Basic Phrases in Japanese // Learn 32 Essential Phrases (With Flashcards & FREE Quiz)

32 of The Most Important Basic Phrases in Japanese

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Looking for THE most important basic phrases in Japanese?

Do you want to know the top phrases to help you get by in Japan?

Or maybe you’re looking for the most important basic phrases in Japanese to kick-start your Japanese learning journey.

Either way, look no further.

This short, basic and super simple guide will give you those all-important essential basic phrases in Japanese that you’ll need to get by.

Basic Phrases in Japanese || The Complete List

Basic Phrases in Japanese || Yes and No

Basic Phrases in Japanese || Greetings

Basic Phrases in Japanese || Politeness

Basic Phrases in Japanese || Other Essential Phrases

Basic Phrases in Japanese || Questions

BONUS || FREE Quiz

Basic Phrases in Japanese || FAQs

Learn the basics of Japanese with Layla

List of Most Basic Phrases in Japanese

Here is our complete list of the most basic phrases in Japanese:

EnglishJapaneseRomanization
Yes はい Hai
No いいえ Iie
Hello こんにちは Konnichiwa
Good morning (politer) おはよう(ございます) Ohayo (gozaimasu)
Good evening こんばんは Konbanwa
Good night (politer) おやすみ(なさい) Oyasumi (nasai)
Goodbye さよなら Sayonara
Thank you (politer) ありがとう(ございます) Arigatou (gozaimasu)
Please おねがいします Onegaishimasu
Excuse me すみません Sumimasen
Sorry ごめんなさい Gomennasai
I am called …. わたしは ...です Watashiwa … desu
It’s OK, I’m fine だいじょうぶ Daijyoubu
… please ... をください … Wo Kudasai
Is that so? / Yes, it’s like that… そうですか そうです Soudesuka? / Soudesu
It’s cold! さむい Samui
It’s hot あつい Atsui
I like it / I don’t like it すき すきじゃない Suki/sukijyanai
Once again もういっかい Mouyikkai
I don’t understand わかりません Wakarimasen
Cheers! かんぱい Kanppai
Where is the… ... は どこですか … wa Dokodesuka?
I want to go to the … ...へ いきたいです … e ikitaidesu
How much is it? いくらですか Ikuradesuka?
Do you have wifi? WiFiありますか WiFi arimasuka?
Are you OK? / I’m OK げんきですか? げんきです Genkidesuka? / Genkidesu
Where is… どこですか Dokodesuka?
What is this? (これ)なんですか (Kore) nandesuka?
Who are you, who is that? だれですか Daredesuka?
When? いつですか Itsudesuka?
Why? どうして Doushite?
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Basic Phrases in Japanese: Yes and No

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Two of the most important things to say in any language is of course yes and no.

Hai はい Yes
Iie いいえ No

Saying yes and no in Japanese is simple.

Hai is yes, iie is no.

There are less polite ways to say both of these.

Examples include ‘un’ and ‘uun’ (yes/no respectively) but it’s best to stay polite until you get a better grasp of using honorific and casual speech.

You’ll discover formality is hugely important when speaking Japanese.

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How To Learn Katakana (カタカナ) // Essential Things To Know

How to Learn Katakana? | Katakana is one of Japanese’s three alphabets. Katakana are generally more angular looking than Hiragana and focuses on loanwords.

Basic Phrases in Japanese: Greetings

Now that we’ve got yes and no out the way, let’s move onto basic phrases that include greetings.

You probably already know hello (konnichiwa: こんにちは) but why not take it one step further?

EnglishJapaneseRomanization
Hello こんにちは Konnichiwa
Good evening こんばんは Konbanwa
Good morning (politer) おはよう(ございます) Ohayo (gozaimasu)
Good night (politer) おやすみ(なさい) Oyasumi (nasai)
Goodbye さよなら Sayonara

For basic greetings in Japanese, it’s important to note the time of day.

Konnichiwa literally means ‘this day’ and konbanwa literally means ‘this evening’.

To make a phrase sound more polite, you can add the politeness endings such as gozaimasu – but this can be a bit of a mouthful.

If you’re a beginner, you can get away with simply saying the first part of the word.

Basic Phrases in Japanese: Politeness

Politeness is important in Japanese!

Most people who have any knowledge of Japanese culture should already know that Japan is a very polite country, so learning how to say please and thank you are vitally important basic phrases in Japanese.

EnglishJapaneseRomanization
Thanks (politer) ありがとう(ございます) Arigatou (gozaimasu)
Please おねがいします Onegaishimasu
Excuse me すみません Sumimasen
Sorry ごめんなさい Gomennasai

Bumping through a crowd you might want to shout ‘sumimasen!’

Also to get attention at a restaurant.

Please and thank yous are said a lot, but thank you much much more. So make sure to get ‘arigatou’ down!

Basic Phrases in Japanese: Other Essential Phrases

Next up we have some key basic phrases in Japanese to get you through the day, these are some of the most common phrases we’d use in Japanese!

Simple, yet effective in making your Japanese sound pretty decent at a beginner’s level.

