Japanese Phrases for Travelers        


Introduction (1)

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.
You may need to adjust the volume of your computer's speaker. If you have intentionally disabled JavaScript on your browser, you will be unable to hear the pronunciation.
The English translations were checked and corrected by McConnaughey. The JavaScript was checked and improved on by Devon Stewart. I appreciate it.

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.
For example:

      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)