Directions in Japanese | Essential Vocabulary & Examples

Have you ever wanted to visit Japan and be able to navigate around to different places?

To do that, you’ll need to be able to ask for and understand directions!

If you get lost, knowing your migi (right) from your hidari (left) can help you find your back to your restaurant or hotel.

So pay close attention – this is an important lesson!

Let’s get learning!

Japanese Directions | Basic Directions

Japanese Directions | Driving Directions

Japanese Directions | Positions

Japanese Directions | Places

Japanese Directions | Sentence Examples

Japanese Directions | FAQ’s

Japanese Directions | Basic Directions

First, let’s start this lesson with basic Japanese directions.

KanjiHiraganaRomajiEnglish
きたkitanorth
みなみminamisouth
西にしnishiwest
ひがしhigashieast
北西ほくせいhokuseinorthwest
北東ほくとうhokutounorthwest
南東なんとうnantousoutheast
南西なんせいnanseisouthwest
地図ちずchizumap
現在地げんざいちgenzaichicurrent location

Japanese Directions | Driving Directions

Knowing how to say directions in Japanese for the road, such as right and left in Japanese is also very useful.

The vocabulary below is essential for giving and receiving driving directions in Japanese:

KanjiHiraganaRomajiEnglish
まえmaefront
後ろうしろushiroback
ひだりhidarileft
みぎmigiright
遠いとおいtōifar
近いちかいchikaiclose
まっすぐmassugustraight
となりtonarinext to
渡ったわたったwatattaacross
交差点こうさてんkousatenintersection
角を曲がるかどをまがるkado o magaruturn the corner

Japanese Directions | Positions

Japanese words that are used vaguely differ according to the position of speaker and listener.

Here’s a list.

JapaneseRomajiEnglish
ここkokohere
そこsokothere
あそこasokoover there
どこdokowhere
こちらkochirahere (polite)
そちらsochirathere (polite)
あちらachiraover there (polite)
どちらdochirawhere (polite), which
これkorethis
それsorethat
あれarethat over there
だれdarewho

Kore, sore, are, and dare can be modified by replacing the final re with の (no) to specify an object.

It is important to note that kono, sono, ano, and dono cannot stand alonethey must be followed by a noun.

For example, while pointing at a watch you can ask:

JapaneseRomajiEnglish
これはいくらでうか。Kore wa ikura desu ka.How much is this?

Or, you can mention the noun, which is a watch, and ask its price:

JapaneseRomajiEnglish
このとけいはいくらですか。Kono tokei wa ikura desu ka.How much is this watch?

Here is a table with these modified versions of kore, sore, dare, and are:

ExamplesParticleNoun ModifierParticlePosition
これ(は~)このnoun(は~)close to the person speaking
それ(は~)そのnoun(は~)close to the person listening
あれ(は~)あれnoun(は~)far from both people
どれ(は~)どのnoun(は~)Unknown (where)

Japanese Directions | Places

Now, before looking at some examples, let’s learn some vocabulary for places.

KanjiHiraganaRomajiEnglish
 —うちuchihome
部屋へやheyaroom
学校がっこうgakkouschool
会社かいしゃkaishacompany
— コンビニkonbiniconvenience store
銀行ぎんこうginkoubank
郵便局ゆうびんきょくyuubinkyokupost office
事務所じむしょjimushooffice
 —トイレtoiretoilet, rest room
会議室かいぎしつkaigishitsuconference room, meeting room
教室きょうしつkyoushitsuclassroom
受付うけつけuketsukereception

Even More Sentence Examples

There are many other ways to express positions in Japanese.

In order to accurately convey a position to others, it is a must to choose an appropriate positional expression depending on the situation.

Now, let’s practice the new vocabulary by looking at some example sentences that use these words:

KanjiHiraganaRomajiEnglish
車は、車庫の前に停めました。くるまは、しゃこのまえにとめました。Kuruma wa, shako no mae ni tomemashita.The car parked in front of the garage.
塩は、砂糖の後ろにあります。しおは、さとうのうしろにあります。Shio wa, satō no ushiro ni arimasu.The salt is behind the sugar.
ぼくの横に、犬がいます。ぼくのよこに、いぬがいます。Boku no yoko ni, inu ga imasu.There’s a dog beside me.
こんにちは、あなたの隣に座ってもいいですか。こんにちは、あなたのとなりにすわってもいいですか。Konnichiwa, anata no tonari ni suwatte mo iidesu ka?Hello, can I sit next to you?
床屋の右に、靴屋があります。とこやのみぎに、くつやがあります。Tokoya no migi ni, kutsuya ga arimasu.There is a shoe store on the right side of the barber.
韓国は、日本の左にあります。かんこくは、にほんのひだりにあります。Kankoku wa, Nihon no hidari ni arimasu.South Korea is to the left of Japan.
りんごは、棚の上にあります。りんごは、たなのうえにあります。Ringo wa, tana no ue ni arimasu.The apples are on the shelves.
この土の下に、ごみを埋めました。このつちのしたに、ごみをうめました。Kono tsuchi no shita ni, gomi wo ume mashita.I buried garbage under this soil.
食堂は、会社の中にあります。しょくどうは、かいしゃのなかにあります。Shokudō wa, kaisha no naka ni arimasu.The cafeteria is inside the company.
あなたは、お店の外で待っていてください。あなたは、おみせのそとでまっていてください。Anata wa, omise no soto de matteite kudasai.Please wait outside the store.
森の近くは、空気がきれいだ。もりのちかくは、くうきがきれいだ。Mori no chikaku wa, kūki ga kireida.The air is clean near the forest.
薬局の向かいの駐車場に、来てください。やっきょくのむかいのちゅうしゃじょうに、きてください。Yakkyoku no mukai no chūshajō ni, kite kudasai.Please come to the parking lot opposite the pharmacy.

You now know how to talk about directions in Japanese!

If you are just starting on your Japanese learning journey, make sure to check out the following lessons: 

Don’t forget that we also offer a Free Trial for 3 hours of Japanese classes on our online platform Flexi Classes!

Telling time in Japanese

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why should I learn directions in Japanese?

To be able to navigate around Japan and visit different places without getting lost!

How do I say this one in Japanese?

This one is この・kono and must be followed by a noun ex: このぎんこう・kono ginkou (this bank).

How do I say far in Japanese?

Far is 遠い・とおい・tōi.

How do I say right and left in Japanese?

Right is 右(みぎ・migi) and left is 左(ひだり・hidari).

How do I say near in Japanese?

Near is 近い・ちかい・chikai.

What is map in Japanese?

Map is 地図・ちず・chizu.

More Grammar

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  • LTL Avatar Irene Magnosi
    Irene Magnosi , Student Advisor

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