’s placed at the end of a sentence. You can put your name, or your nationality, such as: Watashi wa Amerika-jin desu (私はアメリカ人です) which means “I am American.”  

Many Different Flags

8- 私は日本語がわかりません

  • Romanization: Watashi wa nihongo ga wakarimasen.
  • English Translation: I don’t understand Japanese.

Nihongo is stands for the Japanese language, and Wakarimasen means “I don’t understand.” If you don’t know something, you can just say Wakarimasen meaning “I don’t know.”

9- 英語を話せますか

  • Romanization: Eigo o hanasemasu ka
  • English Translation: Can you speak English?

This is one of the most useful Japanese phrases for travelers. Eigo means “English,” Hanasemasu is a polite way to say “I speak,” and ka is a word that you add to the end of a complete sentence to make a question.

10- 英語でお願いします

  • Romanization: Eigo de onegai shimasu
  • English Translation: English, please.

This is another important Japanese travel phrase. De is the particle, and in this case it means “by” or “by means of.” The phrase literally translates as “English by please.” You can also say M saizu de onegai shimasu (Mサイズでお願いします) which means “Medium size, please.”


2. Asking for Directions

Preparing to Travel

One of the most important Japanese travel phrases you should know are directions. Here are some useful vocabulary words and two Japanese language travel phrases you need to know!

1- Vocabulary

  • 駅 (Eki) : Station
  • 地下鉄 (Chikatetsu) : Subway/Metro
  • トイレ (Toire) : Toilet
  • 銀行 (Ginkō) : Bank
  • 切符売り場 (Kippu uriba) : Ticket machine/Office
  • 観光案内所 (Kankō annaijo) : Tourist information office
  • 入口 (Iriguchi) : Entrance
  • 出口 (Deguchi) : Exit
  • 右 (Migi) : Right
  • 左 (Hidari) : Left
  • まっすぐ (Massugu) : Straight
  • 曲がる (Magaru) : Turn
  • 交差点 (Kōsaten) : Intersection
  • 角 (Kado) : Corner

2- XXはどこですか

  • Romanization: XX wa doko desu ka
  • English Translation: Where is XX?

Doko means “where” and you replace XX with the name of where you want to go.

For example

  • Toire wa doko desu ka (Where is the toilet?)
  • Deguchi wa doko desu ka (Where is an exit?)

3- XX e wa dō ikeba ii desu ka (XXへはどう行けばいいですか) : How can I go to XX?

  • Romanization: XX e wa dō ikeba ii desu ka
  • English Translation: How can I go to XX?

is “how,” e is “to,” and ikeba ii can be translated as “good to go.” When you want to know how you can get somewhere, replace XX with where you want to go.

For example:

  • Eki e wa dō ikeba ii desu ka (How can I go to the station?)
  • Ginkō e wa dō ikeba ii desu ka (How can I go to the bank?)

4- Other Examples

1. この道をまっすぐ行きます (Kono michi o massugu ikimasu.):Go straight on this street.

Kono michi is “this street” and ikimasu is the polite way to say “Go.” O is a Japanese postpositional particle which indicates an object (in this case, kono michi).

2. 次の角を右へ曲がります (Tsugi no kado o migi e magarimasu.):Turn right at the next corner.

Tsugi no kado means “next corner” and magarimasu is the polite way to say “Turn.” E is another postpositional particle that indicates direction; this can be translated as the English word “to.”

3. 交差点を渡って左へ行きます (Kōsaten o watatte hidari e ikimasu.):Cross an intersection and go to the left (direction).

Watatte is a conjugated form of wataru which means “cross.”


3. Shopping

Basic Questions

You’ll definitely love shopping when traveling in Japan, and some of the best Japanese phrases for travel are those related to this fun past-time. Knowing some useful Japanese words will make your shopping even more enjoyable.

1- XXはありますか

  • Romanization: XX wa arimasu ka
  • English Translation: Do you have XX?

When you’re at a store and looking for something, you can use this phrase by replacing XX with what you want.

2- いくらですか

  • Romanization: Ikura desu ka
  • English Translation: How much is it?

This is probably one of the most useful Japanese words for traveling and shopping. You can say Ikura desu ka in many situations, such as when you’re shopping, buying tickets, paying for a taxi, etc.

3- 免税できますか

  • Romanization: Menzei dekimasu ka
  • English Translation: Can you do a tax exemption?

Did you know that, as a traveler, you can get a sales tax exemption when you purchase things greater than 5,000 yen? Menzei is “tax exempted” and dekimasu means “can do.” Don’t forget to say this when you buy something big!

4- これは何ですか

  • Romanization: Kore wa nan desu ka
  • English Translation: What is this?

Kore is “this” and nan is another form of nani which means “what.” There are many unique foods, gadgets, and things which are unique to Japan, so when you wonder what it is, point to it and say this phrase.

5- これを買います

  • Romanization: Kore o kaimasu
  • English Translation: I’ll buy this.

Kaimasu is the conjugation of the verb kau, which means “buy.”

6- カードは使えますか

  • Romanization: Kādo wa tsukaemasu ka
  • English Translation: Can I use a credit card?

Kādo is “card” and you pronounce it just like the English word “card.” Tsukaemasu is a conjugation of the potential form of the verb tsukau which means “use.” This phrase is useful when you want to use your card at small shops and restaurants.

Man and Woman Shopping


4. Restaurants

Japan has an array of delicious foods, of which sushi and ramen are just the tip of the iceberg. Amazingly, Tokyo is the city with the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, for several consecutive years. Enjoy yummy food at restaurants with useful Japanese words for restaurants and easy Japanese travel phrases related to food.

1- Vocabulary

  • 英語のメニュー (Eigo no menyū) : English menu
  • ベジタリアンのメニュー (Bejitarian no menyū) : Vegetarian menu
  • 豚肉を含まないメニュー (Butaniku o fukumanai menyū) : Menu without pork
  • 水 (Mizu) : Water
  • 白/赤ワイン (Shiro / Aka wain) : White / Red wine

2- XXはありますか

  • Romanization: XX wa arimasu ka
  • English Translation: Do you have XX?

When you want to ask if the restaurant has something you want, say this phrase (replacing XX with what you want).

For example:

  • Eigo no menyū wa arimasu ka (Do you have an English menu?)
  • Aka wain wa arimasu ka (Do you have red wine?)

3- XXをください

  • Romanization: XX o kudasai
  • English Translation: Can I have XX?

This is another very useful phrase. Simply replace XX with what you want. You can also use this versatile phrase in various occasions, such as when shopping, choosing something, etc.

For example:

  • Kore o kudasai (Can I have this?)
  • Mizu o kudasai (Can I have water?)

4- お会計お願いします

  • Romanization: O-kaikei onegai shimasu
  • English Translation: Check, please.

O-kaikei means “check.” In Japan, people often cross their index fingers in front of their face as a gesture to indicate “check, please” at casual restaurants. However, when you’re at a nice restaurant, simply tell a waiter: O-kaikei onegai shimasu.


5. When You Need Help

Survival Phrases

Sometimes you get faced with unexpected emergencies while you’re traveling. Japan is famous for being one of the safest countries in the world, but you might fall very ill or be caught in a great earthquake.

1- Vocabularies

  • 警察 (Keisatsu) : Police
  • 病院 (Byōin) : Hospital
  • 救急車 (Kyūkyūsha) : Ambulance
  • ドラッグストア/薬局 (Doraggu sutoa / Yakkyoku) : Drug Store/Pharmacy
  • タクシー (Takushī) : Taxi

2- XXを呼んでください

  • Romanization: XX o yonde kudasai
  • English Translation: Can you call XX?

When you’re severely ill or in case of emergency, let people know by using this phrase. Japanese people will kindly help you.

For example:

  • Yūkyūsha o yonde kudasai (Can you call an ambulance?)
  • Keisatsu o yonde kudasai (Can you call the police?)

3- どこでインターネットを使えますか

  • Romanization: Doko de intānetto o tsukaemasu ka
  • English Translation: Where can I use the internet?

Although large cities in Japan provide free public wifi at major stations, metros, and cafes, you may need to find internet access in smaller cities. Remember that there will be kind Japanese people who will share their personal hotspots, or look things up for you with their own phones, as well.

4- 電話を貸してください

  • Romanization: Denwa o kashite kudasai
  • English Translation: Can I use your phone?

Denwa is “phone” and kashite is a conjugation word of kasu, which means “lend.” This phrase is literally translated as “Please lend (me) a phone.”

5- 助けてください

  • Romanization: Tasukete kudasai
  • English Translation: Please help me.

I believe this phrase is the last thing you would ever use in Japan, but in case something does happen, this is useful survival Japanese for tourists.

Japanese Landmark


6. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

I hope this article of Japanese travel phrases is helpful and that you’ll enjoy your trip to Japan!

If you would like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

We also have YouTube channel: JapanesePod101. It’s fun to learn Japanese through watching videos and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation, so we recommend you check it out!

Don’t forget to study with our free Japanese vocabulary lists, read more insightful blog posts like this one, and download our mobile apps to learn anywhere, anytime! Whatever your reason for learning Japanese, know that we’re here to help and you can do it! Keep in mind that the best way to learn Japanese phrases for travel is repetition and practice.

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you feel about using these useful travel phrases in Japanese after reading this article. More confident, or still a little confused about something? Feel free to ask questions in the comments!

