Traveling Will Be More Fun If You Know These! Japanese Phrase Edition 【Kyoto Dialect Edition】

Any journey would be more fun if you understood the language spoken in the place you are visiting, correct? This article will feature “Kyo-kotoba” (Kyoto dialect). Unlike the other dialects in the Kansai region, Kyoto’s dialect has a distinctive elegant tone to it.


Oideyasu: Means “welcome”

This is a phrase that is used to welcome someone. You will often hear it said when you enter a shop or some establishment on the streets of Kyoto. They have another phrase that means the same thing - “okoshiyasu”, but that one has a more polite nuance. If you visit a restaurant, ryokan (Japanese-style inn) and other spots where you made a reservation, this will be what they would say to greet and welcome you.


Ookini: Means "thank you"

The term “ookini” is used not only in Kyoto, but in other parts of Kansai region, too. It is mainly uttered to convey feelings of gratitude, but it was originally used as a word to express a degree and holds the same meaning as “totemo” (“extremely”) or “taihen” (“very”). It is used by omitting the term “arigatou” in the phrase “ookini, arigatou” (which means “thank you very much”).


Kan-nin-e: Means "sorry"

In Japanese, there is this term “kannin” that means “to suppress anger and forgive people’s mistakes”. In Kyoto, they add “~e” at the end of the term “kannin” and use the phrase to mean “please forgive”. “E” is the unique way that people in Kyoto end their words or sentences. Another example of the use of “e” is in the phrase “akan-e”, which is said to caution someone. Akan-e comes from the standard “dame da yo” (“don’t do it”).


Ohayousan: Means "good morning"

This is a phrase that is used for greeting someone in the morning. People in Kyoto do not use this phrase all that much anymore these days, but if you put “~dosu”, which is another unique ending in Kyoto dialect, and say “ohayousan dosu”, then it will give a polite impression. Kyoto and many other areas in Kansai put “~san” at the end of their words or sentences, so that instead of saying “gochisousama” (“thank you for the meal”) at the end of a meal, they would say “gochisousan”. Meanwhile, the phrase “otsukaresama” that is used to thank people for their work becomes “otsukaresan” in the region.


Sainara: Means "good-bye"

Here are some of the ways people in Kyoto say good-bye. They would attach “hona”, which means “well then”, and say “hona, sainara”. Now if they want to say “ja, mata ne” (“see you later”), they would use the phrase “hona, mata”.

(~Shite) Okureyasu

(~shite) okureyasu: Means “please (do)”

This phrase is used when you want something done. When people in Kyoto want to say “matcha o kudasai” (“please give me some matcha tea”), they would say “matcha okureyasu”, while if they want to say “tanoshinde kudasai” (please enjoy yourself), then they would say “tanoshinde okureyasu”. They also use “kannin shite okureyasu” (please let it go) as another version of “kan-nin-e” that was discussed earlier.

The Kyoto dialect is a profound language that expresses the degree of feelings through the choice of words, and conveys messages with an unspoken meaning or connotation. The chances of hearing Kyoto dialect may already be declining along with the times, but note that there are still people who speak this dialect everyday, such as the elderly and maiko (apprentice geisha).

*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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