EnglishJapaneseRomanization
I am called … わたしは … です Watashiwa … desu
It’s OK, I’m fine だいじょうぶ Daijyoubu
… please ... をください Wo Kudasai
It’s cold! さむい Samui
It’s hot! あつい Atsui
I like it/I don’t like it すき すきじゃない Suki/sukijyanai
Once again もういっかい Mouyikkai
I don’t understand わかりません Wakarimasen
Cheers! かんぱい Kanppai
Basic-phrases-in-Japanese


Wo kudasai can be used when you’re pointing at something in a shop and asking for it.

Samui and Astui can be used when you’re strolling the parks of Kyoto in the winter or summer

Lastly, you’ll hear kanppai a lot at your local izakaya (Japanese pub)!

It sounds similar to the Chinese version that is ganbei 干杯 and also looks similar in characters also 乾杯 (note the 2nd character is the same as the Chinese equivalent).

Basic Phrases in Japanese: Questions

Lastly, we have the all-important questions in Japanese!

You might fear getting an answer in complicated Japanese… but that’s just all the more motivation you need to keep on learning Japanese!

It’s always worth a try, you may even end up understanding more than you think and surprising yourself!

First up let’s look at Japanese question words:

EnglishJapaneseRomanization
Where is… どこですか Dokodesuka?
What is this? (これ)なんですか (Kore) nandesuka?
Who are you, who is that? だれですか Daredesuka?
When? いつですか Itsudesuka?
Why? どうして Doushite?

One important thing to note is that everything is pretty much backwards in Japanese grammar.

So when in English you place a question word or phrase at the start of a sentence, it goes at the end in Japanese. So if you’re looking for the train station, you’d ask;

“Eki wa doko desuka?” えきはどこですか?

Eki = Train station
Wa = (Topic particle marker)
Doko = Where
Desu = Is
Ka = ?

So now we’ve had a look at the question words, let’s have a look at a few more useful question phrases that use them:

EnglishJapaneseRomanization
Where is the … ...は どこですか …. wa Dokodesuka?
I want to go to the… ...へ いきたいです … e ikitaidesu
How much is it? いくらですか Ikuradesuka?
Do you have wifi? WiFiありますかWiFi arimasuka?
Is that so? Yes, it’s like that…[speak そうですか ・ そうです Soudesuka? / Soudesu
Are you OK? / I’m OK げんきですか? / げんきです Genkidesuka? / Genkidesu

So that’s it for the most important basic phrases in Japanese!

Whilst these are just beginner phrases in Japanese, they’re used a lot of the time in day to day chat as you can imagine.

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How to Learn Hiragana (Quickly) // 7 Terrific Tips To Success

How to Learn Hiragana? It might seem difficult but Hiragana can be understood within a few hours. Follow these tips for success and start reading Hiragana.

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BONUS FREEBIE // Quiz

Now you’ve learnt the most basic phrases in Japanese, how many can you remember?

Have a try with our 20 question quick fire quiz and see how many you remembered.

Questions are all multiple choice and the answers are instant. What are you waiting for!

Welcome to your Basic Phrases Quiz! Let's get going...

First Name
Email
What does どうして mean?

What does はい mean?

How do you say "Excuse Me" in Japanese?

What does あつい mean?

What does いつですか mean?

How do you say "Please" in Japanese?

What does さむい mean?

What does こんばんは mean?

How do you say "I don't understand" in Japanese?

How do you say "Why" in Japanese?

What does いくらですか mean?

What does いいえ mean?

How do you say "Yes" in Japanese?

What does かんぱい mean?

What does こんにちは mean?

How do you say "It's OK I'm fine" in Japanese?

How do you say "I like it" in Japanese?

How do you say "No" in Japanese?

How do you say "Hello" in Japanese?

How do you say "Goodbye" in Japanese?


Love learning languages? Then you’ll want to check out these as well

Basic Phrases in Japanese || FAQs

What is hello in Japanese?

Hello in Japanese is konnichiwa こんにちは

What is thanks in Japanese?

Thanks in Japanese is arigatou ありがとう

If you want to make it even more polite then you can add (gozaimasu ございます)at the end to make the entire phrase arigatou (gozaimasu); ありがとう(ございます).

What is please in Japanese?

Please in Japanese is onegaishimasu おねがいします .

What is goodbye in Japanese?

Goodbye in Japanese is sayonara さよなら .

What is yes in Japanese?

Yes in Japanese is hai はい 

What is no in Japanese?

No in Japanese is iie いいえ

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17 comments

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  1. ありがと

    1. Max Hobbs

      どういたしまして

  2. すき 😄

    1. Max Hobbs

      😄

  3. ありがとうございました

    1. Max Hobbs

      いえいえ

  4. Emily
    Reply

    Love the addition of the quiz!

    1. LTL Team HQ

      Great to hear you liked it Emily!

  5. These are very useful, thanks for sharing for Japanese learners

    1. LTL Team HQ

      Happy to hear! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  6. Rayne
    Reply

    ありがとうございます

    1. Max Hobbs

      どういたしまして Rayne!

  7. welearnjapanese
    Reply

    Excellent article and so useful for beginners like me!

    1. Max Hobbs

      Thanks for the lovely comment 🙂

  8. Started to learn Japanese, thanks for the content

  9. common japanese phrases – Relevant Archive
    Reply

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