Learning key travel phrases before traveling to Japan or simply communicating with its inhabitants will help eliminate any language barriers. Luckily, it’s quite straightforward to become fluent with the most essential Japanese words for travelers before your visit.
Remind yourself that the small y kana can be added to any hiragana ending in an “i”. This changes its form into either an a, u or y.
1. Know the Basics
Before planning a visit to Japan, it’s essential that you possess a firm grasp of hiragana script – the fundamental building block taught in most beginner Japanese textbooks and ideal if you wish to establish a solid base of learning Japanese.
Hiragana is the simplest form of written Japanese, used alone or combined with kanji to spell words. Children typically learn it first when starting school; though not entirely necessary for reading or writing in Japan, learning this form is nonetheless a key step towards becoming fluent with its language.
Hiragana are phonetic characters derived from Chinese characters known as Kanji, used for sound symbolism, particles, adverbs, name of animals and plants as well as to change the meaning of Kanji characters. Hiragana are frequently combined with Kanji to form verbs such as “xio imshit (waraimashita) for laughter.”
Learning Hiragana (Japanese characters) requires memorizing it, which many students find the hardest part of learning Japanese. Thankfully, there are numerous resources out there that can assist with this difficult alphabet – the best being one with mnemonics to quickly recall all its letters quickly and effortlessly.
2. Have a Phrasebook
Possessing a phrasebook can be invaluable when visiting Japan, as it will enable you to practice both hiragana (Japanese characters) and romanji (Roman alphabet), making communication with locals much simpler!
Transportation-related Japanese phrases can be especially beneficial when travelling. Knowing how to ask where something is, indicate whether you prefer smoking or non-smoking sections and ask for assistance are always useful skills; you’ll want to memorize phrases like doko desu ka?” (“where is it?”) and it’su desu ka? (“when is it?”).
There are numerous Japanese phrasebooks available to aid travelers when it comes to speaking the hiragana and romaji language during travels in Japan. You can find these in book stores or even online; some even feature pictures to make remembering difficult Japanese words easier!
One popular travel-sized “point and speak” Japanese phrasebook for travelers is the travel-sized “point and speak” Japanese phrasebook for beginners, which offers everything you need from greetings and ordering food basics, to helpful phrases for public transit navigation and tips on etiquette such as when and what not to do at airports.
Do not become discouraged about learning hiragana; although most beginner Japanese textbooks dedicate at least one month or more to these first set of characters, learning them shouldn’t be hard or time consuming if the right tools (such as mnemonics) and practice are used.
Begin your studies independently by doing basic drills at home. Either use an app like Tofugu’s Hiragana Flashcards or print some simple worksheets online and study each hiragana at least once every day until it becomes second nature to you.
Once you feel ready, move onto the next set of kana. This one is known as “k-column,” and includes letters you have already learned along with some additional ones like shi, chi, and tsu that might give the illusion that you are truly understanding Japanese. Here you will start to feel more at home than before!
As an example, the kana ka is pronounced exactly like the “cheese,” yet looks much like a mosquito! That is no coincidence as mosquitoes are known as kak in Japanese. Meanwhile, the kana ki resembles key and sounds just like “ha ha.” Therefore, learning these characters before visiting Japan is absolutely essential!
4. Be Prepared
If you’re traveling to Japan, it is wise to be as prepared as possible before your arrival. Even though nobody speaks English in Japan, basic Japanese phrases for travel (/, /), asking directions, ordering food at restaurants and knowing local restaurant etiquette will come in handy in getting around easily. Additionally, remembering polite manners will help prevent miscommunication with locals and ensure a pleasant trip!
Selecting an optimal season for your journey to Japan can make an immense difference to its experience and enjoyment. Winter, Spring and Autumn tend to offer ideal temperatures and scenery; summer can become too hot and humid; while Autumn can sometimes bring unpredictable typhoons.
Make sure your luggage is appropriate for the climate and activities planned during your stay in Japan. Depending on how long your trip lasts, consider buying some small gifts to bring back home for friends or family in Japan – it is common practice here to give and receive these items! This gesture can leave a lasting impression with anyone you meet during your travels!
Before embarking on your travels to Japan, familiarization with their writing system is also crucial. Hiragana and Katakana are phonetic scripts used for basic reading; Kanji are symbols representing words or concepts; mastering all three is crucial for successful navigation of Japan.