Basic Japanese Words and Phrases

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Learning a new language is quite challenging, but there are ways to make it easier. Initially, start with the basics, don’t skip this level. There are numerous Japanese words that you should study and memorize first to begin a quick conversation. To lessen the struggle in memorization, here are some tips: read out loud, write the words and associate new words with words that sound similar in your native language.

If your planning to travel, to work or to live in Japan, you have to consider the lists of Japanese words below, which include romaji and pronunciation.

Greetings in Japanese

A greeting is essential because it established a connection to other people. Japanese greet each other by bowing instead of shaking hands. 

Let’s take for example the right way to say “hello” in Japanese.

Good Afternoon

hello manこんにちは。 Konnichiwa

Pronunciation: Kohn-nee-chee-wah

  • This can also be used as saying hello at any time of the day.

Hello Over the Phone

もしもし Moshi Moshi
Pronunciation: Moshi Moshi as mosh mosh

  • It’s a greeting used over the phone, more appropriate than Konnichiwa.
    Remember, do not use this to greet a person.

Informal Greeting

おっす Ossu
Pronunciation: ohss

  • Ossu is equivalent to say “hey, man!” or “hey, dude!” in English.

Good Morning

おはよう ohayō gozaimasu
Pronunciation: oh-hah-yoh goh-za-ee-muss

  • You can use Konnichiwa but ohayō gozaimasu is more standard.
    Shorten way to say it, ohayō

Good Evening

こんばんは konbanwa
Pronunciation: kohnbahn-wah

  • Standard greeting during the evening.

Good night

Good night
おやすみなさい oyasumi nasai
Pronunciation: oh-yah-soo-mee nah-sigh

  • Usually used to say goodbye at night instead of saying Konnichiwa.

Question Words in Japanese

Asking questions is very important in every conversation. Let’s learn the specific question words in Japanese.

  • What? Question
    何?Nani?
    Pronunciation: Nah-nee?
  • Where?
    どこ? Doko?
    Pronunciation: Doh-koh?
  • Who?
    誰?Dare?
    Pronunciation: Dah-reh?
  • When?
    いつ? Itsu?
    Pronunciation: Eet-soo?
  • Which?
    どれ? Dore?
    Pronunciation: Doh-reh?
  • Why?
    どうして Dōshite
    Pronunciation: DOHH-sh’teh?
  • Why? (informal)
    なんで? Nande
    Pronunciation: NAHN-deh?
  • How?
    どうやって? Dōyatte
    Pronunciation: DOHH yahtteh?
  • How much?
    いくら? Ikura?
    Pronunciation: Ee-koo-rah?
  • What type of?
    どんな? Donna?
    Pronunciation: DOHN-nah?

The common way of asking questions in Japanese.

  • What’s wrong?

どうしたんですか。
Doushitan desu ka?

  • How’s the weather?

天気はどうですか。
Tenki wa dou desu ka?

  • Are you hungry?

お腹が空いていますか。
Onaka ga aite imasu ka?

  • What is this?

これは何ですか。
Kore wa nan desu ka?

  • How do you call/say this in Japanese?

日本語でこれは何と言うんですか。
Nihongo de kore wa nanto iun desu ka?

  • Whose is this?

これは誰のですか。
Kore wa dare no desu ka?

  • Who is that?

あの人は誰ですか。
Ano hito wa dare desu ka?

  • How much is this?

これはいくらですか。
Kore wa ikura desu ka?

  • What do you do in your free time?

暇の時に何するんですか?
Hima no toki ni, nani surun desu ka?

Say “Thank You” in Japanese 

Thank you very much. (formal)Thank you man

どうもありがとうございます。Dōmo arigatō gozaimasu.
Pronunciation: DOHH-moh ah-REE-gah-tohh gohzahymahs

Thank you (less formal)

ありがとうございます。Arigatō gozaimasu.
Pronunciation: Ah-REE-gah-tohh goh-zahy-mahs

Thank you (normal)

ありがとう。 Arigatō
Pronunciation: Ah-REE-gah-tohh

Thanks (informal)

どうも。Dōmo.
Pronunciation: DOHH-moh

Refer to People in Japanese

  • male

おとこ、男 otoko

  • man
    おとこのひと、男の人 (otokonohito)
  • boy
    おとこのこ、男の子 otokonokogirl and boy
  • female
    おんな、女 onna
  • woman
    おんなのひと、女の人  onnanohito
  • girl
    おんなのこ、女の子 onnanoko
  • baby
    あかちゃん、赤ちゃん  akachan
  • I, myself

わたし、私 watashi

  • I, myself (used for males)

ぼく、僕  boku

  • I, myself (used for males [informal])

