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Directions in Japanese

Ready to master directions in Japanese? After this free audio lesson you’ll be armed with the Japanese words and phrases you’ll need to find your way around Japan.

I wish it were as simple as learning the word for 'where' in Japanese and a few Japanese road signs, but there’s a little more to it than that! As you may have already guessed, understanding the directions you are given can be more challenging than asking for the directions. But have no fear – just listen to the Japanese pronunciation in the audio and practice saying the Japanese words and phrases aloud, as you imagine yourself strolling around Tokyo or Kyoto!

Resources for further reading:

The Top Ten Hacks to Fast-tracking Your Japanese

The Best Japanese Learning sSftware: What You Need to Know

How do I get to the train station? (formal)

Asking For Directions in Japanese

Practice Your Pronunciation With Rocket Record

Rocket Record lets you perfect your Japanese pronunciation. Just listen to the native speaker audio and then use the microphone icon to record yourself. Once you’re done, you’ll get a score out of 100 on your pronunciation and can listen to your own audio playback. (Use a headset mic for best results.) Problems? Click here!

駅はどう行けばいいですか?

えき は どう いけば いい です か?

Eki wa dō ikeba ī desu ka?

How do (I) get to the train station?

駅にはどうやって行くの?

えき に は どう やって いく の?

Eki ni wa dō yatte iku no?

How do (I) get to the train station?

駅はどこですか?

えき は どこ です か?

Eki wa doko desu ka?

Where is the train station?

駅はどこ?

えき は どこ?

Eki wa doko?

Where (is) the train station?

すみません、駅へ行く方法を教えて下さい。

すみません、 えき へ いく ほうほう を おしえて ください。

Sumimasen, eki e iku hōhō o oshiete kudasai.

Excuse me, please tell (me) how to get to the train station.

Locations of Interest

Here are the words for some places you might like to visit on your travels:

観光案内所

かんこう あんないじょ

kankō annaijo

tourist information center

みち

michi

road / path

通り

とおり

tōri

street

商店街

しょうてんがい

shōtengai

shopping street

博物館

はくぶつかん

hakubutsukan

museum

交番

こうばん

kōban

police box

病院

びょういん

byōin

hospital

公園

こうえん

kōen

park

市役所

しやくしょ

shiyakusho

city call

公衆トイレ

こうしゅう トイレ

kōshū toire

public restroom

中心街

ちゅうしんがい

chūshingai

town center

郊外

こうがい

kōgai

suburb

ビアガーデン

ビア ガーデン

bia-gāden

beer garden

記念物

きねんぶつ

kinenbutsu

memorial

居酒屋

いざかや

izakaya

izakaya / Japanese bar

バー

バー

bar

Receiving Directions

Here are some words and phrases you will likely hear when receiving directions.

ひだり

hidari

left

みぎ

migi

right

左へ

ひだり へ

hidari e

toward the left

右へ

みぎ へ

migi e

toward the right

真っ直ぐ

まっすぐ

massugu

straight

終わりに

おわり に

owari ni

at the end (of)

始めに

はじめ に 

hajime ni

at the beginning (of)

西へ

にし へ

nishi e

toward the west

北へ

きた へ

kita e

toward the north

南へ

みなみ へ

minami e

toward the south

東へ

ひがし へ

higashi e

toward the east

かど

kado

corner

角を曲がって

かど を まがって

kado o magatte

turn the corner

次の通りを左へ。

つぎ の とおり を ひだり へ。

Tsugi no tōri o hidari e.

(Turn) left (at) the next street.

次の通りを右へ。

つぎ の とおり を みぎ へ。

Tsugi no tōri o migi e.

(Turn) right (at) the next street.

次の次の通り

つぎ の つぎ の とおり

tsugi no tsugi no tōri

the street after the next

はし

hashi

bridge

前に

まえ に 

mae ni

in front (of)

隣に

となり に

tonari ni

next to

If you're receiving directions, you'll need to know some direction verbs, like "to go" and "to cross." Let's take a look at how to say these and some other direction-related verbs.

取る

とる

toru

to take

渡る

わたる

wataru

to cross (a bridge or road)

辿る

たどる

tadoru

to follow (a road)

行く

いく

iku

to go

Far or Near

Last but not least, here are some phrases you can use to talk about how near or far you are from your destination:

遠いですか?

とおい です か?

Tōi desu ka?

Is (it) far?

遠いです。

とおい です。

Tōi desu.

(It) is far.

遠くないです。

とおくない です。

Tōkunai desu.

(It) is not far.

近いですか?

ちかい です か?

Chikai desu ka?

Is (it) close?

近いです。

ちかい です。

Chikai desu.

(It) is close.

近くないです。

ちかくない です。

Chikakunai desu.

(It) is not close.

Well done, you have just finished today’s lesson. I hope you enjoyed it.

Here are a few recommended Japanese lessons to try next:

  • Talking about your emotions in Japanese is a great way to connect with your Japanese friends. Learn how to talk about your feelings in this lesson.
  • This lesson is all about describing your face in Japanese.
  • Wanting to talk about your family in Japanese? This is the lesson for you!

それ で は また! (Sore de wa mata!) "Well then, until next time!"

Sayaka Matsuura: Rocket Japanese

Make It Stick With Rocket Reinforcement

Reinforce your learning from this lesson with the Rocket Reinforcement activities!