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Japanese Numbers: Let’s Master the Basic Japanese Numbers!

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Numbers are necessary in everyday life as you need them to express time, record dates, interpret recipe amounts, count objects, and the list goes on. Japanese numerical systems have unique features and they are very different from those in English.

For example, Japanese has a variety of counter words depending on different factors. Further, large numbers are counted by units of four digits while the Western system counts by that of three digits, and the differences only continue for numbers in the Japanese language.

Let’s start to learn basic Japanese numbers with JapanesePod101.com!

Table of Contents

  1. Counting in Japanese: Numbers 0-9
  2. Counting in Japanese: Numbers 10-99
  3. Counting in Japanese: Numbers up to 1000
  4. Counting in Japanese: More than 10,000
  5. Decimal Fraction / Fraction Numbers in Japanese
  6. How to Say Prices in Japanese
  7. Shopping Using Numbers in Japanese
  8. How to Give Your Phone Number in Japanese
  9. Conclusion: How JapanesePod101.com Can Help You Learn More Japanese

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1. Counting in Japanese: Numbers 0-9

Japanese Numbers

漢字 Kanji ひらがな Hiragana Reading
0 ぜろ/れい Zero/Rei
1 いち Ichi
2 Ni
3 さん San
4 し/よん Shi/Yon
5 Go
6 ろく Roku
7 しち/なな Shichi/Nana
8 はち Hachi
9 く/きゅう Ku/Kyū
10 じゅう

These are the basic Japanese numbers for 0 to 10. You absolutely need to know these numbers in learning Japanese so that you can use them to build bigger numbers.

The standard way of reading 0 to 10 is also used in combination with counter words when you count anything, including actions and events. The Arabic numerals (0, 1, 2, 3…) are also commonly used in Japanese, but they often appear in horizontal texts, while the numbers in Kanji are mostly used in vertical texts, especially in formal writings and in particular situations.

As it’s written in the chart, there are some numbers which can be read two ways:

  • 0 can be ぜろ(Zero) or れい (Rei). Nowadays, “Zero” is more common to read, and the Kanji 零 is rarely used.
  • 4 can either be し(Shi) or よん (Yon).
  • 7 can either be しち(Shichi) or なな (Nana).
  • 9 can be either く(Ku) or きゅう (Kyū).

In most circumstances, both are acceptable. In general, よん (Yon), なな (Nana), and きゅう(Kyū) sound more casual and common.し(Shi), しち (Shichi), and く(Ku) sound more formal.


2. Counting in Japanese: Numbers 10-99

漢字 Kanji ひらがな Hiragana Reading Literal reading in Japanese
11 十一 じゅういち jū-ichi 10, 1
12 十二 じゅうに jū-ni 10, 2
13 十三 じゅうさん jū-san 10, 3
14 十四 じゅうし/よん jū-shi/yon 10, 4
15 十五 じゅうご jū-go 10, 5
16 十六 じゅうろく jū-roku 10, 6
17 十七 じゅうしち/なな jū-shichi/nana 10, 7
18 十八 じゅうはち jū-hachi 10, 8
19 十九 じゅうく/きゅう jū kyū/ku 10, 9
20 二十 にじゅう ni-jū 2, 10
21 二十一 にじゅういち ni-jū ichi 2, 10, 1
30 三十 さんじゅう san-jū 3, 10
40 四十 よんじゅう yon-jū 4, 10
50 五十 ごじゅう go-jū 5, 10
60 六十 ろくじゅう roku-jū 6, 10
70 七十 ななじゅう nana-jū 7, 10
80 八十 はちじゅう hachi-jū 8,10
90 九十 きゅうじゅう kyū-jū 9,10

You can count from 1 to 99 with just ten numbers (0-10). Japanese numbers are simple and easier to use than English in this respect because there’s no exception or particular separate words such as “twenty” or “thirty.” In Japanese, these are expressed “two ten” and “three ten.” 21 is “two ten one.”

The Arabic numerals are commonly used and Kanji is also used in some circumstances. However, Hiragana isn’t used to express numbers. Like the cases of idiomatic words or a combination of Kanji (熟語 じゅくご Jukugo), Hiragana can become long to express and hard to decipher.

For more on Japanese numbers, YouTube has some great content. Please visit our JapanesePod101 YouTube channel and watch Learn Japanese Numbers 1 to 20 to learn Japanese basic numbers. You can listen to hear how they’re actually pronounced.

Numbers


3. Counting in Japanese: Numbers up to 1000

漢字 Kanji ひらがな Hiragana Reading Literal reading in Japanese
100 ひゃく hyaku 100
200 二百 にひゃく ni-hyaku 2, 100
300 三百 さんびゃく san-byaku 3, 100
400 四百 よんひゃく yon-hyaku 4, 100
500 五百 ごひゃく go-hyaku 5, 100
600 六百 ろっぴゃく roppyaku 6, 100
700 七百 ななひゃく nana-hyaku 7, 100
800 八百 はっぴゃく happyaku 8, 100
900 九百 きゅうひゃく kyū-hyaku 9, 100
1000 せん sen 1000
1100 千百 せんひゃく sen hyaku 1000, 100
110 百十 ひゃくじゅう hyaku jū 100, 10
111 百十一 ひゃくじゅういち hyaku jū-ichi 100, 10, 1

From 100 to 1000, the pattern is basically simple and the same. In Japanese, as you can see in the chart, you can simply put the numbers 1 to 9 and add 100 to express 100 to 900 in Japanese. There are some exceptions for reading, such as 300, 600, and 800.

  • 100 is hyaku, but 300 is read san (3) Byaku (100)
  • 600 is roppyaku instead of “roku hyaku,”
  • 800 is happyaku instead of hachi hyaku.
  • 3000 is san (3) zen (100)
  • 8000 is hassen instead of hachi sen


4. Counting in Japanese: More than 10,000

漢字 Kanji ひらがな Hiragana Reading Literal reading in Japanese
10,000 まん man 10000
100,000 十万 じゅうまん jū-man 10, 10000
1,000,000 百万 ひゃくまん hyaku-man 100, 10000
10,000,000 千万 せんまん sen-man 1000, 10000
10^8 おく oku
10^12 ちょう chō

For the large numbers, Japanese numerals are divided into units of four (as in the four zeros in ten thousand). As you can see in the chart, 万 (man) is 10^4, 億 (oku) is 10^8, and 兆 (chō) is 10^12. One million is expressed as one hundred ten-thousands or 百万 (hyaku-man) in Japanese.

Note that you don’t need to put a 1 for 百 (hyaku) meaning 100 or 千 (sen) meaning 1000. But for units past 1000, you need to put a 1 in front. For example:

  • ichi-man ( 10^4 )
  • ichi-oku ( 10^8 )
  • ichhō ( 10^12 )

You also read numbers in Japanese in the same pattern as mentioned before. You can count by simply chaining the numbers. However, there’s also an exception for the large numbers: 10^12 is 兆 ichhō instead of ichi-chō.

For the large numbers, the Arabic numerals are used in combination with Kanji, such as in 5万 (go-man), 4千万 (Yon-sen-man), 100億 (hyaku-oku), 3兆 (san-chō), etc.

Our JapanesePod101 YouTube video How to Count to 600,000 in Japanese is useful to help you learn large Japanese numbers. Please check it out to see how you can count large numbers in Japanese.

Highlighting Numbers


5. Decimal Fraction / Fraction Numbers in Japanese

1- Decimal Fractions

ひらがな Hiragana Reading
0.1 れいてんいち rei ten ichi
0.03 れいてんれいさん rei ten rei san
0.005 れいてんれいれいご rei ten rei rei go

0 before the decimal point is read rei and 0 after the point can be either rei or zero. The decimal point is called ten which literally means “point.”

2- Fraction Numbers

Japanese writing ひらがな Hiragana Reading
1/2 2分の1 にぶんのいち ni bun no ichi
4/7 7分の4 ななぶんのよん nana bun no yon
3/10 10分の3 じゅうぶんのさん jū bun no san

For fraction numbers in Japanese, the number after / is read first. / is expressed as 分の (bun no).


6. How to Say Prices in Japanese

漢字 Kanji ひらがな Hiragana Reading
1 Yen 1円 いちえん ichi-en
5 Yen 5円 ごえん go-en
10 Yen 10円 じゅうえん jū-en
100 Yen 100円 ひゃくえん hyaku-en
1000 Yen 1000円 せんえん sen-en
5000 Yen 5000円 ごせんえん go-sen-en
10000 Yen 10000円 いちまんえん ichi-man-en

The Japanese currency is Yen and it’s read en. Expressing prices is very simple: you just use the numbers and en. The Arabic numerals are usually used for prices.

Clothes Shopping


7. Shopping Using Numbers in Japanese

The phrase いくら (ikura) which means “How much” is often used in shopping.

The word “Price” is 値段 ねだん (nedan) in Japanese.

Examples for Shopping:

  • A: このりんごの値段はいくらですか。
    A: Kono ringo no nedan wa ikura desu ka.
    A: How much is the price for this apple?

    B: りんご1つ120円です。
    B: Ringo hitotsu hyaku ni-jū-en desu.
    B: One apple is 120 yen.

  • A: これはいくらですか。 
    A: Kore wa ikura desu ka.
    A: How much is this?