おれ、俺 ore, 

  • I, myself (used for females [softer sounding])
    あたし、私  atashi, 

Family Members in Japanese

  • family

かぞく、家族 kazoku

  • parents

りょうしん、両親 ryoushin

  • children, child
    こども、子供  kodomofamily
  • father
    ちち、父 (chichi) “otou-san”
  • mother
    はは、母 –  (haha) “okaa-san”
  • wife
    つま、妻 –  tsuma
  • husband
    おっと、夫 –  otto
  • older brother
    あに、兄 –  (ani) (onī-san)
  • older sister
    あね、姉 – (ane) (onē-san)
  • younger brother
    おとうと、弟  otōto
  • younger sister
    いもうと、妹 –  imōto
  • brothers
    きょうだい、兄弟 siblings kyōdai
  • sisters
    しまい、姉妹  shimai
  • grandfather
    そふ、祖父 –  (sofu) (ojii-san)
  • grandmother
    そぼ、祖母 –  (sobo) (obaa-san)
  • grandchild
    まご、孫 – (mago)
  • uncle
    おじ、伯父、叔父 –  (oji) (oji-san)
  • aunt
    おば、伯母、叔母 –  (oba) (oba-san)
  • cousin
    いとこ、従兄弟、従姉妹、従兄、従弟、従姉、従妹  (itoko)
  • niece
    めい、姪 mei
  • nephew
    おい、甥  oi

Days of the Week in Japanese

Sunday

にちようび、日曜日  nichi-yōbi

Monday
げつようび、月曜日  getsu-yōbiDays of the week

Tuesday
かようび、火曜日  ka-yōbi

Wednesday
すいようび、水曜日  sui-yōbi

Thursday
もくようび、木曜日  moku-yōbi

Friday
きんようび、金曜日  kin-yōbi

Saturday
どようび、土曜日  do-yōbi

Months in Japanese

  • January

ichi-gatsu 一月

  • February

ni-gatsu 二月

  • March

san-gatsu 三月

  • April

shi-gatsu 四月

  • May

go-gatsu 五月

  • June

roku-gatsu 六月

  • July

shichi-gatsu 七月

  • August

hachi-gatsu 八月

  • September

ku-gatsu 九月

  • October

juu-gatsu 十月

  • November

juuichi-gatsu 十一月

  • December

juuni-gatsu 十二月

 

The Four Seasons in Japanese

  • Spring

haru

  • SummerFour Seasons

natsu

  • Autumn

aki

  • Winter

fuyu

Parts of the Body in Japanese

  • foot, leg

あし、足、脚  ashi

  • heel
    かかと、踵  kakato
  • chin
    すね、脛   sune
  • knee
    ひざ、膝  hiza
  • thigh
    もも、腿 momo
  • head
    あたま、頭 atamaBody parts
  • face
    かお、顔  kao
  • mouth
    くち、口  kuchi
  • lips
    くちびる、唇 kuchibiru
  • tooth
    は、歯 – (ha)
  • nose
    はな、鼻 –  (hana)
  • eye
    め、目 – (me)
  • moustache, beard
    ひげ、髭、鬚、髯 –  (hige)
  • hair
    かみ、髪 –  (kami)
  • ear
    みみ、耳 –  (mimi)
  • stomach
    い、胃 –  (i)
  • arm
    うで、腕 –  (ude)
  • elbow
    ひじ、肘 –  (hiji)
  • shoulder
    かた、肩 –  (kata)
  • nail
    つめ、爪 –  (tsume)
  • hand
    て、手 –  (te)
  • wrist
    てくび、手首 –  (tekubi)
  • palm of hand
    てのひら、掌、手の平 –  (te-no-hira)
  • finger, toe
    ゆび、指 –  (yubi)
  • buttocks
    しり、尻 –  (shiri)
  • abdomen
    おなか、お腹 (はら、腹) –  (o-naka)
  • liver
    かんぞう、肝臓 –  (kanzō)
  • liver
    きも、肝 –  (kimo)
  • muscle
    きんにく、筋肉 –  (kin’niku)
  • neck
    くび、首 –  (kubi)
  • heart [as in feelings]
    こころ、心 –   (kokoro)
  • waist, hip
    こし、腰 –  (koshi)
  • heart
    しんぞう、心臓 – (shinzō)
  • back
    せなか、背中 –  (senaka)
  • blood
    ち、血 –  (chi)
  • meat
    にく、肉 –  (niku)
  • skin
    はだ、肌、膚 –  (hada)
  • skin
    ひふ、皮膚 –  (hifu)
  • bone
    ほね、骨 –  (hone)
  • chest
    むね、胸 –  (mune)
  • cold [illness]
    かぜ、風邪 –  (kaze)
  • diarrhea
    げり、下痢 –  (geri)
  • illness
    びょうき、病気 –  (byōki)

