Japan Travel Tips ~ VOLUME 1:Useful Vocabulary~

Hello everyone.

The rainy season is approaching.
From now through June, there will be many rainy days, so it is a good idea to carry rain gear with you.

Since Japan resumed accepting foreign tourists last November, the number of foreign tourists to Japan has been increasing and popular spots in Tokyo are very crowded with tourists.

Now, I would like to introduce some useful Japanese words and phrases that you should know when you travel to Japan.
Please take a look at them for reference.


There are three types of characters in Japanese: hiragana, katakana, and kanji.
If you can read Hiragana (ひらがな), the most basic of the three, you will find it convenient to read signs and many signs are often written in hiragana.

Here are some Japanese words that you may often see on street signs and other signs while traveling in Japan, and that are useful to know.

■おみやげ(Kanji: お土産)
Omiyage (Souvenir)

Stores with this sign offer local souvenirs.

■トイレ(Kanji: お手洗)
Toire (Toilet/Bathroom)

When looking for a restroom in a building, at a place to stay, or at a tourist spot, look for a sign that says "トイレ" (Toire).
Or, you can tell someone "トイレ" in Japanese.

■ホテル (Hotel)
In urban areas, there are still many hotels in rural areas that are only listed as “ホテル" (Hoteru) in Japanese. Ryokans can also be selected as a place to stay.

■レストラン (Restaurant)
A place to eat is also called a "レストラン" (Resutoran) in Japan.
However, please note that the pronunciation is for Japanese.

■駅 えき Eki (Station) 
For example: Tokyo station (Tokyo Eki), means the name of the station.

■電車 でんしゃ Densha (Train)
The most convenient means of transportation when traveling in Japan is the train. There are several types of trains in Japan, including subways and trams.
Especially in Tokyo, there are more than 80 different train lines. The most mainstream of these is the JR line.
There are 26 different JR lines in Tokyo.
Many famous stations are on the JR "Yamanote" line, so if you are taking a train in Tokyo for the first time to a tourist attraction, try using the JR Yamanote line.
Major stations on the Yamanote Line include Tokyo, Harajuku, Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Akihabara.
Japanese trains are famous for coming on time.

■バス (Bus)
In addition to trains, buses are also widely used. When visiting tourist spots, it is very convenient to take a bus rather than a train to get to the nearest spot.
It often takes longer to get there by bus than by train, though, depending on the congestion on the roads, I recommend using buses when traveling in Japan because you can see the cityscape from your window as you travel.

■Suica/Pasmo (IC card ticket)

The first thing you must get when traveling in Japan is a Suica or Pasmo, a Japanese IC card ticket. (*Other regions use a different name.)
If you charge money when you purchase the ticket, you can use it in various situations without having to carry cash.

It can be used in place of a train or bus ticket, of course, but it can also be used to pay at convenience stores, restaurants, vending machines, or to purchase tickets for anything else, which is very convenient.

Exchanging cash in a foreign country can be difficult just remembering the different types of coins and bills.
By using Suica and other means, your travel in Japan will be much smoother.
Please be sure to get one first when you arrive in Japan!

■空港 くうこう
Kuukou (Airport)
Example: Haneda Airport, Narita Airport

Haneda Airport and Narita Airport are the most famous international airports in Japan.
When traveling within Japan, you may take a domestic flight.
The longest flight within Japan takes about 4 hours, and the shortest distance can be as short as 30 minutes.
In addition to the capital city of Tokyo, airplanes are convenient for travel to Osaka, Kyoto, Hokkaido, Okinawa, and other destinations.

Although English signs are becoming more common in Tokyo, there are still many signs in the countryside that are only in Japanese, so it is useful to learn these Japanese words.

Katakana (カタカナ, English and foreign words) are often used in Japanese.
However, the same English words are sometimes difficult to convey in English pronunciation because they are pronounced in Japanese way.

For example, the famous "McDonald's" has the same name in Japanese and English, but the pronunciation changes (Makudonarudo).

Japanese people are often uncomfortable with English when it is spoken at a fast speed, and it is often difficult to get the message across, but it may be a good idea to try to communicate slowly and just using words.

In this article, we have introduced some useful words for traveling in Japan.
Please learn a few of them and enjoy your trip in Japan!

Knowing the local language will also give you a chance to learn about the local culture.
If you are interested in learning more Japanese, please feel free to contact us.

TCJ offers a variety of Japanese language classes for different purposes, from beginner to advanced levels.

You can take a class lesson from twice a week.

★【Class Lesson】★
・Daytime standard class (Mon-Fri 9:00-12:20)
・Light standard class (Mon, Wed, Fri 10:00-12:00)
・Evening Business course (Tue, Wed, Thu 19:00-21:00)

For those who wish to study more intensively, we recommend one-on-one private lessons with a private teacher.
Our private course is flexible.

Trial lessons are available, so please contact us for more information.

We look forward to hearing from you♪
& DM