How to Travel in Japan

Traveling in Japan can be daunting, but learning key Japanese phrases will make the experience far less daunting.

() Since some words don’t contain kanji characters, they must always be written using hiragana; other times katakana may be used to illustrate how a word should be pronounced.


When traveling to Japan, it’s advisable to learn some essential Japanese phrases. This is particularly beneficial when visiting smaller towns or cities where many residents don’t speak English – having some key words and phrases memorized will allow for easier interaction with locals.

One of the first phrases you must learn in Japanese is Konnichiwa, or “hello” or “good day.” Pronounced kohn-ch-chi-wa, this greeting can be used when greeting friends or acquaintances and often comes accompanied with bowing or nodding of head. Eye contact should always be made when greeting someone; however this is not required.

Another useful phrase is Irasshaimase (eye-rah-sh-yay-mahs). Shopkeepers frequently use this greeting phrase when welcoming customers into their shops; its pronunciation is typically ee-rah-sh-mahs, and often used with a bowing motion.

Japanese greetings can also be time specific; for instance, it would not be suitable to say Konnichiwa in the evening as its word meaning is day and ‘wa’ being today, this would cause confusion for a Japanese person who might think you meant ‘tonight’ instead. Therefore it would be more suitable to use another greeting such as Konbanwa to ensure no offense was taken by either of you.


Sayonara is one of the first Japanese words most students learn when starting to learn the language. It means farewell and can be used in many scenarios: to say goodbye to friends or family members; as well as something you won’t see again in future encounters.

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Though this phrase may work in most situations, its overuse can become tiresome and unnecessary. Japanese people generally do not use it when saying goodbye to someone whom they will see again in a few months or so; rather they prefer more formalised approaches like mata aimasho or (mataoshi imashiyou).

Those learning Japanese should become acquainted with its various sounds and dialects, such as Hiragana (Japanese characters). Hiragana contains numerous different sounds: for instance, [n] is pronounced [n] when spoken before letters such as T, CH, Ts, RZZZJJ and [m] when spoken before KG and G; diphoneousousou and EI are respectively pronounced [o:] and [e:].

Some hiragana have dakuten marks, which transform voiceless consonants to voiced consonants. Common examples are k-g, ts/s-z, h-b and ch/sh-j; additionally w-y is sometimes pronounced as z; additionally there are compound hiragana that contain multiple dakuten marks.


“Dokodesuka,” which means “where are you from?,” is an ideal starting point when learning Japanese, and can be applied in many situations. Additionally, using it shows respect towards others by showing interest in their lives and backgrounds.

Japanese is a very polite language; when asking someone a question in Japanese you use “doko ni”, which literally translates as “where”. Use this interrogation word when inquiring about their hometown, their favorite foods or even where they were born!

For further insight into this subject, watch my lesson video about dokodesuka structures and what types of questions each verb should add depending on its function.

This video also covers hiragana (Japanese characters), providing an effective method of learning how to read Japanese naturally and pronounce each character correctly – both are key factors in becoming fluent with Japanese! Being fluent takes hard work but is absolutely worth your efforts!

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Ikeba ii

Ikebana (meaning living flowers) is the Japanese art of flower arranging, often described as more subtle, sensitive, and sophisticated than floral arrangements used by other cultures. Since Buddhism’s introduction in Japan in the 7th century AD, Ikebana has become part of Japanese life as it blends beauty with spirituality – becoming an integral component of culture itself.

Hiragana is a syllable-based alphabet composed of 46 characters that divide into two groups, vowels and consonants. Although many characters appear similar visually, their sounds vary drastically; for instance there is no sound for “y”, while vowel letters such as a, i and u have different pronunciations than their English equivalents. Some hiragana characters can even be modified using dakuten or handakuten markers to alter their pronunciation further.

Hiragana (pronounced Hi-RAG-ana) is used as an aid in reading Japanese kanji characters and may appear under them when written directly onto pages in children’s books or as the basis of katakana languages such as Katakana or Kanji. Hiragana can be easier to learn than kanji for beginners starting off, making hiragana particularly useful as an entryway into Japanese. There are various hiragana learning methods available such as memorization tools like Anki app and White Rabbit flashcards among many others to aid memorizing this character set of letters.

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