Japanese Phrases that You Must Know When Shopping  


Are you planning to travel to Japan for the first time? Japan has numerous malls, fashion centers and places to shop, but people are often hesitant to go because they lack Japanese language skills. Don't worry, here are a few phrases to make your trip easier and more fun.

Uses of Japanese Phrases

Can't speak Japanese? Worry no more! In Japan, you can see tourists that can barely speak an ounce of Japanese but are able to communicate with the locals. Making use of the simple phrases they know, or might have learned from different mediums like the Google Translate App, they are able to get information on what they have asked for.


Many major shopping centers and department stores in Japan have English speaking staff to assist you. Though in some cases, the shopkeepers, especially in small shopping areas or convenience stores do not know how to speak English. Keeping in mind the basic phrases of the Japanese language helps tourists communicate with the locals. These simple phrases can bridge the tourist and the local when communicating for it can help you convey accurate messages or expressions that can yield you the best response.

Useful Japanese Phrases when Shopping in Malls

Here are some of the useful phrases that can help you have an easier time roaming the alleys of any shopping mall.

  • Let’s go shopping!
    (Kaimono ni ikou yo!) 

Your shopping experience would be better and far more convenient if you bring a friend, either just for someone to walk around with or to help you translate, an extra hand is always welcome.

  • Do you have ___________?
    (_________ wa arimasuka?)

The phrase mentioned above is used when you are looking for something in particular or when you cannot find the item that you are supposed to buy. For example, “Hashi wa arimasuka?” or “Do you have chopsticks?”. 

  • What is this?
    (Korewa nandesuka?)

This simple phrase is a big help if you cannot read Japanese or if there are no English labels in the product.

  • Will you help me?
    (Tasukete kudasai masenka?)

If you are having a hard time looking or figuring out what the product is and would like to ask for assistance, this is the phrase to ask for help. The phrase "Tasukete kudasai masenka" literally translates to "Will you help me?" This phrase is also essential when you are having a hard time finding your way. A more direct approach that could help you find immediate help would be, "Chotto tasukete kudasai" which means, "Help me please."

  • Can I look at it?
    (Mite mo ii desu ka?) 

This phrase is useful if you want to inspect an item or to simply get a better look, deciding if you should buy it or not.

  • May I try this on?
    (Shichaku shitemo ii desu ka?)

  • Are there other sizes?
    (Chigau saizu wa arimasu ka?)

  • Do you have a different color?
    (Chigau iro wa arimasu ka?) 

When shopping for clothes and the sort, and you are uncertain of the size, wanting to first try the clothing, you can say, "Shichaku shitemo ii desu ka?" meaning, "Can I try it on?". Size may not be the only concern - the color scheme and design may not be your taste. You can politely ask for a different color before asking to try it on and simply pick the best one that you think suits you.

If the size of the clothes or shoes is not the right size and you need a bigger or smaller size, politely say "もっと大(おお)きいのはありますか (Motto ookiino wa arimasu ka)?" Which translates to "Do you have a bigger one?" Or "もっと小(ちい)さいのはありますか (Motto chiisaino wa arimasu ka)?" Which means "Do you have a smaller one?"

If you are looking for a particular color, say, "_______ wa arimasuka?" For example, "Aka wa arimasuka?" Meaning "Do you have this in red?" Here are the Japanese translations for the different colors: shiro (white), kuro (black), ao (blue), midori (green), kiiro (yellow), pinku (pink), chairo (brown) and orenji (orange).

Now that you have picked what you wanted to buy, here are the phrases that you might need next.

  • How much is this?
    (Kore wa ikura desu ka?)

  • This one, please.
    (Kore wo onegai shimasu)

  • Do you take credit card?
    (Kaado wa tsukae masuka?)

To ask for the price of a product, you can use the phrase "Kore wa ikura desu ka" which translates into "How much is this?" This phrase is commonly used in shopping malls and market places especially, if a price tag is not present on the product. 

To choose a product you wish to buy, you can say “Kore onegai shimasu” which means “This one, please.” And once you have decided to purchase the product and are ready to buy it, say "Kore ni shimasu" meaning "I'll take it".

To pay for the product you wish to buy and you want to ask if they accept credit cards as a mode of payment, say “Kaado wa tsukaemasuka?” (“Do you take credit cards?”). If they originally, accept credit cards then you could just say, “Kadode onegai shimasu” which means, "I want to pay with a credit card, please.” 

Japanese Phrase for other Occasions

In giving instructions to a local taxi driver of where you want to go, say “______に行(い)きたいです。(______ ni ikitai desu)" meaning "I want to go to _______ (add the name of the place)" or say "______までお願(ねが)いします。(_______ made onegai shimasu)" which translates to "Please take me to_________.

If you run out of cash and you need to withdraw money but cannot find an ATM, ask “ATMはありますか?(ATM wa arimasu ka?)” which translates to “Is there an ATM?

Whenever you leave a place that gave you service, or when someone helps you, always say thank you before leaving. To say thank you in Japanese, just say, “ありがとうございました。(Arigato gozaimashita.)" Always keep in mind to be polite and respectful wherever we go. We need to adapt to their traditions and culture as well and be mindful of how we behave in their country; it may be considered rude otherwise.


Generally, when a person goes out of the country, they tend to learn in advance phrases that can help them during their trip. Learning Japanese phrases will help Japanese locals give you accurate answers to your queries. It can also be quite useful when you go out and shop in Japan. These phrases can bridge any language gap that generally exists between the tourist and the Japanese. The role of learning to speak these phrases when visiting Japan can make your travel experience a great one!


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