Different Types of Feelings in Japanese

Tired 

疲れる (TsukareRu)

Sick

病人 (Byounin)

Cry

泣く (Naku)

Sad

悲しい (KanashiI) emoticons

Hot

熱い (Atsui)

Hungry

空腹である (KuufukuDearu)

Cold

冷たい (TsumetaI)

Afraid

恐れる (OsoreRu)

Thirsty

喉が乾く (NodoGaKawaku)

Sleepy

眠い (Nemui)

Hunger

空腹 (Kuufuku)

Weak

弱い (Yowai)

Strong

強い (Tsuyoi)

Thirst

渇き (Kawaki)

Fear

恐怖 (Kyoufu)

Pain

痛み (Itami)

Shame

(Haji)

Proud

誇りに思う (HokoriNiOmou)

Awake

目覚める (MezameRu)

Angry

立腹している(だれかに) (RippukuShiteiru(Darekani)) to be angry (with somebody)

Mood

ムード (Mu^do)

Panic

パニック (Panikku)

Upset

動揺 (Douyou)

Bored

詰まらない

Disappointed

失望 (Shitsubou)

Excited

興奮 (Koufun)

Interested

関心がある (KanshinGaaru)

Worried

心配する (ShinpaiSuru)

Angry

立腹 (Rippuku)

 

Basic Japanese Words and Phrases 

 

  • You’re welcome.
    どういたしまして。itashimashite.
    Pronunciation: Dohh ee-tahsheemahshteh
  • Please. (request)
    お願いします。 Onegai shimasu.
    Pronunciation: Oh-nehgahy sheemahs
  • Please. (offer)
    どうぞ。 Dōzo.
    Pronunciation: DOHH-zoh
  • Yes
    はい hai
    Pronunciation: Hahy
  • No
    いいえ iie
    Pronunciation: Ee-eh
  • Excuse me.
    すみません。Sumimasen.
    Pronunciation: Soo-mee-mah-SEN’
  • I’m sorry.
    ごめんなさい。 Gomen nasai.
    Pronunciation: Goh-men-nahsahy
  • I’m sorry. (informal)
    ごめん Gomen.
    Pronunciation: Goh-men’
  • Goodbye. (long-term)
    さようなら。 Sayōnara.
    Pronunciation: Sah-yohh-nah-rah
  • Goodbye. (informal)
    じゃね。 Ja ne.
    Pronunciation: Jahh neh.
  • How are you?
    お元気ですか? O-genki desu ka?
    Pronunciation: Oh-GEN’-kee des-ka?
  • Fine, thank you.
    はい、元気です。 Hai, genki desu.
    Pronunciation: Hahy, GEN’-kee des.
  • How about you?
    あなたは? Anata wa?
    Pronunciation: Ah-nahtah wa?
  • What’s your name? (lit. “Your name is…”)
    お名前は? O-namae wa?
    Pronunciation: Oh-nah-mah-eh wah?
  • My name is … .
    … です。 … desu. (informal)
    Pronunciation: … des.
  • My name is (Name) (formal)
    私の名前は(name)です Watashi no namae wa (Name) desu
    Pronunciation: wah-TAH-shee no nah-MAH-eh wah (Name) dessman and woman talking
  • My name is …. (honorific; highly formal)
    と申します。… to mōshimasu.
    Toh MOHH-sheemahs, (means “I am called…”)
  • Nice to meet you. (formal)
    始めまして。どうぞ宜しくお願いします。 Hajimemashite. Dōzo yoroshiku onegai shimasu Pronunciation: Hah-jee-meh-mahshteh DOHH-zoh yohrohshkoo oh-nehgahy sheemahs
  • Please treat me well
    よろしくお願いします。Yoroshiku onegaishimasu
    Pronunciation: yor-OH-she-koo oh-nay-guy-ee-shee-mass
  • I can’t speak Japanese
    very well.
    日本語が(よく)話せません。Nihongo ga (yoku) hanasemasen.
    Pronunciation: Nee-hohn’-goh gah (yoh-koo) hah-nah-seh-mah-sen’
  • Do you speak Japanese?
    日本語が話せますか? Nihongo ga hanasemasu ka?
    Pronunciation: Nee-hohn’-goh gah hah-nah-seh-mahs kah?
  • Do you speak English?
    英語が話せますか? Eigo ga hanasemasu ka?
    Pronunciation: Ey-goh gah hah-nah-seh-mahs kah?
  • Is there someone here who speaks English?
    誰か英語が話せますか? Dareka eigo ga hanasemasu ka?
    Pronunciation: Dah-reh-kah ey-goh gah hah-nah-seh-mahs kah?
  • Yes, a little.
    はい、少し。 Hai, sukoshi.
    Pronunciation: Hahy, skoh-shee
  • Please speak slowly.
    ゆっくり話してください。 Yukkuri hanashite kudasai.
    Pronunciation: Yook-koo-ree hah-nahsh-teh koo-dah-sahy
  • Please say it again.
    もう一度言ってください。Mō ichido itte kudasai.
    Pronunciation: Mohh ee-chee-doh eet-teh koo-dah-sahy
  • I don’t understand.
    分かりません。 Wakarimasen.
    Pronunciation: Wah-kah-ree-mah-sen’
  • I am not Japanese.
    日本人ではありません。 Nihonjin dewa arimasen.
    Nee-hohnjeen deh-wah ah-ree-mah-sen’
  • Where is the toilet?
    お手洗い・トイレはどこですか? Otearai/toire wa doko desu ka?
    Pronunciation: Oh-teh-ah-rahy/toy-reh wah doh-koh des kah?
  • Please help!
    助けて! Tasukete!
    Pronunciation: Tah-skehteh!
  • Look out!
    危ない! Abunai!
    Pronunciation: Ah-boo-NAHY!