    B: それは259円です。 
    B: Sore wa ni-hyaku go-jū kyū-en desu.
    B: It is 259 en.

  • A: 2万5千円の靴の値引きはいくらですか。
    A: Ni-man go-sen-en no kutsu no nebiki wa ikura desu ka.
    A: How much is a discount for the shoes of 25,000 yen?

    B: その靴の値引きは20%で、値段は2万円です。
    B: Sono kutsu no nebiki wa ni-juppāsento de, nedan wa ni-man-en desu.
    B: The discount for the shoes is 20%, and the price is 20,000 yen.

Please visit our JapanesePod101 YouTube channel to learn more helpful Japanese for shopping. The following are practical and useful Japanese for when you go shopping: Buying Items at a Register in Japan, Top 15 Must-Know Japanese Phrases to Go Shopping in Japan, and What’s Inside a Japanese Convenience Store?

Business Deal


8. How to Give Your Phone Number in Japanese

Telephone numbers are simple, as you can just chain numbers.

The words “telephone” and “number” are denwa and bangō in Japanese, respectively.

The only thing you should keep in mind is that “ - “ between numbers are read as no. Or, you can simply pause before giving the following numbers.

Examples:

  • A: あなたの携帯電話番号は何ですか。 
    A: Anata no keitai denwa bangō wa nan desu ka.
    A: What is your mobile telephone number?

    B:私の番号は090-1234-5678です。
    B: Watashi no bangō wa zero kyū zero no ichi ni san yon no go roku shichi hachi desu.
    B: My number is 090-1234-5678.

  • A: お問い合わせはフリーダイヤル0120-123-456におかけください。
    A: O-toiawase wa furī daiyaru zero ichi ni zero no ichi ni san no shi go roku ni okake kudasai.
    A: Please call to the toll-free 0120-123-456 for inquiries.


Conclusion: How JapanesePod101.com Can Help You Learn More Japanese

As we’ve seen, Japanese numbers are very simple to read. However, how to count things is a bit more complicated because there are a variety of Japanese counter words for each object, action, or event.

If you’d like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

On our YouTube channel, you’ll enjoy learning the Japanese language by watching videos and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation. For more about Japanese numbers, Numbers & Days, Learn Japanese Counters, and Learn Japanese Superstitions - Unlucky Numbers are helpful.

Further, for reading and writing Japanese, Learn to Read and Write Japanese is a good watch. For much more, please check out our YouTube channel!

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How to Say Sorry in Japanese

Greetings are the first thing you learn when you start to learn a new language. “Hello” and “Thank you” are essential, but “Sorry” becomes even more important when it comes to good communication in a foreign culture which often has different customs and values from your original culture. Thus, “sorry” in studying Japanese is one of the most vital things you’ll learn.

One of the noteworthy features of Japanese apologies is that there are various ways to say sorry. How to say sorry in Japanese has variations, both formal and informal, and in the severity of what you’re apologizing for and who you’re apologizing to. Japanese apologies also have to accompany particular gestures in some situations.

Let’s take a detailed look at how to say sorry in Japanese words! Start with a bonus, and download your FREE cheat sheet - How to Improve Your Japanese Skills! (Logged-In Member Only)

  1. Japanese Apology from the Cultural Perspective
  2. “I’m Sorry” in Japanese — Formal
  3. “I’m Sorry” in Japanese — Informal
  4. Conclusion: How Japanesepod101.com Can Help You Learn More Japanese

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1. Japanese Apology from the Cultural Perspective

Japanese greetings are not only words of greeting, but also reflect the very Japanese culture and values, much more so than in other languages. The same is true of Japanese apologies, which are very important for avoiding conflicts and keeping good harmony with others in the society.

和 (wa) or “Harmony” is one of the most important values in Japan. It’s the concept that people prefer to maintain a peaceful unity and conformity with others, and it often involves priority to keep a harmonious state within a social group over its members’ personal interests.

Some Japanese apology words, such as Sumimasen or Gomen (see below), can be often used as a substitution for “thank you” which also contains a nuance of “gratitude.”

This may be very difficult for foreigners to understand, but in Japan, when other people do a favor for you, you’re thankful for it and also feel sorry for using their time and effort for you. In this case, those Japanese apology words are used to express both “thank you” and “sorry.” This comes from an idea in Japanese culture that an attitude of politeness and caring for others is valued, and troubling others is considered bad.


2. “I’m Sorry” in Japanese — Formal

Japanese Woman Bowing in Apology

1- Possible Situations and to Whom to Apologize

Formal Japanese apology words are typically used in official circumstances, such as at work, restaurants, shops, or other official office. They often involve people whom you’re not so close with and situations where certain kinds of official relationships exist: staff/manager, client/customer service provider, etc.

2- Apology Level: General らく

These are very common words and gestures for saying sorry in Japanese in the formal style. You can use these in most social situations.

1. Gestures

When you apologize, you’re supposed to show how sincerely sorry you are for your mistake to the offended person or people (otherwise, it would make them angrier and make the situation even worse!).

The common gesture is to place both of your arms and hands straight along your body, or place one of your hands in front of your lower belly, covering it with your other hand. With either of these gestures, you make a “sorry” expression with your face and your head, and slightly tilt down like when you bow.

2. Words and Phrases

すみません (Sumimasen) — I’m sorry

This is the most common “sorry” in spoken Japanese. This can be translated as “I’m sorry” or “Excuse me” in Japanese. This word is often used as a light apology and can also be “Thank you” in some situations as mentioned earlier.

You say Sumimasen when you bump into someone on the street, when you thrust your way through a crowd, when you spill a glass of water and a waitress has to clean it up, etc.

Example:

  • すみません、水をこぼしてしまいました。
    • Sumimasen, mizu o koboshite shimaimashita.
    • I’m sorry, I spilled the water.
  • すみません、切符はどこで買えますか。
    • Sumimasen, kippu wa doko de kaemasu?
    • Excuse me, where can I buy a ticket?

(When someone picked up something you dropped)

  • すみません、ポケットから落ちたのに気づきませんでした。
    • Sumimasen, poketto kara ochita no ni kizukimasen deshita.
    • Thank you, I didn’t notice it dropped from a pocket.

すみませんでした (Sumimasen deshita) — I am very sorry

This is the past tense of Sumimasen and is more serious. The past tense often sounds more formal and polite in Japanese when it comes to apologies. Unlike Sumimasen, this word doesn’t have the meaning of “Excuse me” or “Thank you.”

Example:

(When you made some mistakes at work and apologize to your boss)

  • すみませんでした、正しいデータで書類をすぐに修正します。
    • Sumimasen deshita, tadashii dēta de shorui o sugu ni shūsei shimasu.
    • I’m sorry, I will revise the document with correct data immediately.

(When you broke a glass at a restaurant)

  • グラスを壊してしまい、すみませんでした。
    • Gurasu o kowashite shimai, sumimasen deshita.
    • I’m sorry for breaking a glass.

Wine Glass Shattering

失礼しました (Shitsurei shimashita) — I’m sorry (for my mistake).

This is another formal and general way to say sorry in Japanese. Shitsurei literally translates as “impoliteness, rudeness, or bad manners,” and the phrase means “I was rude” or “I had bad manners.”

This word can be used the same way as Sumimasen deshita. If you want to say it more politely, use itashimashita instead of shimashita. Itashimashita is the respectful way to say “I did.”

Example:

(When a waiter brought you the wrong dish)

  • 失礼しました、すぐに味噌ラーメンをお持ちします。
    • Shitsurei shimashita, sugu ni miso rāmen o o-mochi shimasu.
    • I’m sorry, I will bring Miso Ramen as soon as possible.

(To your client)

  • 間違った商品の値段をお伝えしまして、失礼いたしました。
    • Machigatta shōhin no nedan o o-tsutae shimashite, shitsurei itashimashita.
    • I’m sorry that I told you the wrong price of the product.

3- Apology Level: Very Deep Apology

3 Ways to Say Sorry

The very deep apology in the formal style is quite serious and is used when the severity of your offense is considered very high. In order to show your serious and sincere apology, adjective words such as Hijō ni (“greatly”), Taihen (“terribly”), or Makoto ni (“truely”) are often added in front of the following apology words.

1. Gestures

For a deep and sincere apology, place both of your arms and hands straight along your body and bow 60 degrees forward, with your head and face down. If it’s a more serious situation, bow 90 degrees. (The different degrees of a bow show the level of severity.)

In the case of an extremely severe situation, you can express your seriousness with Dogeza style. Dogeza involves both of your knees down, your hands placed on the ground, and prostrating yourself with your forehead touching the floor.

In normal daily life, however, Dogeza is the last gesture to do in apology, unless you run over someone with your car and are going to apologize to the victim’s family!

2. Words and Phrases

申し訳ありませんでした (Mōshiwake arimasen deshita) — I am terribly sorry / I sincerely apologize

This is a polite formal apology and you should use this when you’ve done something very wrong.

The word Mōshi comes from the honorific word Mōsu which means “to say” in the form of Kenjō-go. While saying it, you humble yourself or lower your rank below that of the person you’re speaking to.

Wake means “reason,” Arimasen means “there is no,” and Deshita is the past tense. The phrase can be literally translated as: “There was no reason/excuse to say (for what I have done).”

