Travelling is one of the biggest motivations or inspirations for language learning. Let’s admit it, we all have the experience of learning a number of travel phrases before our trips.
However, when do you usually learn the language of your travel destination? Before, during, or after?
Even if you’re not the biggest fan of language learning; after all, you would want to know or learn some survival travel phrases just in case. You might argue that English is so commonly used nowadays and English language service is available at most tourist sites. In spite of that, there might still be situations where English is not an option. Based on my personal experience, for example, if you visit a non-touristy place or a small local restaurant (where the most authentic food usually is), you may find English language service to be fairly limited. You won’t have an issue; it might just take longer for the communication to be done, yet it’s still advantageous if you know a few important phrases (or again, some travel phrases).
After our recent trip to Japan, although my partner and I could use English most of the time, we found that knowing Japanese has definitely made our travelling life easier. One of the cases is when we ate at an old Unagi restaurant in Kawagoe — an Edo-period castle town. Unsurprisingly, there was no English menu nor photos of the dishes. Hence, the advantage of knowing the language. Additionally, note that it was the best Unagi we have ever had.
That being said, you don’t need to pass Level 3 in JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) before your next trip to Japan. Nonetheless, you just need to remember a few practical words and expressions.
I’ve summed up several useful Japanese travel phrases for travellers that might come in handy.
1.すみません (sumimasen) — excuse me or I’m sorry
2. 〜を ください (〜wo kudasai)— “Please give me 〜.” or “[〜], please.”
3. お願いします (onegaishimasu) — Please
4. 〜を お願いします(〜wo onegaishimasu) — It’s the honorific / more polite form of 〜を ください.
***In some specific cases, only 〜を お願いします is used. Learn more with Eggbun here.
5. *何名様ですか (nan mei sama desuka) — How many (people)?
6. *ご注文はお決まりですか (go chuumon wa okimari desu ka?) — Are you ready to order?
*you may hear these expressions at restaurants.
7. ごちそうさまでした(gochisousama-deshita) — (used after meals) “It was delicious.” or “Thanks for the meal!”
8. お勘定をお願いします (okanjou wo onegaishimasu) — Equivalent to “Can I have the bill, please?” (at the restaurant)
9. ありがとう (arigatou) — Thank you.
**Honorific: ありがとう ございます (arigatou gozaimasu)
10. いくらですか？(ikura desuka) — How much is it?
11. 袋大丈夫です (fukuro daijoubu desu) — When you go eco-friendly and say no to plastic bags, you can always use this phrase. It means you don’t need a bag.
12. 〜 は どこですか? (〜wa doko desuka?) — “Where is 〜?”
So, you feel like you already speak Japanese? Yes, you can and you will. You can learn these phrases before your next trip; otherwise, save them on your phone, share with a friend who may need the list.
In addition to these travel phrases, learn more useful Japanese phrases and expressions at Eggbun Education with the cute chatbot tutor- Lanny. Eggbun provides strictly organized curriculum programmed by Japanese language experts. You’ll be able to speak Japanese in no time!