 

  • Sorry, I didn’t understand that

すみません。分かりませんでした
(sumimasen. wakarimasen deshita)

  • What did you say?

なんて言いましたか
(nan te iimashita ka?)

  • Can you translate it for me?

訳してください
(yakushite kudasai)

  • What does this mean?

これはどういう意味ですか
(kore wa dōiu imi desu ka)

  • How do you pronounce that?

これはどんな風に発音しますか
(kore wa donna fū ni hatsuon shimasu ka)

  • There’s a problem in the room

その部屋の中に問題があります
(sono heya no naka ni mondai ga arimasu)

  • There’s no hot water

お湯がありません
(oyu ga arimasen)

  • The tap/faucet is leaking

蛇口が漏れています
(jaguchi ga moreteimasu)

  • The drain is blocked

排水溝が詰まっています
(haisuikō ga tsumatteimasu)

  • The air conditioner is too noisy

エアコンがうるさすぎます
(eakon ga urusasugimasu)

  • Can I have another room?

他の部屋へ移れますか
(hoka no heya e utsuremasu ka?)

  • When should I vacate the room?

いつ、部屋を出なくてはなりませんか
(itsu, heya o denakute wa narimasen ka?)

  • I’d like to check out

チェックアウトしたいのですが
(chekkuauto shitai no desu ga)

  • I’d check out on this date

この日にチェックアウトしたいのですが
(kono hi ni chekkuauto shitai no desu ga)

  • Could you call a taxi please?

タクシーを呼んで下さい
(takusī o yonde kudasai?)

  • May I see the bill please?

請求書を見せて頂けますか
(seikyūsho o misete itadakemasu ka?)

  • How much is the total bill?

請求書の合計額は、いくらですか
(seikyūsho no gōkei wa ikura desu ka?)

  • Can I have an itemised bill?

明細書を見せて頂けますか
(meisaisho o misete itadakemasu ka?)

  • I think there’s a mistake on this bill

この請求書に間違いがあるように思うのですが
(kono seikyūsho ni machigai ga aruyō ni omō no desu ka?)

  • Is there a restaurant near here?

近くにレストランはありますか
(chikaku ni resutoran wa arimasu ka?)

  • I’d like to reserve a table

テーブルの予約を取りたいのですが
(tēburu no yoyaku o toritai no desu ga)

  • We have a reservation

既に予約をとっています
(sudeni yoyaku o totte imasu)

  • Do you have an English menu?

英語のメ二ューはありますか
(eigo no menyu wa arimasu ka?)

  • Can I see the wine list?

ワインのリストを見せて頂けませんか
(wain no risuto o misete itadakemasen ka?)

  • I am a vegetarian 私は菜食主義者です
    (watashi wa saishokushugisha desu)

Quick Self-introduction in Japanese

By using the words and phrases above, will help you begin a quick conversation with the Japanese people. You can start now by introducing yourself. Let’s practice the example below.

Hajimemashite. Konnichiwa. Watashi no namae wa (Name) desu. Yoroshiku onegaishimasu

 

 

Easy right? You could also learn the easy way to count in Japanese Numbers by clicking the link below.

Counting in Japanese Numbers 1-100 for Beginners

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  2. Bank Account

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  3. numbers

    Counting in Japanese Numbers 1-100 for Beginners

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