Example:

(When something you bought is already broken and you take it to the shop, a staff member will say this)

  • 大変申し訳ありませんでした。新しいものに交換します。
    • Taihen mōshiwake arimasen deshita. Atarashii mono ni kōkan shimasu.
    • I am terribly sorry. I will replace it with a new one.

(To your boss)

  • 会議に遅刻してしまい、誠に申し訳ありませんでした。
    • Kaigi ni chikoku shite shimai, makoto ni mōshiwake arimasen deshita.
    • I am truly sorry that I came late for the meeting.

申し訳ございませんでした (Mōshiwake gozaimasen deshita) — I am terribly sorry / I sincerely apologize.

This is similar to Mōshiwake arimasen deshita, but this phrase is even more polite and respectful.
Gozaimasen is a negative of Gozaimasu which means “there is/are” in a very polite and respectful way.

Example:

(The president of a company that has conducted an accounting fraud)

  • 大変申し訳ございませんでした。詳細を調査してしかるべき対応をします。
    • Taihen mōshiwake gozaimasen deshita. Shōsai o chōsa shite shikarubeki taiō o shimasu.
    • We are terribly sorry. We will investigate the details and take the appropriate actions.

(When you bumped your car into someone else’s car)

  • 大変申し訳ございませんでした。損害の賠償をします。
    • Taihen mōshiwake gozaimasen deshita. Songai no baishō o shimasu.
    • I am terribly sorry. I will reimburse for the damage.

お詫び申し上げます (O-wabi mōshiagemasu) — I make a deep apology

This is another very polite way to say sorry in Japanese. This phrase is usually used after you apologize with mōshiwake arimasen deshita or mōshiwake gozaimasen deshita. The word O-wabi means “apology” in a polite way, and the phrase is translated as “I state apology” in a polite and respectful way.

Example:

  • 大変申し訳ございませんでした。お詫び申し上げます。
    • Taihen mōshiwake gozaimasen deshita. O-wabi mōshiagemasu.
    • We are terribly sorry. I make a humble apology.

Man Extending Hand in Apology


3. “I’m Sorry” in Japanese — Informal

1- Possible Situations

Informal apologies are used among very close people, such as family, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, and people you know very well. Note that informal apologies in Japanese should never be used during official occasions because it sounds very casual and it would make things worse.

Saying Sorry

2- Apology Level: Light

These apology words are used in situations where you did something wrong or unpleasant but not so very bad.

1. Gestures

For light apologies, usually you just say sorry without any gestures. In some cases, casually put your palms together in front of your face.

2. Words and Phrases

ごめん (Gomen) — Sorry

The word Gomen originally meant “forgive” or “pardon” in a polite way in Japanese, and it was used to ask for forgiveness or pardon. Nowadays, it has become shorter so that we just use the word meaning “sorry.” When you want to say it in a cuter way or with affection, you add ne to the end: Gomen ne.

Example:

(After a couple fought over something)

  • A (male):
    • ごめん。俺が悪かった。
    • Gomen. Ore ga warukatta.
    • Sorry. I was bad.
  • B (female):
    • ごめんね。私も。
    • Gomen ne. Watashi mo.
    • Sorry. Me too.

(When you are late to meet your friend)

  • 遅れてごめん。
    • Okurete gomen.
    • Sorry for being late.

失礼 (Shitsurei) — Sorry / Excuse me

Shitsurei is the short and casual version of Shitsurei shimashita. This can also be used as “Excuse me.”

Example:

(After you burp/fart)

  • 失礼!
    • Shitsurei!
    • Sorry / Excuse me!

  
(When you thrust your way through a crowd of friends)
  

  • 失礼、通るよ。
    • Shitsurei, tōru yo.
    • Sorry, let me pass.

悪い (Warui) — My bad

It literally means “bad,” but in this case you can use this phrase as “My bad!” However, it sounds a little rough and this word is used mainly by men. Also note that in the example below, you’ll find a variation of how to say sorry I’m late in Japanese.

Example:

(When a boyfriend is late for dinner at a restaurant)

  • A (male):
    • 悪い、ちょっと遅れる。先に行って何か頼んでて。
    • Warui, chotto okureru. Saki ni itte nani ka tanonde te.
    • Sorry, I’ll be a bit late. You can go (to a restaurant) first and order something.
  • B (female):
    • わかった。飲み物頼んでおくね。
    • Wakatta. Nomimono tanonde oku ne.
    • Alright. I will order drinks.

Man and Woman at Nice Restaurant

3- Apology Level: General

The following phrase is the common, informal way to say sorry in Japanese. It’s casual, but still sounds polite. In some cases, this phrase can be used in semi-formal occasions.

1. Gestures

There is no particular gesture you should do for informal and general apologies. However, it’s a good idea to show your sincere feelings using facial expressions and through the tone of your voice.

2. Words and Phrases

ごめんなさい (Gomennasai) — I am sorry

Gomennasai is a more polite version of Gomen.

Example:

  • ごめんなさい。お母さんのパソコン壊しちゃった。
    • Gomennasai. O-kā-san no pasokon kowashichatta.
    • I’m sorry. I broke mom’s computer.

 (At a restaurant)
   

  • ごめんなさい。やっぱり注文はカルボナーラに変更したいです。
    • Gomennasai. Yappari chūmon wa carubonāra ni henkō shitai desu.
    • I’m sorry. I want to change my order to Carbonara.

4- Apology Level: Deep Apology

When you want to express your deep apology in informal occasions, you can add Hontō ni (“truly”) in front of Gomennasai. It looks more polite and sincere when you hold your hands in front of your lower belly, or put your palms together in front of your face.

Example:

  • 本当にごめんなさい。お父さんの車で事故おこしちゃった。
    • Hontō ni gomennasai. O-tō-san no kuruma de jiko okoshichatta.
    • I’m very sorry. I made a car accident with the father’s car.
  • 本当にごめんなさい。君に借りた本を失くした。
    • Hontō ni gomennasai. Kimi ni karita hon o nakushita.
    • I’m very sorry. I lost your book that I borrowed.


Conclusion: How Japanesepod101.com Can Help You Learn More Japanese

We hope this article on how to say sorry in Japanese is helpful and that you have a better understanding of the Japanese language and Japanese culture. You should now know many Japanese ways to say sorry, as “sorry” in learning Japanese is vital.

If you’d like to learn more about the Japanese language, you’ll find more useful content on JapanesePod101.com. We provide a variety of free lessons for you to improve your Japanese language skills.

We also have a YouTube channel where you can enjoy learning the Japanese language by watching videos and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation. If you’re keen on how to read and write Japanese, which consists of three alphabets (hiragana, katakana, and kanji), you can learn more about Japanese gestures, basic Japanese, daily Japanese conversations, 100 Japanese phrases for beginners, and much more.

Please visit our YouTube channel for a fun learning experience!

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How to Say I Love You in Japanese - Romantic Word List

Do you often feel lonely and sad? Do you long for romance and are willing to do whatever it takes to meet that special person? Speaking another language could revolutionize your love life! So, why wait? Learning how to say ‘love’ in Japanese could be just what you need to find it.

Or perhaps you were lucky, and have found your Japanese partner already. Fantastic! Yet, a cross-cultural relationship comes with unique challenges. Learning how to speak your lover’s language will greatly improve your communication and enhance the relationship. At JapanesePod101, our team will teach you all the words, quotes and phrases you need to woo your Japanese lover with excellence! Our tutors provide personal assistance, with plenty of extra material available to make Japanese dating easy for you.

Table of Contents

  1. Common Phrases You’ll Need for a Date
  2. The Most Romantic Ideas for a Date
  3. Must-know Valentine’s Day Vocabulary
  4. Japanese Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day
  5. Japanese Quotes about Love
  6. Marriage Proposal Lines
  7. 15 Most Common Break-Up Lines
  8. Will Falling in Love Help You Learn Japanese Faster?

Start with a bonus, and download the ‘How To be a Good Lover Cheat Sheet’ for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

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1. Common Phrases You’ll Need for a Date

So, you have met your Japanese love interest. Congratulations! Who knows where this could take you…?! However, the two of you have just met and you’re not ready to say the Japanese word for love just yet. Great, it is better to get to know him/her first. Wow your prospective love by using these Japanese date phrases to set up a spectacular first date.

Japanese Date Phrases

Would you like to go out to dinner with me?

  • あなたは私と一緒に夕食に出かけたいですか?
  • anata wa watashi to issho ni yūshoku ni dekaketai desu ka?

The important question! In most cultures, this phrase indicates: ‘I’m romantically interested in you’. Flirting in Japanese is no different, so don’t take your date to Mcdonald’s!

Are you free this weekend?

  • この週末は暇ですか。
  • kono shūmatsu wa hima desu ka?

This is a preamble to asking your love interest on a date. If you get an immediate ‘Yes’, that’s good news!

Would you like to hang out with me?

  • 私と一緒にブラブラしたいですか?
  • watashi to issho ni burabura shitai desu ka?

You like her/him, but you’re not sure if there’s chemistry. Ask them to hang out first to see if a dinner date is next.

What time shall we meet tomorrow?

  • 明日、何時に会いましょうか?
  • ashita nanji ni aimashō ka?

Set a time, and be sure to arrive early! Nothing spoils a potential relationship more than a tardy date.

Where shall we meet?

  • どこで会いましょうか?
  • doko de aimashō ka?

You can ask this, but also suggest a place.

You look great.

  • 元気そうですね。
  • genki sō desu ne.

