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Common Japanese Words

Posted by on February 27, 2009 in Common Japanese Words | 317 comments


Words are the building blocks of language. In order to have any type of conversation in Japanese, you will need to know a certain amount of Japanese words. The more Japanese words you know, the more you will be able to communicate. However, it’s not just the number of Japanese words that’s important, but also which ones.

When most people think of learning the Japanese language, they think of the years of hard work they will need to put in. The majority of people consider this hard work and the amount of time it will take to reach fluency, and decide it’s impossible. Having studied Japanese and language learning for over 9 years, I have heard quite a few people say they could never do it. However, learning a new language, even one like Japanese, isn’t as difficult and doesn’t take as long as most people think. In fact, with diligent study and the right materials, I believe someone can have a level of fluency within a matter of months.

The Japanese language has hundreds of thousands of words, but it is only a small fraction of those words that makes up the majority of both  the spoken and written language. Since the written words and spoken words will be slightly different, and because most of your communication in Japanese will be spoken, the quickest way to gain fluency is to learn the most commonly spoken Japanese words and phrases.

The key is too choose the right materials. I have used literally dozens of Japanese books and most of them have one common problem, they are full of Japanese words and situational phrases that you don’t need to know. Most also focus too much on learning to say things a proper way. This is great for someone who wants to learn proper Japanese, but will slow down someone who wants to gain conversational fluency. Also, don’t be afraid to use use materials such as comic books, tv shows, and movies. The latter two not only allow you to learn commonly used Japanese words, but practice your listening as well.

Below I have created a short list of some of the most common and most helpful Japanese words. These are words that should definitely be in a Japanese learners vocabulary and will especially be helpful for someone planning to visit Japan. Note that this list is by no means comprehensive or complete, but should help you get around when you visit Japan. In addition to the words listed here, I highly recommend that you study as many common Japanese phrases as possible. Learning common Japanese phrases will help you to better communicate and also to put words in context.

You can also find a much larger list containing 1000+ Japanese words in a downloadable pdf format at the below link.

Japanese words list

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Common Japanese Words

English Japanese Japanese
Me, I watashi わたし
Me, I (for males boku ぼく
Yes hai はい
No iie いいえ
What nani なに
Name namae なまえ
Nice to meet you Hajimemashite はじめまして
want to go to~ ~ni ikitai 〜に いきたい
want to eat~ ~wo tabetai 〜を たべたい
want to drink~ ~wo nomitai 〜を のみたい
water omizu おみず
can’t eat~ ~wo taberarenai 〜を たべられない
excuse me/sorry sumimasen すみません
thank you arigatou gozaimasu ありがとうございます
want to buy~ ~wo kaitai 〜を かいたい
want to see~ ~wo mitai 〜を みたい
sorry gomen nasai ごめん なさい
good morning ohayougozaimasu おはようございます
good afternoon konnichi wa こんにちは
good evening konnban wa こんばんは
how are you? ogenki desu ka おげんき です か
I’m fine genki desu げんき です
taxi takushii タクシー
hotel hoteru ホテル
train densha でんしゃ
station eki えき
hospital byouin びょういん
where is~ ~wa doko 〜は どこ
bathroom otearai おてあらい
ticket kippu きっぷ
money okane おかね
bank ginkou ぎんこう
police keisatsu けいさつ
How much? ikura いくら
plane hikouki ひこうき
foreigner gaijin がいじん
Japan nihon にほん
Japanese nihonjin


person hito ひと
hurts itai いたい

25 Other Helpful Japanese Words

noon ohiru おひる
morning asa あさ
evening yoru よる
meal gohan ごはん
play asobu あそぶ
listen kiku きく
expensive takai たかい
half hanbun はんぶん
cheap yasui やすい
room heya へや
art museum bijutsukan びじゅつかん
park koen こうえん
zoo doubutsuen どうぶつえん
express train kaisoku かいそく
subway chikatetsu ちかてつ
car kuruma くるま
close chikai ちかい
far toi とおい
tasty oishii おいしい
spacious hiroi ひろい
narrow semai せまい
warm atatakai あたたかい
cold samui さむい
bright akarui あかるい
dark kurai くらい

Numbers and Time

One ichi いち
Two ni
Three san さん
Four shi
Five go
Six roku ろく
Seven shichi しち
Eight hachi はち
Nine ku
Ten juu じゅう
One hundred hyaku
One thousand sen せん
Ten thousand man まん
Time jikan じかん
~O’clock ji
Fall aki あき
Winter fuyu ふゆ
Spring haru はる
Summer natsu なつ
Monday getsuyoubi げつようび
Tuesday kayoubi かようび
Wednesday suiyoubi すいようび
Thursday mokuyoubi もくようび
Friday kinyoubi きんようび
Saturday doyoubi どようび
Sunday nichiyoubi にちようび
weekend shuumatsu しゅうまつ
vacation, rest yasumi やすみ


  1. avatar

    what is english word for dochira ga yoroshii desu ka?

