While visiting any foreign country it’s always a great idea to learn a few words to use during your visit. Locals appreciate the effort when hearing someone attempting to speak their native language, and could always lead to a story you can share!
Japanese is an intimidating language, especially for English speakers (or any European language). Since the writing system, grammar, etc, is completely different. But, what if I told you that you already know hundreds of Japanese words? You would think I have lost my mind or gone off the deep end!
After this post, you will know more than enough words in Japanese that you can easily order food or ask where the toilet is in Japanese! Which are incredibly useful when you are visiting Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, or anywhere else in Japan. After this, you can read our guides to Basic Japanese Phrases and Phrases for Dining at Tokyo Disney Resort!
If you’re wanting to continue your Japanese learning, we highly recommend the Genki Textbooks. As they are one of the best textbooks out there for learning Japanese.
Gairaigo and Wasei-eigo
Before getting into the words, just a quick explanation about Gairaigo and Wasei-eigo. Gairaigo (外来語) is loanwords from English and other European Languages (this does not include Chinese words). Which are written in katakana phonetic. These are the easiest words to learn since you know most of them already. An example of this is kōra (コーラ), which meals “Cola” or “Coke”.
Then we have Wasei-eigo (和製英語), which are Japanese words that sound like they come from English origin but actually do not. An example of this is reberu appu (レベルアップ) or “to go up a level”. We would never say this in English, but after a quick explanation, it is rather easy to understand and remember.
Easy to Learn Words
Alright, now let’s get down to business. Here’s a list of words you can easily learn in less than a day. A lot of these words you already know, or after a simple explanation, you can easily remember. Simply saying these words without much grammar will usually have you understood by a native speaker.
Just keep in mind that pronunciation sounds a bit strange to our ears, but sounds completely normal to native speakers. While pronunciation goes beyond the scope of this post, if you wish to learn how to then we highly recommend this resource.
Many of these words are easily applied at both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. You will notice a few words that you wouldn’t necessarily use at the parks but are useful throughout Japan (if you are traveling to other parts of the country and you really should). We also created a printable PDF of the table below, so you can easily bring it with you!
You’ll notice I left out basic phrases such as “hello” and “thank you”. Those are covered in our basics phrases post, which I recommend reading.
|One Size Fits All||furīsaizu||フリーサイズ||“Free Size"||Clothing|
|Single Piece Dress||wanpīsu||ワンピース||“One Piece”||Clothing|
|Beer||bīru||ビール||Similar to building but with a longer “ee” sound||Food|
|Convenience Store||konbini||コンビニ||This refers to stores such as 7-11, Family Mart, Lawson, etc||Food|
|Corn Dog||amerikan doggu||アメリカンドック||Food|
|Cup||koppu||コップ||Cup or Tumbler||Food|
|French Fries||furaidopoteto||フライドポテト||“Fried Potato”||Food|
|Ice Cream||aisu kurīmu||アイスクリーム||Food|
|Salsbury Steak||hanbāgu||ハンバーグ||“Hamburg”. Do not confuse this with “Hamburger”||Food|
|Soft Serve||sofutokurīmu||ソフトクリーム||“Soft Cream"||Food|
|Small Size||esusaizu||Sサイズ||Small sized drink or fries||Food|
|Regular Size||regyurāsaizu||レギュラーサイズ||Normal sized drink or fries||Food|
|Large Size||erusaizu||Lサイズ||Large sized drink or fries||Food|
|Hot||hotto||ホット||Example: “hotto kōhī” means “Hot Coffee”||Food|
|Iced||aisu||アイス||Example: “aisu kōhī” means “Iced Coffee”||Food|
|Side Menu||saidomenyu||サイドメニュー||“Side Menu” meaning which side you would like. Such as fries or salad. Asked at counter service restaurants.||Food|
|Curry||karē||カレー||Indian or Japanese Curry||Food|
|Bargain||bāgen||バーゲン||Sale at a store||General|
|mēru||メール||Sounds like “mail” but it actually means “email”||General|
|Roller Coaster||jettokōsutā||ジェットコースター||“Jet Coaster”||General|
|Sale||ofu||オフ||It means “sale”, which you may see “Spring Off”. Which means “Spring Sale”.||General|
|Secondhand Shop||risaikurushoppu||リサイクルショップ||“Recycle Shop"||General|
|Stroller||bebīkā||ベビーカー||Pronounced "Baby Car"||General|
|Toilet / Restroom||toire||トイレ||General|
|Upgrade||~appu||～アップ||You can say “size up” which would mean you want a larger size||General|
|Wake Up Call||mōningukōru||モーニングコール||“Morning Call”||General|
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