A wonderful ice breaker! This phrase will help them relax a bit - they probably took great care to look their best just for you.

You are so cute.

  • あなたはとてもかわいいです。
  • anata wa totemo kawaī desu.

If the two of you are getting on really well, this is a fun, flirtatious phrase to use.

What do you think of this place?

  • この場所をどう思いますか?
  • konobasho o dō omoimasu ka?

This another good conversation starter. Show off your Japanese language skills!

Can I see you again?

  • また会えますか?
  • mata aemasu ka?

So the date went really well - don’t waste time! Make sure you will see each other again.

Shall we go somewhere else?

  • どこか他のところに行きましょうか?
  • doko ka hoka no tokoro ni ikimashō ka?

If the place you meet at is not great, you can suggest going elsewhere. It is also a good question to follow the previous one. Variety is the spice of life!

I know a good place.

  • いい場所を知っています。
  • ī basho o shitte imasu.

Use this with the previous question. However, don’t say if you don’t know a good place!

I will drive you home.

  • あなたを家まで送ります。
  • anata o ie made okurimasu.

If your date doesn’t have transport, this is a polite, considerate offer. However, don’t be offended if she/he turns you down on the first date. Especially a woman might not feel comfortable letting you drive her home when the two of you are still basically strangers.

That was a great evening.

  • 素晴らしい夜でした。
  • subarashī yoru deshita.

This is a good phrase to end the evening with.

When can I see you again?

  • いつまたあなたに会えますか?
  • itsu mata anata ni aemasu ka?

If he/she replied ‘Yes’ to ‘Can I see you again?’, this is the next important question.

I’ll call you.

  • 電話します。
  • denwa shimasu.

Say this only if you really mean to do it. In many cultures, this could imply that you’re keeping the proverbial backdoor open.

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2. The Most Romantic Ideas for a Date

You learned all the Japanese phrases to make a date - congratulations! Now you have to decide where to meet, which can be tricky. Discuss these options with your lover to gauge whether you like the same things. Check out romantic date ideas in Japanese below!

Date Ideas in Japanese

museum

  • 美術館
  • bijutsukan

If you’re looking for unique date ideas that are fun but won’t break the bank, museums are the perfect spot! You won’t be running out of things to say in the conversations.

candlelit dinner

  • キャンドルディナー
  • kyandorudeinā

A candlelit dinner is perhaps best to reserve for when the relationship is getting serious. It’s very intimate, and says: “Romance!” It’s a fantastic choice if you’re sure you and your date are in love with each other!

go to the zoo

  • 動物園に行く
  • dōbutsuen ni iku

This is a good choice for shy lovers who want to get the conversation going. Just make sure your date likes zoos, as some people dislike them. Maybe not for the first date, but this is also a great choice if your lover has children - you’ll win his/her adoration for inviting them along!

go for a long walk

  • 長い散歩に出る
  • nagai sanpo ni deru

Need to talk about serious stuff, or just want to relax with your date? Walking together is soothing, and a habit you can keep up together always! Just make sure it’s a beautiful walk that’s not too strenuous.

go to the opera

  • オペラに行く
  • opera ni iku

This type of date should only be attempted if both of you love the opera. It can be a special treat, followed by a candlelit dinner!

go to the aquarium

  • 水族館に行く
  • suizokukan ni iku

Going to the aquarium is another good idea if you need topics for conversation, or if you need to impress your lover’s kids! Make sure your date doesn’t have a problem with aquariums.

walk on the beach

  • 浜辺を歩く
  • hamabe o aruku

This can be a very romantic stroll, especially at night! The sea is often associated with romance and beauty.

have a picnic

  • ピクニックをする
  • pikunikku o suru

If you and your date need to get more comfortable together, this can be a fantastic date. Spending time in nature is soothing and calms the nerves.

cook a meal together

  • 一緒に食事を作る
  • issho ni shokuji o tsukuru

If you want to get an idea of your date’s true character in one go, this is an excellent date! You will quickly see if the two of you can work together in a confined space. If it works, it will be fantastic for the relationship and create a sense of intimacy. If not, you will probably part ways!

have dinner and see a movie

  • 夕食を食べて映画を見る
  • yūshoku o tabete ēga o miru

This is traditional date choice works perfectly well. Just make sure you and your date like the same kind of movies!

3. Must-know Valentine’s Day Vocabulary

Valentine's Day Words in Japanese

Expressing your feelings honestly is very important in any relationship all year round. Yet, on Valentine’s Day you really want to shine. Impress your lover this Valentine’s with your excellent vocabulary, and make his/her day! We teach you, in fun, effective ways, the meanings of the words and how to pronounce them. You can also copy the characters and learn how to write ‘I love you’ in Japanese - think how impressed your date will be!

4. Japanese Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day

So, you now have the basic Valentine’s Day vocabulary under your belt. Well done! But, do you know how to say ‘I love you’ in Japanese yet? Or perhaps you are still only friends. So, do you know how to say ‘I like you’ or ‘I have a crush on you’ in Japanese? No? Don’t worry, here are all the love phrases you need to bowl over your Japanese love on this special day!

Valentine's Day Words in Japanese

I love you.

  • あなたの事を愛しています。
  • Anata no koto o aishite imasu.

Saying ‘I love you’ in Japanese carries the same weight as in all languages. Use this only if you’re sure and sincere about your feelings for your partner/friend.

You mean so much to me.

  • あなたは私にとって、とても大事な存在です。
  • Anata wa watashi ni totte, totemo daiji na sonzai desu.

This is a beautiful expression of gratitude that will enhance any relationship! It makes the receiver feel appreciated and their efforts recognized.

Will you be my Valentine?

  • バレンタインを一緒に過ごしてくれる?
  • Barentain o issho ni sugoshite kureru?

With these words, you are taking your relationship to the next level! Or, if you have been a couple for a while, it shows that you still feel the romance. So, go for it!

You’re so beautiful.

  • 君はとても美しいよ。
  • Kimi wa totemo utsukushii yo.

If you don’t know how to say ‘You’re pretty’ in Japanese, this is a good substitute, gentlemen!

I think of you as more than a friend.

  • 私は、友達以上としてあなたのことを考えている。
  • Watashi wa, tomodachi ijō to shite anata no koto o kangaete iru.

Say this if you are not yet sure that your romantic feelings are reciprocated. It is also a safe go-to if you’re unsure about the Japanese dating culture.

A hundred hearts would be too few to carry all my love for you.

  • 百個のハートでも、君を愛しているというのは表現しつくせない。
  • Hya-kko no hāto demo, kimi o aishite iru to iu no wa hyōgen shi tsukusenai.

You romantic you…! When your heart overflows with love, this would be the best phrase to use.

Love is just love. It can never be explained.

  • 「愛」はただ単に「愛」である。説明なんてできない。
  • “Ai” wa tada tan ni “ai” de aru. Setsumei nante dekinai.

If you fell in love unexpectedly or inexplicably, this one’s for you.

You’re so handsome.

  • あなた、とてもハンサムですね。
  • Anata, totemo hansamu desu ne.

Ladies, this phrase lets your Japanese love know how much you appreciate his looks! Don’t be shy to use it; men like compliments too.

I’ve got a crush on you.

  • 私はあなたに一目惚れした。
  • Watashi wa anata ni hitomebore shita.

If you like someone, but you’re unsure about starting a relationship, it would be prudent to say this. It simply means that you like someone very, very much and think they’re amazing.

You make me want to be a better man.

  • あなたは私により良い男になろうと思わせてくれた。
  • Anata wa watashi ni yori yoi otoko ni narō to omowasete kureta.

Gentlemen, don’t claim this phrase as your own! It hails from the movie ‘As Good as it Gets’, but it is sure to make your Japanese girlfriend feel very special. Let her know that she inspires you!

Let all that you do be done in love.

  • どんな事も愛情をもってやりなさい。
  • Donna koto mo aijō o motte yarinasai

We hope.

You are my sunshine, my love.

  • あなたは私の太陽、そして愛です。
  • Anata wa watashi no taiyō, soshite ai desu.

A compliment that lets your lover know they bring a special quality to your life. Really nice!

Words can’t describe my love for you.

  • 言葉であなたへの愛情は言い表せられない。
  • Kotoba de anata e no aijō wa iiarawasenai.

Better say this when you’re feeling serious about the relationship! It means that your feelings are very intense.

We were meant to be together.

  • 私たちは一緒になる運命だったんだ。
  • Watashi-tachi wa issho ni naru unmei datta n da.

This is a loving affirmation that shows you see a future together, and that you feel a special bond with your partner.

If you were thinking about someone while reading this, you’re definitely in love.

  • これを読んでいる時に誰かの事を考えているなら、あなたは恋に落ちているに違いない。
  • Kore o yonde iru toki ni dareka no koto o kangaete iru nara, anta wa koi ni ochite iru ni chigainai.

Here’s something fun to tease your lover with. And hope he/she was thinking of you!

5. Japanese Quotes about Love

Japanese Love Quotes

You’re a love champ! You and your Japanese lover are getting along fantastically, your dates are awesome, your Valentine’s Day together was spectacular, and you’re very much in love. Good for you! Here are some beautiful phrases of endearment in Japanese that will remind him/her who is in your thoughts all the time.