  2. avatar

    arigatou gozaimasu ni-chan 😉

    this helps me a-lot studying and writing Japanese
    I just love this language, even though I’m not Japanese,
    思い出す… 言語を一つは消して足りない
    oh yeah for those who want to learn how to write,
    you can try using the IME in your computers 😉

  3. avatar

    i want to learn more japanese words..,,,its awesome

  4. avatar

    Arigato gonzaimasu for helping me learn this! 🙂

  5. avatar

    1 – saro
    2 – duwa
    3 – tulo
    4 – apat
    5 – lima
    6 – anum
    7 – pito
    8 – walo
    9 – siam
    10 – sampulo

    bikolano ini

  6. avatar

    Cool!! mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

  7. avatar

    *aishiteru-i love you

  8. avatar

    konnichiwa-desu!~ watashi no namae wa Reki desu! yoroshiku!~

  9. avatar

    i love THIS JAPANESE i can LEARN faster 😀

    Love it

    I love Watching Sekai-Ichi-Hatsukoi

  10. avatar

    Konnichiwa minna.yoroshiku onegaishimasu, namae wa Kaori desu juugo sai desu,nihongo ga daisuki desu,hontou ni daisuki,renshu no nihongo dekimashita..

  11. avatar

    I really want to learn japanese, can anyone give me a link…just message me in facebook..(arra bonacua)tnx ^.^

  12. avatar

    nihongo ga suki……..
    arigatou gozaimasu mina san

  13. avatar

    arigatou-thank you

  14. avatar

    daisuki i love japanese

  15. avatar

    its really nice….im trying to memorize it all!..OMG!hehehe…

  16. avatar

    I’m only 11 and this helped a crap load… =^-^=
    ( that’s the sign for naruto hehehe ) oh,yeah and I’m American so I’ve been learning a bit longer and harder words!!!!!!

  17. avatar

    i want to know japanese language

  18. avatar

    wow this is nice
    Jōhō no okage de

  19. avatar

    yeah!!! arigato!!!!!

  20. avatar

    the words are very easy to pronounce and the japanese rocks im very happy because I want to know more about it

  21. avatar

    i look forward to know more and i hope that you can reply

  22. avatar

    kawaii~ but it is only there? Why there was no cute, cool, beautiful, pretty, and many more basic…


  23. avatar

    it’s good to speak your words. 😀

  24. avatar

    it really helped me in studying the basic japanese translations . .:)

  25. avatar

    thank you for theas woeds

  26. avatar

    i love to know bout japenesse words

  27. avatar

    Arigatou Gozaimasu

    Watashiwa hontou ni Daisuki Nihon

    わたしわ ほんとう に 大好き 日本 ^o^

  28. avatar

    Nihongo wa sonnani muzukashikunai.

    Japanese is not that difficult to learn.


  29. avatar

    i really need to know Japanese words because my bf is a Japanese and he wants me to learn about their language… and now he’s my teacher…. so i also need to know it by myself through searching japanese online words…. thanks this gonna be a big help for me…..

  30. avatar

    its so cute!!!!
    arigatou gozaimasu

  31. avatar

    its so cute!!!!

  32. avatar

    Thank You ^^ This really helped

  33. avatar

    hard to learn the letters

  34. avatar

    how can translate this into english

  35. avatar

    i love Japanese especially their anime
    they are so cute lovable at nakakakilig

    arigatou gozaimasu

  36. avatar

    Ni ikitai japan

  37. avatar

    konnichiwa, takai takushii nihon, arigatou gozaimasu

  38. avatar

    me too.. watashi wo learn japanese

  39. avatar

    kon ni chi wa san ..
    watashi no namae mhimaru desu
    san ga suki desu
    tachikawa, tokyo, japan ~ni sunde imasu ..
    hanbun nihongo , hanbun pinay .. 🙂
    watashi suki kono peji <3

  40. avatar

    lol I JUST LIKE ANIME!!!!!!! >_<

  41. avatar

    it’s hard to learn japanese..but so exciting..i want to learn more..

  42. avatar

    Konichiwa Watashi no namae wa Sakura desu! arigato WA taskete desu! 🙂 <3

  43. avatar

    ありがと。 わたし トキョ に いきたい。わたしわ がいじん。。

  44. avatar

    i hope you made more of that…
    please. it will help me cause i also like japanese
    arigatou gozaimasu

  45. avatar

    It’s better to learn our own language……
    This is a tagalog(Philippine) version of 1-10

    1- isa
    2- dalawa
    3- tatlo
    4- apat
    5- lima
    6- anim
    7- pito
    8- walo
    9- siyam
    10- sampu

    🙂 kima

  46. avatar

    nihon ni kita bakkari desu.
    nihon wa hontou ni subarashii kuni desu.demo nihongo amari wakaranai.nihongo wo benkyoushitai desu.nihon jin to nihongo de hanashitai desu kara…..i want to learn japanese

  47. avatar

    arigato…this natsu natashi learned nihonjin…

  48. avatar

    .i LOve jApanEsE wORds..
    .kAhit aNg hIrAp, i prOnOuns,.. hahAhAHAHAH..

    .wHaT iS ThE jApAnEsE wOrd oF eLAh.?
    .tHanK yOu.

  49. avatar

    i want to learn how to speak japanese..

  50. avatar

    I’m 10 years old.. and I love japanese I’ve been learning it ever since I was 7 years old 🙂 thanks a lot…It helped me