While visiting any non-English-speaking country, it’s always a great idea to learn a few words to use. 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 intimidating, especially for English speakers (or any European language). Since the writing system, grammar, etc., is completely different. But what if I told you 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! These are incredibly useful when 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 Genki Textbooks as they are one of the best textbooks out there for learning Japanese.
Gairaigo and Wasei-eigo
Before getting into the words, briefly explain Gairaigo and Wasei-eigo. Gairaigo (外来語) are loanwords from English and other European Languages (this does not include Chinese words), written in Katakana phonetics. These are the easiest words to learn since you know most of them already. An example of this is kōra (コーラ), which means “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 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.
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 remember that pronunciation sounds strange to our ears but sounds normal to Japanese speakers. In contrast, pronunciation goes beyond the scope of this post. If you wish to learn how to, we highly recommend this resource.
These words are easily applied at Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, and Universal Studios Japan. You will notice a few words that you wouldn’t necessarily use at the parks but are useful throughout Japan (if you are travelling 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!
You’ll notice I omitted 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|
More Things to Do in Tokyo
My recommendations for things to do in and around Tokyo! Plan a day at the Hello Kitty theme park, Sanrio Puroland, and an afternoon at the popular TeamLab Planets TOKYO. Take a tour around Tokyo with the convenient hop-on and-off bus. Spend a rainy afternoon inside Japan’s largest indoor theme park, Tokyo Joyoplis, near Tokyo Disney!
More on Tokyo Disney Resort
Tokyo Disney Resort Guidebook
Are you planning a trip to Tokyo Disney Resort? If so, you need our digital guidebook! Our guidebook is the most comprehensive resource available, covering everything you need to know about the park, including tickets, hotels, restaurants, attractions, shows, seasonal events, and more! With our guidebook, you’ll be an expert on Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea before you even set foot in the Parks. You’ll know what to expect, where to go, and what to do. You’ll also be able to avoid the crowds and make the most of your time.
Get tickets for Tokyo Disney Resort
It’s vital to buy your tickets ahead of time for Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea. Read our comprehensive guide on tickets to learn how to purchase tickets. For recommendations on SIM cards, portable Wi-Fi devices, travel insurance, cheap flights, and hotel bookings, read our travel resources page.
Learn more about Tokyo Disney Resort
Want more Tokyo Disney content? Browser our dedicated page for everything Tokyo Disney Resort!
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