6. Marriage Proposal Lines

Japanese Marriage Proposal Lines

Wow. Your Japanese lover is indeed the love of your life - congratulations! And may only happiness follow the two of you! In most traditions, the man asks the woman to marry; this is also the Japanese custom. Here are a few sincere and romantic lines that will help you to ask your lady-love for her hand in marriage.

7. 15 Most Common Break-Up Lines

Japanese Break-Up Lines

Instead of moving towards marriage or a long-term relationship, you find that the spark is not there for you. That is a pity! But even though breaking up is never easy, continuing a bad or unfulfilling relationship would be even harder. Remember to be kind to the person you are going to say goodbye to; respect and sensitivity cost nothing. Here are some phrases to help you break up gently.

  • We need to talk.
    • 私達、話し合った方が良いね。
    • Watashi-tachi, hanashiatta hō ga ii ne.

    This is not really a break-up line, but it is a good conversation opener with a serious tone.

    It’s not you. It’s me.

    • あなたのせいじゃない。私のせい。
    • Anata no sei ja nai. Watashi no sei.

    As long as you mean it, this can be a kind thing to say. It means that there’s nothing wrong with your Japanese lover as a person, but that you need something different from a relationship.

    I’m just not ready for this kind of relationship.

    • まだ付き合うとか考えられないんだ。
    • Mada tsukiau toka kangaerarenai n da.

    Things moved a bit fast and got too intense, too soon? Painful as it is, honesty is often the best way to break up with somebody.

    Let’s just be friends.

    • 友達のままでいましょう。
    • Tomodachi no mama de imashō.

    If the relationship was very intense, and you have sent many ‘i love u’ texts in Japanese, this would not be a good breakup line. Feelings need to calm down before you can be friends, if ever. If the relationship has not really developed yet, a friendship would be possible.

    I think we need a break.

    • 距離を置いたほうがいいと思う。
    • Kyori o oita hō ga ii to omou.

    This is again honest, and to the point. No need to play with someone’s emotions by not letting them know how you feel. However, this could imply that you may fall in love with him/her again after a period of time, so use with discretion.

    You deserve better.

    • 君にはもっといい人がいるよ。
    • Kimi ni wa motto ii hito ga iru yo.

    Yes, he/she probably deserves a better relationship if your own feelings have cooled down.

    We should start seeing other people.

    • お互い、他の人を探すべきだよ。
    • O-tagai, hoka no hito o sagasu beki da yo.

    This is probably the least gentle break-up phrase, so reserve it for a lover that doesn’t get the message!

    I need my space.

    • 一人になりたいんだ。
    • Hitori ni naritai n da.

    When a person is too clingy or demanding, this would be an suitable break-up phrase. It is another good go-to for that lover who doesn’t get the message!

    I think we’re moving too fast.

    • 急ぎすぎたんだと思う。
    • Isogisugita n da to omou.

    Say this if you want to keep the relationship, but need to slow down its progress a bit. It is also good if you feel things are getting too intense for your liking. However, it is not really a break-up line, so be careful not to mislead.

    I need to focus on my career.

    • 仕事に集中したいんだ。
    • Shigoto ni shūchū shitai n da.

    If you feel that you will not be able to give 100% in a relationship due to career demands, this is the phrase to use. It’s also good if you are unwilling to give up your career for a relationship.

    I’m not good enough for you.

    • 自分はあなたにはふさわしくないと思う。
    • Jibun wa anata ni wa fusawashikunai to omou.

    Say this only if you really believe it, or you’ll end up sounding false. Break-ups are usually hard for the receiving party, so don’t insult him/her with an insincere comment.

    I just don’t love you anymore.

    • もう気持ちが冷めてしまったんだ。
    • Mō kimochi ga samete shimatta n da.

    This harsh line is sometimes the best one to use if you are struggling to get through to a stubborn, clingy lover who won’t accept your break up. Use it as a last resort. Then switch your phone off and block their emails!

    We’re just not right for each other.

    • 相性が良くなかったんだよ。
    • Aishō ga yokunakatta n da yo.

    If this is how you truly feel, you need to say it. Be kind, gentle and polite.

    It’s for the best.

    • これでよかったんだよ。
    • Kore de yokatta n da yo.

    This phrase is called for if circumstances are difficult and the relationship is not progressing well. Love should enhance one’s life, not burden it!

    We’ve grown apart.

    • こんなに離れてしまっていたんだ。
    • Kon’na ni hanarete shimatte ita n da.

    Cross-cultural relationships are often long-distance ones, and it is easy to grow apart over time.

  • 8. Will Falling in Love help you Learn Japanese faster?

    Most people will agree that the above statement is a no-brainer - of course it will! Your body will be flooded with feel-good hormones, which are superb motivators for anything. JapanesePod101 is one of the best portals to help help make this a reality, so don’t hesitate to enroll now! Let’s quickly look at the reasons why falling in love will speed up your learning of the Japanese language.

    Three Reasons Why Having a Lover will Help you Learn Japanese Faster!

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    1- Being in a love relationship with your Japanese speaking partner will immerse you in the culture
    JapanesePod101 uses immersive methods and tools to teach you Japanese, but having a relationship with a native speaker will be a very valuable addition to your learning experience! You will gain exposure to their world, realtime and vividly, which will make the language come alive even more for you. The experience is likely to expand your world-view, which should motivate you to learn Japanese even faster.

    2- Having your Japanese romantic partner will mean more opportunity to practice speaking
    Nothing beats continuous practice when learning a new language. Your partner will probably be very willing to assist you in this, as your enhanced Japanese language skills will enhance the relationship. Communication is, after all, one of the most important pillars of a good partnership. Also, you will get to impress your lover with the knowledge gained through your studies - a win/win situation!

    3- A supportive Japanese lover is likely to make a gentle, patient teacher and study aid!
    With his/her heart filled with love and goodwill for you, your Japanese partner is likely to patiently and gently correct your mistakes when you speak. This goes not only for grammar, but also for accent and meaning. With his/her help, you could sound like a native in no time!

    Three Reasons Why JapanesePod101 helps you learn Japanese Even Faster when you’re In Love

    Start with a bonus, and download the ‘How To be a Good Lover Cheat Sheet’ for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

    Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - How to be a Good Lover in Japanese

    1- All the Resources and Materials Will Help Both of You
    Falling in love with a man or woman speaking Japanese is an opportunity for both of you to learn a new language! For this reason, every lesson, transcript, vocabulary list, and resource at JapanesePod101 is translated into both English and Japanese. So, while your partner can help you learn Japanese faster, you can potentially also help him/her learn and master English!

    2- Lessons Are Designed to Help You Understand and Engage with Japanese Culture
    At JapanesePod101, our focus is to help our students learn practical vocabulary and phrases used by everyday people in Japan. This means that, from your very first lesson, you can apply what you learn immediately! So, when your Japanese partner wants to go out to a restaurant, play Pokemon Go, or attend just about any social function, you have the vocabulary and phrases necessary to have a great time!

    3- Access to Special Resources Dedicated to Romantic Japanese Phrases
    You now have access to JapanesePod101’s specially-developed sections and tools to teach you love words, phrases, and cultural insights to help you find and attract your Japanese soul mate. A personal tutor will assist you to master these brilliantly - remember to invite him/her to your wedding!

    How to Say Hello in Japanese: Practical Japanese Greetings

    Greetings are the most important things to learn when learning a new language. Japanese greetings are not only words of greeting, but also reflect the very Japanese culture, much more so than in other languages. Have you heard of the cultural features of Japanese politeness?

    Yes, it’s also embedded in the language. The Japanese language has the formal and informal styles, and the formal style is even divided into three honorific languages with different levels of politeness. So in short, you’ll also learn the Japanese culture by learning how to say hello in Japanese.

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    The Japanese language also has particular greetings only used for particular occasions, such as on the phone, at work places, in the service sector at restaurants and shops, etc. We use appropriate words depending on the occasion and who we’re speaking to.

    Learning the cultural aspects makes it easier to understand and learn the language faster.

    Let’s get started with learning Japanese greetings and the specifics of greeting people in Japanese here and on JapanesePod101.com!

    1. Formal Japanese Greetings

    Formal Japanese greetings are very convenient to use because these are said in a polite manner and
    you can use them for most occasions, and to everyone. Here are some Japanese formal greetings.

    1-Kon’nichiwa — こんにちは — (Hello) [formall and semi-formal]

    Kon’nichiwa is the most common and classic word for saying hello in Japanese. The term kon’nichi literally means “today” traditionally, and wa stands for “is,” or it indicates the main subject of a sentence. Back in time, when people met someone, they would start a conversation by saying konnichi wa ii hi desu ne (“Today is a nice day”) or kon’nichi wa ikaga desu ka (“How is today?”). Over time, the phrase became shorter and now Kon’nichiwa is the first word to greet nowadays.

    Kon’nichiwa is used in both formal and semi-informal occasions. It would sound a little awkward to say konnichiwa to your very close friends. Also keep in mind that it’s usually only used during the day time, between morning and evening.

    Example:

    • Kon’nichiwa, o-genki desu ka.
    • こんにちは、お元気ですか。
    • Hello, how are you?

    2- Hajimemashite — はじめまして— (Nice to meet you) [formal]

    Hajimemashite is used when you meet someone for the first time to say, “Nice to meet you” in Japanese. This greeting term derives from a polite conjugation of the verb 始める (hajimeru), which literally means “to begin” or “to start.” In greeting, Hajimemashite means to start knowing someone new or to start a new relationship with someone. Essentially, it’s a good way to introduce yourself in Japanese.

