|Japanese Phrases for Travelers
This site uses Romaji, or romanization of Japanese. Some of the English translations aren't exactly literal. They give the meaning of the whole sentence in a natural way. When you click on the speaker icons , you'll hear the pronunciation.
The voice model is Yuu Gotoh, who is a voice actress in Tokyo, Japan.
Japanese is a language spoken mainly in Japan. The Japanese language is written with a combination of two different types of script: Kana and Kanji (or Chinese characters).
Kana is a set of letters made up of Hiragana and Katakana. Although they are the same syllabary system, each script has a different form.
Below is the Hiragana syllabary.
a i u e o
ka ki ku ke ko
sa shi su se so
ta chi tsu te to
na ni nu ne no
ha hi fu he ho
ma mi mu me mo
ya yu yo
ra ri ru re ro
wa wo (o)
Japanese has five vowels: a, i, u, e and o.
a: sounds like the "a" in "father".
i: sounds like the "ee" in "feet".
u: sounds like the "oo" in "tooth".
e: sounds like the "e" in "penny".
o: sounds like the "o" in "ocean".
Almost all sounds in Japanese are pronounced with a combination of a consonant and a vowel.
Exceptions are .
The sounds of some letters are changed with or , which are attached at the upper right of the letter.
ga gi gu ge go
za ji zu ze zo
da ji zu de do
ba bi bu be bo
pa pi pu pe po
Add to these a small , and it makes another sound.
kya kyu kyo
gya gyu gyo
sha shu sho
ja ju jo
cha chu cho
ja ju jo
nya nyu nyo
hya hyu hyo
bya byu byo
pya pyu pyo
mya myu myo
rya ryu ryo
Furthermore, a small makes another sound.
The small is called Sokuon, which is represented in Romaji (romanization of Japanese) by the "doubling" of the following consonant. This tutorial is continued in Introduction (2)