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[Video]Japanese Phrases to Remember When Sightseeing

English is spoken more commonly in Japan than before, but it is still limited. Here are some Japanese phrases you can use when visiting tourist sites so you don't find yourself in a bind.

At Tourist Sites

【Common phrases】

(1) You may feel like taking a picture when you see something beautiful. But photography is prohibited in some places at temples and museums. Use the following phrase to confirm whether you can take a photograph.

[en]May I take a photograph?
[jp] 写真を撮ってもいいですか? (shashin o tottemo ii desu ka?)


(2) Use the following phrase to ask someone to take your photograph. It will be clear if you can say it while handing over your camera.

[en]Can you take my photograph?
[jp] 写真を撮ってもらえますか? (shashin o totte morae masu ka?)



【Convenient phrases you can use with different words】

(1) This is a phrase to use to ask prices at a ticket booth or souvenir shop. If you're asking about something that is a little far away, insert "are" (that over there; pronounced "ah-re") in the ○○, and if it is something close by, insert "kore" (this), and ask while pointing to the item.

[en]How much is ○○?
[jp] ○○はいくらですか? (○○ wa ikura desu ka?)

▼Vocabulary
[en] ticket [jp] チケット (chiketto)
[en] entrance fee [jp] 入場料 (nyujouryou)
[en] that over there [jp] あれ (are)
[en] this [jp] これ (kore)


(2) When you have a complex question to ask, it would be nice to be able to ask in your native tongue. Ask whether there is anyone speaking your language using the following phrase.

[en]Is there anyone who speaks ○○?
[jp] ○○を話せる人はいますか? (○○ o hanaseru hito wa imasu ka?)

▼Vocabulary
[en] English [jp] 英語 (eigo)
[en] Chinese [jp] 中国語 (chuugokugo)
[en] Korean [jp] 韓国語 (kankokugo)
[en] Thai [jp] タイ語 (taigo)
[en] French [jp] フランス語 (furansugo)
[en] Spanish [jp] スペイン語 (supeingo)

When Traveling

【Convenient phrases you can use with different words】

(1) Use this phrase to communicate the mode of transport you'd like to use.

[en]I'd like to take a ○○.
[jp] ○○に乗りたいです。 (○○ ni noritai desu.)

▼Vocabulary
[en] bus [jp] バス (basu)
[en] taxi [jp] タクシー (takushii)
[en] train [jp] 電車 (densha)


【Convenient phrases you can use with different words】

(2) Use the following Phrase A to communicate where you want to go to, and Phrase B to ask where the place you want to go to is.

[en] I want to go to ○○.
[jp] A:○○に行きたいです。 (○○ ni ikitai desu.)

[en]Where is ○○?
[jp] B:○○はどこですか? (○○ wa doko desu ka?)

▼Vocabulary
[en] post office [jp] 郵便局 (yuubinkyoku)
[en] ATM [jp] ATM (eiteiemu)
[en] hotel [jp] ホテル (hoteru)
[en] restaurant [jp] レストラン (resutoran)
[en] tourism information desk [jp] 観光案内所 (kankou-annaijo)
[en] bathroom [jp] トイレ (toire)
[en] convenience store [jp] コンビニ (konbini)
[en] station [jp] 駅 (eki)
[en] bus stop [jp] バス停 (basutei)
[en] place for boarding vehicles [jp] 乗り場 (noriba)

When You Have a Problem

【Convenient phrases you can use with different words】

(1) You'll want to go to a drugstore or clinic when you have a sudden headache or stomachache. Communicate your symptoms using the following phrase.

[en]○○ hurts.
[jp] ○○が痛いです。 (○○ ga itai desu.)

▼Vocabulary
[en] head [jp] 頭 (atama)
[en] stomach [jp] お腹 (onaka)
[en] hand [jp] 手 (te)
[en] foot  [jp] 足 (ashi)
[en] tooth [jp] 歯 (ha)


(2) Use the following when you've been the victim of theft, or have lost something. If you are in a facility, contact a staff person, and if you are outside, go to a police box.

[en]I lost ○○.
[jp] ○○がなくなってしまいました。 (○○ ga nakunatte shimai mashita.)

▼Vocabulary
[en] luggage [jp] 荷物 (nimotsu)
[en] money [jp] お金 (okane)
[en] wallet [jp] 財布 (saifu)
[en] passport [jp] パスポート (pasupooto)
[en] cell phone [jp] 携帯電話(keitaidenwa)
[en] smartphone [jp] スマートフォン (sumaato-fon)
[en] computer [jp] パソコン (pasokon)
[en] key [jp] 鍵 (kagi)
[en] ticket [jp] きっぷ (kippu)


(3) Go to a hospital or police box when issues such as the above arise. Use the following phrase to ask directions.

[en]Where is ○○?
[jp] ○○はどこですか? (○○ wa doko desu ka?)

▼Vocabulary
[en] clinic [jp] 病院 (byouin)
[en] drugstore [jp] ドラッグストア (doraggu-sutoa)
[en] police box [jp] 交番 (kouban)

Communicating Emotions

【Convenient phrases you can use with different words】

(1) You may want to communicate your emotions when you see something wonderful or eat something tasty. In such cases, use this phrase. If you want to add emphasis, just add "totemo" (very) in front of the ○○.

[en] It's ○○!
[jp] ○○ですね! (○○ desu ne!)

▼Vocabulary
[en] pretty [jp] きれい (kirei)
[en] beautiful [jp] 美しい (utsukushii)
[en] amazing [jp] すごい (sugoi)
[en] large [jp] 大きい (ookii)
[en] small [jp] 小さい (chiisai)
[en] wonderful [jp] 素晴らしい (subarashii)
[en] delicious [jp] おいしい (oishii)
[en] cute [jp] かわいい (kawaii)

Just look back at this article when you have a problem! We hope you'll make use of it to make your trip even more enjoyable.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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