    This term is formal and can be used for any occasion. For a very official occasion, there’s another way to say “Nice to meet you,” more politely and with respect: お会いできて光栄です。(O-ai dekite kōei desu.)

    Example:

    • Hajimemashite, watashi wa Naomi desu.
    • はじめまして、私はなおみです。
    • Nice to meet you, I am Naomi.

    Japanese Greetings

    3- Ohayō gozaimasu — おはようございます — “Good morning” [formal]

    Ohayō gozaimasu is the morning greeting to say “good morning” in Japanese. Ohayō comes from the word はやい (hayai) which means “early” and the O in front makes the following word polite. Gozaimasu is the very polite word used to end a sentence, meaning “it is” or “there is/are.”

    This is used in both formal and semi-informal occasions in the morning before noon.

    Example:

    • Ohayō gozaimasu. O-genki desu ka.
    • おはようございます。お元気ですか。
    • Good morning. How are you?

    4- Konbanwa — こんばんは — (Good evening) [formal]

    Konbanwa literally means “This evening is.” Like Kon’nichiwa, back in time, when people met someone in the evening, they would begin a conversation by saying Konbanwa ii yoru desu ne (“This evening is a good night”). This shortened to Konbanwa which became the normal greeting word.

    This greeting is formal and used in any occasion that takes place in the evening and at night.

    Example:

    • Konban-wa. Saumi desu ne.
    • こんばんは。寒いですね。
    • Good evening. It is cold, isn’t it?

    5- O-genki desu ka. — お元気ですか。— (How are you?) [formal]

    This is how to say “how are you” in Japanese and it’s a very useful phrase to start a conversation with. The O is the polite emphasizing word, genki means “in good shape,” and desu ka is the polite word to put at the end of a question. It means, “Are you in good shape?”

    This is a formal and semi-formal greeting and can be used any time after meeting someone new, whether it be colleagues, neighbours, acquaintances, etc.

    Example:

    • A: O-genki desu ka.
    • B: Hai, genki desu.
    • A: お元気ですか。
    • B: はい、元気です。
    • A: How are you (are you in good shape)?
    • B: Yes, I’m good.

    6- O-hisashiburi desu. — お久しぶりです。— (Long time no see) [formal]

    O-hisashiburi desu is a good phrase to say when you meet someone you haven’t seen in quite a while. Hisashiburi means “after a while” and O makes it polite. Desu is the word used to end a polite sentence.

    This greeting is used in both formal and semi-informal settings.

    Example:

    • O-hisashiburi desu. O-genki desu ka.
    • お久しぶりです。お元気ですか。
    • Long time no see. How are you?

    7- Sayōnara — さようなら — (Good bye) [formal]

    Sayōnara is probably one of the most famous Japanese greeting words as it’s sometimes used even in Hollywood movies to say “goodbye.” Sayōnara is the short version of Sayō naraba which means, “If that’s the way it is.” Back in time, when people departed from another person, they summed up conversations by saying Sayō naraba and and then finished talking and left. It became the phrase for “goodbye.”

    Sayōnara is a formal but relatively more semi-formal phrase. If you’re looking for a more casual way of saying goodbye to close friends, you can say just bai bai (“bye bye”), which is the Japanese spelling for the English word.

    Example:

    • Sayōnara. O-ki o tsukete.
    • さようなら。お気をつけて。
    • Good bye. Please take care.

    8- Mata aimashō — また会いましょう — (See you again) [formal]

    Mata aimashō literally translates as follows: mata = “again” and aimashō = ”let’s meet.”

    This phrase is used in formal and semi-formal occasions. It’s the useful Japanese greeting word that’s used after saying goodbye to someone, whether you’ll actually meet this person again in the future or not. It gives off the good impression that you’re willing to meet this person again.

    Example:

    • Sayōnara. Mata aimashō.
    • さようなら。また会いましょう。
    • Good bye. See you again.

    Boy Saying Hello

    2. Informal Japanese Greetings

    Wondering how to say “hello” in Japanese casually? When you greet your family, friends, or someone else you’re close to, an informal style of greeting is better suited! Saying hello in informal Japanese makes it sound more friendly, familiar, and amiable. However, please note that it’s considered very rude to use these greetings when addressing elderly people or someone well-respected, especially in formal settings.

    1- Ohayō — おはよう— (Good morning) [informal]

    This is a casual version of Ohayō gozaimasu and is used to say good morning in Japanese.

    Ohayō is an informal phrase used to greet your family, close friends, girlfriend/boyfriend, and so on.

    Example:

    • Ohayō. Mada nemui.
    • おはよう。まだ眠い。
    • Good morning. I’m still sleepy.

    2- Genki? — 元気?— (How are you?) [informal]

    Genki? is just the shortened phrase for O-genki desu ka, which makes it a very casual way to say “how are you?” in Japanese. This is a very handy word to greet someone close to you.

    This greeting is used in informal settings and is suitable to use for casual and quick interactions with your close friends.

    Example:

    • Genki? Kawari nai?
    • 元気?変わりない?
    • How are you? Are you all good?

    3- Saikin dō? — 最近どう?— (What’s up? / How is it going recently?) [informal]

    Saikin dō? is a very casual phrase to say “What’s up?” in Japanese. Saikin means “recently” and translates to “how?”

    This term is used in informal and very casual occasions to greet someone very close to you. If you want to use it in a more formal setting, you just add desu ka at the end: Saikin dō desu ka.

    Example:

    • Saikin dō? Kanojo to junchō?
    • 最近どう?彼女と順調?
    • What’s up. Are you doing well with your girlfriend?

    4- Hisashiburi — 久しぶり — (It’s been a while!) [informal]

    As you can see, Hisashiburi is just the shorter version of O-hisashiburi desu, lacking the words of O and desu, which make the phrase polite.

    Hisashiburi is an informal greeting word and is a very common way to say “hello” when you see someone again after it’s been a while. Especially for old friends and someone close to you.

    Example:

    • Hisashiburi! Aitakatta!
    • 久しぶり!会いたかった!
    • It’s been a while! I wanted to see you!

    Say Hello On The Phone

    3.How to Say Hello on the Phone in Japanese

    If you’re wondering how to say hello in Japanese when answering the phone, keep reading. When you say “hello” in Japanese on the phone, you shouldn’t jump straight to Kon’nichiwa. Before saying Kon’nichiwa, you should say the following phrase.

    Moshi moshi — もしもし— (Hello)

    This phrase is how to say “hello” on the phone in Japanese. This comes from the Japanese verb mōsu which means “to say” in a humble and polite way.

    Moshi moshi is usually only used on the phone, whether you’re calling or answering the phone.

    Example:

    • Moshi moshi, watashi wa Tanaka desu. Suzuki-san wa imasu ka.
    • もしもし、私は田中です。鈴木さんはいますか。
    • Hello? I am Tanaka. Is Mr. Suzuki there?

    Smart Phone Message

    4. Japanese Greetings for Various Occasions (Very Japanese Expressions)

    Here are the very Japanese greetings to say hello for particular occasions. These greatly reflect the Japanese culture.

    1- Otsukare-sama desu — お疲れ様です— (Well done / see you, bye / other) [formal]

    Otsukare-sama desu actually has some different meanings, all of which are handy to use. As mentioned above, O and desu make the phrase polite. Tsukare is literally translated as “tiredness” and sama is the most respectful way to refer to someone or something. The Japanese use this expression when they want to show their appreciation for the other person’s efforts and works with respect.

    Otsukare-sama desu is a formal term and is a very useful phrase to use when it comes to work-related occasions. It can be used to say “well done” or “good job” to praise or to be thankful for someone who finished something. You can also use it to say “you must be tired” to show that you care for someone and understand how they feel. Or it can simply be used as a greeting at an office when you arrive and leave, meet colleagues, and pass each other in the office. Nowadays, Otsukare-sama desu is one of the most common ways to say “hello” in Japanese in the work setting, especially among colleagues.

    Examples:

    • Otsukare-sama desu. Purezen wa totemo yokatta desu.
      • お疲れ様です。プレゼンはとても良かったです。
      • Well done. The presentation was very good.
    • Otsukare-sama desu. Mata ashita.
      • お疲れ様です。また明日。
      • See you tomorrow.

    2- Irasshaimase — いらっしゃいませ — (Welcome) [formal]

    You may not have the opportunity to use Irasshaimase yourself, but you’ll definitely hear this many times whenever you go to the store or a restaurant in Japan. This phrase comes from the honorific form of the Japanese verb irrassharu which means “to come.” Japanese service sectors are very keen on treating customers and guests with great politeness and respect.

    Irasshaimase is formal and is usually only used in stores or restaurants to greet and welcome customers and guests. This is how to say “hello” in Japanese in the service sector.

    Example:

    • Irasshaimase. Nanmei-sama desu ka.
    • いらっしゃいませ。何名様ですか。
    • Welcome. How many are you? (at a restaurant)

    How to Learn Japanese Greetings Easily and Fast

    As we’ve seen, there are so many variations of how to say “hello” in Japanese, and all of these Japanese greetings reflect Japanese culture.

    The best thing that you can do to learn the Japanese language easier and faster is to listen carefully when Japanese greetings are used, when and where, and who greets whom. You can also grasp the tips we’ve provided for you here and use them in your actual practice.

