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Basic Japanese Words

In Japanese culture, being polite and respectful is very important. That's why it's helpful to have some basic Japanese vocab handy for your next trip to Japan. Saying "thank you" and "sorry" in the local language can make a huge difference in how you are perceived.

Here are some Japanese words for meeting and greeting people, so that you can be polite in any new situation.

Want to go beyond basic vocabulary and actually learn to speak Japanese? Rocket Japanese is an online Japanese course with Audio lessons, Language & Culture lessons, a pronunciation tool, and writing lessons. You can test it out for free!

Resources for further reading:

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!







おねがい します

Onegai shimasu.




Hello / Good day

おはよう ございます

Ohayō gozaimasu

Good morning



Nice to meet you (for the first time)


Moshi moshi

“Hello?” (greeting on the phone)



Excuse me (formal)



Thank you



Sorry (polite)

More Japanese words & vocabulary

Here are some great lessons that will help you learn a whole bunch of basic Japanese vocabulary. Even if you can't make a complete sentence in Japanese, these words will help you to get your ideas across.

There's tons of free content including word lists, English translations, step-by-step explanations, and the amazing Rocket Record voice comparison technology to make sure your pronunciation is perfect. All you need to be understood in any Japanese situation.

You'll also get some great tips on how to count, tell the time, and recognize the days of the week in Japanese. With these skills you'll soon be on your way to making appointments, and keeping them. That means you'll be able to look after business, book a table, or get your hair done confident that you'll get there on time.

Polite Japanese words

Learn how to say "thank you" in Japanese, "excuse me", "sorry", and use other polite words and phrases with confidence.

Colors in Japanese Colors are some of the words you’ll utilize most when speaking Japanese. You’ll be surprised how often you use color words to describe things on a daily basis. After this lesson you’ll be a master of the colors in Japanese!

Food in Japanese Learn how to say food in Japanese along with some of the most common words for food items in Japanese which are sure to get your mouth watering. Let's tuck in to this lesson!

Seasons & Months of the Year in Japanese Do you know the Japanese names for the seasons and months of the year? You will after this free online lesson! Whether you’re traveling in Japan, or having a conversation with native Japanese speakers, these are useful words to know. If you want more on Japanese words then check these out! - Got an emergency? I hope not! Learn some emergency Japanese vocab just in case!

Rocket Japanese - Japanese words, greeting bow
It's common to bow when greeting someone in Japan.

Learn Japanese online

I hope you're making some good progress with our free Japanese lessons! Need more guidance on how to learn Japanese effectively? This article on learning Japanese online can help you out!

If you don't just want to study vocabulary but strive to actually speak Japanese, check out our online Japanese course - Rocket Japanese. You'll get a step-by-step roadmap to Japanese mastery, plus Audio lessons, Language & Culture lessons, a pronunciation tool, and writing lessons!


Sayaka Matsuura: Rocket Japanese

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