    Whether you’re traveling to Japan or communicating with Japanese people online, these important and practical Japanese greeting vocabulary will make it easier for you to make new friends!

    We hope you find this article educational and that you enjoy learning Japanese greetings! Now go out and practice how to introduce yourself in Japanese!

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    How Japanesepod101 Can Help You Learn More Japanese

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    We also have many videos you can enjoy learning the Japanese language with and listening to actual Japanese pronunciation. If you’re keen on how to read and write Japanese, which consists of three alphabets (hiragana, katakana, and kanji), you can learn more about basic Japanese, Daily Japanese Conversations, Japanese Phrases for Beginners, Japanese gestures, and much more. Please visit our website for a fun learning experience!

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    Blood Type Personality in Japan: What It Says about You

    If you have ever visited Japan or stayed in Japan for quite some time, you have probably noticed that a lot of Japanese people ask “what is your blood type?”. This question is one of the most common questions that Japanese people ask. In Japan, it is perfectly fine to ask about a person’s blood type, especially if you want to get to know someone very well instantly, in particular, on a blind date. The reason is that Japanese people believe that each blood type has its own distinct personality and it is the quickest way to determine a person’s temperament and even compatibility with others. You may feel confused as to why people ask about blood types in Japan, but don’t worry. If you are asked this by a Japanese, that means that the person wants to get to know you better.

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    So who developed this concept? The blood type personality theory was developed by a Japanese person named Masahiko Nomi who graduated from the University of Tokyo. He began his first career as a journalist and his first book “Understanding Affinity by Blood Type” became a bestseller in the 1970s. The idea then spread outward and it is popular in some Asian countries, such as South Korea and Taiwan. You are probably wondering, ‘so what’s this all about?’, so let’s have a look at the description of each blood type to see if it matches with your personality. Then let’s look at the compatibility of blood types.

    Blood Type A

    1. Blood Type A

    According to the Japanese blood type personality chart, it is said that people with blood type A are known to be diplomatic and friendly, however due to their sensitive natures, they prefer staying alone to being in a group; therefore they may feel uncomfortable in crowded areas or parties. Also, they are fragile-hearted and easily get hurt, therefore it takes time for them to open up to people. Others may take this negatively and view them as snobs, since people with blood type A are good at hiding their feelings and do not express themselves a lot compared to other blood types such as blood type B or O. If you want to be friends with a person with Blood Type A, the best way is to be patient and get to know them slowly. Once you get to know them you will find that they are very friendly and down to earth! Also, they are punctual and always expect the best results in everything they do, therefore others seem them as perfectionists. When people describe blood type A, you will often hear:

    A型は、几帳面で細かいそうです。
    Aがたは、きちょうめんでこまかいそうです。
    A-gata wa, kichōmen de komakai sō desu.
    “People with type A blood are earnest and sensitive.”

    Blood Type A Personality in Japanese

    • 几帳面 (きちょうめん, kichōmen) = “methodical”
    • 慎重 (しんちょう, shinchō) = “cautious”
    • こだわりが強い (こだわりがつよい, kodawari ga tsuyoi) = “stubborn”
    • 細かい (こまかい, komakai) = “detailed”

    Blood Type Compatibility for A

    • The best blood type compatibility is O, followed by A.
    • The worst blood type compatibility is B.

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    Blood Type B

    2. Blood Type B

    According to the Japanese blood type personality chart, it is said that B types are the most outgoing compared to other blood types. Also they are independent and are passionate about the things that they are interested in. Type Bs always seek stimulation and they are not afraid of speaking their minds. Therefore, they can be seen as self-centered because they express their opinion, regardless of what the other person might feel.

    In Japan, men with blood type B have a negative reputation for being playboys and for not suitable for a stable relationship. But don’t worry, although blood type B has a negative reputation for being the blood type of playboys, there are many positive traits too. They are curious, honest and enjoy attention, therefore people with blood type B can make friends easily, like a social butterfly! When people describe blood type B, you will often hear:

    B型は、創造的で楽観的なようです。
    Bがたは、そうぞうてきでらっかんてきなようです。
    B-gata wa, sōzōteki de rakkanteki na yō desu.
    “People with blood type B are creative and optimistic.”

    Blood Type B Personality in Japanese

    • 創造的 (そうぞうてき, sōzōteki) “creative”
    • 楽観的 (らっかんてき, rakkanteki) “optimistic”
    • 利己的 (りこてき, rikoteki) “selfish”
    • 無責任 (むせきにん, musekinin) “irresponsible”

    Blood Type Compatibility for B

    • The best blood type compatibility is AB, followed by O.
    • The worst blood type compatibility is A.

    Blood Type O

    3. Blood Type O

    They are known to be energetic, practical and friendly. Also blood type O is labeled as a natural leader. They are experts at expressing their opinions in a constructive way, making sure that everyone listens to them, while still being friendly to everyone. They know how to control their emotions very well, giving others a great impression of being stable and under control. Research indicates that blood type O is the most prefered blood type by CEOs and coworkers because of the traits mentioned above. However, although they might have a reputation of being strong outside, they are very sensitive inside. People with blood type O have some difficulties expressing their feelings due to a fear of rejection and also they tend to burn themselves out trying to get things done perfectly. The best way to describe type Os in Japanese is:

    O型の人は情熱的だと言われています。
    Oがたのひとはじょうねつてきだといわれています。
    Ō-gata no hito wa jōnetsuteki da to iwarete imasu.
    “It’s said that people with type O blood are passionate.”

    Blood Type O Personality in Japanese

    • おおらか(おおらか, ōraka) = “easygoing”
    • 社交的 (しゃこうてき, shakōteki) = “outgoing”
    • 高慢 (こうまん, kōman) = “arrogant”
    • 嫉妬深い (しっとぶかい, shittobukai) = “jealous”

    Blood Type Compatibility for O

    • The best blood type compatibility is A, followed by B.
    • The worst blood type compatibility is AB.

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    Blood Type AB

    4. Blood Type AB

    They are the most interesting type compared to the others because this blood type is labeled as either genius or psycho. They are unpredictable because they often jump around from one activity to the next and their temperament is mixture of blood type A and B, therefore their personalities change quickly depending on their mood and the situation, and sometimes they don’t have control over it. Also type ABs are rational thinkers, therefore they cannot stand it when they find some situations to be irrational. As a result, they may have some difficulties interacting with people, giving others the wrong impression of being moody or two-faced. One of the ways to describe blood type ABs is:

    日本でAB型の人は少ないです。
    にほんでABがたのひとはすくないです。
    Nihon de ĒBī-gata no hito wa sukunai desu.
    “We don’t have many people with the AB blood type in Japan.”

    Blood Type AB Personality in Japanese

    • 合理的 (ごうりてき, gōriteki) = “rational”
    • 才能がある (さいのうがある, sainō ga aru) = “to be talented”
    • 批判的 (ひはんてき, hihanteki) = “critical”
    • 風変わり (ふうがわり, fūgawari) = “eccentric”

    Blood Type Compatibility for AB

    • The best blood type compatibility is AB, followed by B.
    • The worst blood type compatibility is O.

    Now, let’s have a look at few useful Japanese sentences which you can use right away.

    Talking about Blood Type

    5. Talking about Your Blood Type in Japanese

    “What’s your blood type?”

    • Informal: (あなたの)血液型は何型? ((あなたの)けつえきがたはなにがた? Anata no ketsueki-gata wa nani-gata?)
    • Formal: (あなたの)血液型は何型ですか。 ((あなたの)けつえきがたはなにがたですか。 Anata no ketsueki-gata wa nani-gata desu ka.)

    “My blood type is…”:

    • Informal: 私の血液型は、…。 (わたしのけつえきがたは、…。 Watashi no ketsueki-gata wa, … )
    • Formal: 私の血液型は、…です。 (わたしのけつえきがたは、…です。 Watashi no ketsueki-gata wa, … desu.)

    Example:

    A: なおこの血液型は何型?
    A: (なおこのけつえきがたはなにがた? Naoko no ketsueki-gata wa nani-gata?)
    A: “What’s Naoko’s blood type?”

    B: なおこの血液型は、O型。
    B: (なおこのけつえきがたは、Oがた。, Naoko no ketsueki-gata wa, O-gata.)
    B: “Naoko’s blood type is O.”

    Tokyo

    6. How JapanesePod101 Can Help You Learn more Japanese

    You’ve learned some secret Japanese blood type personalities with useful Japanese phrases to describe your blood type personality.

    To sum up, we had a look at each blood type and its personality and temperament, and blood type compatibility for each type. Do you think that they are true? Also, do you know how to describe your personality in Japanese? JapanesePod101 has prepared a list of useful Japanese adjectives to describe your personality for you to study. It is available online, so feel free to download it for free.

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    So next time you run into a Japanese person and want to understand their personality quickly, why not ask a simple question, like:

    血液型は何型ですか。
    ketsueki-gata wa nani-gata desu ka.
    “What is your blood type?”

    JapanesePod101 has many vocabulary lists available on our website for you to download for free. Why don’t you prepare a self-introduction, including your blood type and your personality in Japanese? Click “10 Lines You Need for Introducing Yourself” to learn practical phrases in Japanese.

    Thank you and we hope that you enjoy learning Japanese!